So you’ve decided that it’s time to introduce a new member to your family, and while it’s predominantly an exciting time, there are a few roadblocks to get through first. Namely, where to actually find that new family member. The specifics depend on which type of dog you’d like and the type of home you’re going to welcome him/her into. Whichever way inclined you are, we’re here to help ensure that the experience is as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
- Your local shelter
There are essentially two types of shelters, those which function as rescue facilities, allowing dogs to stay there for as long as it takes until they find a home and those which only keep them for a limited time until they are either rescued by another shelter or sadly, euthanised. The former are more often than not charitable organisations, while the latter are usually components of local councils. The issue of limited time is the key reason why adopting a dog from a shelter is not only an affordable, but also a very moral and kind choice. The dogs are in need, and if you’re able to provide one of them with a home, then that is wonderful first step in bonding with the latest addition to your home. Who doesn’t want to rescue a dog, after all?
Another great benefit of shelter animals, is that most will come with all of their veterinary work already completed, and we all know those costs can pile up quickly. There is often a misconception that dogs in shelters problematic, but the mix of breeds, temperaments, personalities and faces is vast – and they are in need.
- Rescue Groups
Similar to shelters, but not quote the same, rescue organisations function as charities or “homes” for dogs, but they don’t actually have an operating facility, per se. Members of the organisation will rather offer foster care, taking in the dogs as their own until they are able to find a permanent home. One of the main advantages to adopting via rescue groups is that the dog or puppy is usually used to living with people and those who have been caring for it will be able to give you a good idea of its personality and behaviour.
If you are set on a purebred or pedigree pup, then a breeder is likely your best bet. You can find these dogs via shelters and rescue groups, but the specific one you’re after might not always be available. In this case the best thing is to find breeders in your area (or as far as you’re willing to travel) and get in touch for details. They’ll be able to tell you everything you need to know about that specific breed and organise a date for you to visit. Much like (good) shelters, the breeders will likely want to interview and meet you to ensure that it’s a good match and that you’ll be able to provide one of their beloved puppies with a good home. Often breeders don’t necessarily have puppies available at the exact time that you want to buy one, but waiting for your puppy to be born is part of the fun!
There are also rescue groups that specify in certain breeds, known as “breed rescues”. If you’re after, for example, a Samoyed, it could be worth your while to google “Samoyed Rescue” in your area.
- The Internet
On the note of googling, the internet is another place where you can find your perfect dog, but as with all things online you need to step cautiously. Many people are looking to re-home their dogs, or are privately giving away/selling puppies – just make sure it’s a responsible and ethical situation. Furthermore, most breeders, shelters and rescues have active websites and Facebook pages where you can take a look and get an idea of how they work and the types of dogs that are available. You might even fall in love with one just from the picture.
- Pet Stores
While there are many issues with pet stores regarding ethics and where the breeders they use for the pets they sell, many now include rescue animals and more information regarding the origin of the pets. What they offer above all else is a fast way to get a purebred dog, but it’s never a great idea to buy a pet on impulse. That being said, it’s an option.
If you’re still on the fence about getting a dog, it could be worth your while to take a look at our list of 9 Reasons Why Dogs are Better Than Kids.
Tiahn Wetzler is a journalist, writer, editor and animal lover. Follow her on Instagram @tiahnwetzler