Adopting a dog or cat from a shelter

I must admit that my perception of the type of dogs and cats available for adoption 5 years ago was that all the animals were old, mixed breed and not cute and fluffy like the ones in the pet shops. I had no idea how wrong I was until I started volunteering at one of the largest animal shelters in Melbourne.
Not only are there lovable Labradors and mischievous Maltese’s but smoochy Sharpies and delightful Dachshunds. Don’t forget the beautiful Bengals and Birmans! There was even a little Chinese crested there last week! There are 12 week old puppies, 6 month old teenagers and the gentle senior citizens.
Most dogs and cats that find themselves in a shelter will wait their 8 days for their family to collect them. If they are not claimed, then they will be assessed for the suitability to be re-homed based on their temperament and health. Some dogs may go through behaviour modification if they need to work on certain things like socialisation with people or other dogs or even walking on a lead.

If you are considering adding a new furry friend to your family, I highly suggest utilising some the quizzes online to determine the most appropriate breed for your situation. This is so important and one of the reasons why there are so many stray and abandoned cats and dogs. Certain breeds of dogs have certain characteristics that can ensure the animal will fit in with your lifestyle and not cause you to be pulling your hair out with it barking all day when you’re gone.

Once you have a few different breeds compatible with your situation, you should then start looking on a Wednesday of Thursday of each week at the different animal shelter websites. If you wait until Monday, you won’t see many as most of the animals will have been adopted over the weekend! Shelters allow you to place a “hold” on an animal so that you can come down and meet them and introduce any other pets you may have. This is great because you have peace of mind that if you see a dog or cat you think will be perfect you can place a hold on them knowing you have first preference and can come down with 48 hours to meet them before deciding if they are the one.

I would suggest checking online on a weekly basis as it may take a few weeks or months until to find your perfect match!

A common miss-perception about adopting from a shelter is that some people think that they must get a puppy so they can train to be around their children or to bond with them. As an owner of an adopted dog, I believe the bond can even be stronger between you and your dog when they realise you are their forever owner. You also get an overwhelming satisfaction that you gave him/her a second chance. Also- Puppies are allot of work!!!! Yes they are cute and small but it also a very stressful time has to constantly watch them and consistently reinforce toilet training and other basic manners. If you work full time or have children, you may not have this time to invest to ensure your dog becomes a well socialised happy adult. A dog that is 2 or even 5 maybe perfect as it is already trained and can be much more suited to your lifestyle the a cheeky little puppy.

The fantastic thing about adopting a pet is that dogs and cats are desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and sometimes even come with a free training session with a professional dog trainer! This means that it is also very good value to purchase at a shelter rather than a breeder or pet shop.

Kate Picker
Owner of Roka Pet Photography

Filled Under : Cats , Dogs

1 Comment


    • Nina Hudson
    • November 14, 2012
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    Do a good thing, adopt from a shelter. Help those innocents guys whose misfortune has put them in that awful situation I have 2 dogs and one cat from a shelter and they love each other. It is nice to have cats and dog that grow together. I think when they come from a shelter, they appreciate you more.