For the Love of Pets
Making a Lifelong Love Connection: Adopting a Dog
When I adopted my first shelter dog, I went in blind. I had no breed preference and no real idea of what I was looking for. I had grown up with all sorts of mutts, and while I knew I wanted a large to medium size dog, I didn’t know much else.
I walked the hallway, looking at all the homeless dogs and ended up pulling the cage cards of three, hoping that after meeting them I would know who was right for me. One was a Boxer; I wasn’t able to meet him because he was on a bite hold (I really know how to pick ‘em huh?). One was a Beagle, who spent our entire time together sniffing the room and totally ignoring me, but man was he cute. And the third was a German Shepherd mix. She sat at my feet calmly and allowed me to gently pet her.
I returned the next day eager to adopt the Beagle! Sadly, someone else had already taken him home, so I decided on the German Shepherd instead. Montana ended up being the most wonderful dog. She was as perfect and well behaved as a dog could be, and it seems I ended up with her completely because of luck. I am scared to think what would have happened if I had gone home with the Beagle!
Now, working at a shelter, I laugh at my naïveté. Like many people, I wanted the dog who was the cutest, not necessarily the one that was right for my lifestyle. I was a college student when I adopted Montana, I didn’t have time to train a dog, and my landlord certainly wouldn’t have appreciated having a dog who tore apart the carpet or howled all day while I was at class.
At the Animal Shelter, we understand that people are naturally drawn to a particular look. I wholeheartedly admit that I love Griffons. I will always have a rescued Griffon or Griffon mix, so I cannot fault people who love a particular breed or look. What can be challenging, however, is when people adopt only for the look, and not the personality or needs of the dog. I may love the look of a Griffon, but I also know they need a lot of exercise. I plan most of my day around when I can exercise my dogs. If my lifestyle and employment didn’t allow for this, I wouldn’t be happy and neither would my dogs.
At the Shelter, we have a system of matching potential adopters with available animals. We ask people to fill out a short survey and assign them to certain categories based on their responses. We recommend that they then choose a dog within their same categories. By providing this guidance, we’re helping make lifelong matches, rather than potentially temporary placements based on snap decisions from incomplete information, like I did many years ago. We pride ourselves on knowing our dogs well and are grateful to share that knowledge with those considering bringing a new companion into their home.
For more information on adopting an animal at the Shelter please email us at email@example.com or check out www.animalshelterwrv.org. We’re always happy to give you any information we have on our many adoptable pets.