Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Finding Pet Adoption Resources

© copyright Carrie Boyko

Joan Adopted a Papillon

from a Local Pet Rescue Agency

I suppose it was inevitable. My mother fell in love with little Oliver, my Papillon. Nearly a year after we adopted Oliver, she decided it was her turn. I searched the online rescue agencies and found this little fella. He is now named Jacque. Hard to believe he is recycled--such a cute little thing. His original owner fell ill shortly after getting him, and my mom was lucky enough to adopt him.

In most metropolitan areas, stores such as PetSmart and Petco offer pet adoption services for a minimal cost. But these aren't your only options. Online searches for pets will net you many possibilities, including small, local rescue agencies and individuals, owners looking to give up a pet they can no longer keep, and even pets who have been left behind when their owner passed away.

Many breeds have their own adoption groups, so if you're in the market for a particular breed, do a search for rescue groups for that breed first. This may be a quick ticket to your new companion. At Google, you can try various wording to get different results. For instance, if you are looking for a Cocker Spaniel, try:
  • Cocker Spaniel Rescue (always add your area for best results, such as "central Florida")
  • Pet rescue
  • Spaniel rescue
  • Medium breed rescue
  • Dog rescue
  • Pet adoptions
  • Dog adoptions
  • Cocker Spaniel adoptions
  • Free pets
  • Free dogs
  • Free dog adoptions
  • Free pet adoptions
Okay, you get the idea. Each re-wording of the search will bring different results to the top of the list. I found many rescue agencies that offered pictures and a history--very helpful.

Most of the organized pet rescue agencies require an application prior to a visit to see the pet. This is strictly to protect the foster parent from too many visits from people who aren't seriously interested.

Your local ASPCA or Humane Society can often help you with local agencies and keep an eye out for pets coming in that meet your criteria. Also, check the American Kennel Club to locate agencies that specialize in rescuing the breed or breeds you have in mind.

Canine Companions and other assistance dogs, guide dogs, etc. have training groups throughout the country. A few quick searches will help you locate one near you that can tell you how you may be able to adopt a pup who didn't quite make the cut. These dogs come highly trained and about as well behaved as you can imagine. I have two friends with former Canine Companions as pets, and they are great dogs. One of Tanner's favorite dog park buddies, Mahon, is a former Canine Companion turned family pet.

If you aren't sure what type of dog you want, take some time to read up on breed characteristics, energy levels, breed talents and instincts, etc. You'll want to find a dog that is a good match for your household and its other members. Of particular importance is matching your energy level to that of the dog. You need to be sure you can keep up with his need for walks, runs, fetch sessions and such. And don't forget to find time for obedience classes. Fido will need to be well behaved to remain in your good graces. Do your homework to assure the best possible results.

Tomorrow I'll be telling you how to stop some of those pesky, unwanted phone books from showing up at your door. Stop in for a very quick tip that is really easy to implement. I guarantee it will be worth your time. Friday I'll have all-natural Valentine cupcakes. Yummy!

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