Finding the right dog for you doesn't necessarily mean getting a puppy. Other than the puppy I had as a child, all of my dogs have been adults and they've been wonderful! I was able to skip the housebreaking/chewing stages and the bonds were just as strong as if I'd raised them from puppyhood.
perception of second-hand dogs as "problem" dogs isn't
an accurate one. Although some dogs end up with rescue groups
because of behavior problems, they are not necessarily problems
that a new owner will face. A dog that is given up because it
barks all day and all night in the backyard won't necessarily
have that same problem when adopted by people that make the dog a
part of the family instead of a lawn ornament. Many years ago my
parents got a 5 year old Shetland Sheepdog that was available
because he'd been retired from the show ring. That doesn't
qualify as a "rescue", but it's an example of one of
the ways adult dogs become available for adoption. He was a
superb pet. Pierce, my Labrador, moved in when he was three
years old and his family had to give him up because of their
If you want to skip the housebreaking/chewing stages ...
If there is a breed that turns you on, but the cost of a quality pup turns you off ...
If you want a dog with a proven history of being good with children or cats, or some other quality that is a "must" for you ...
If you work full time and can't give a puppy the proper care ...
If you are concerned about pet overpopulation issues ...
adopting an adult dog!
Don't be offended when you are asked a million and two questions. The goal of any rescue group is to find a "forever" home for the dog. It is not a good practice to adopt dogs into a home with an "Oh well, we'll see how it goes" attitude. It's best for you and for the dog if everyone already has a reasonable expectation of how it's going to go. They will be brutally honest with you about any problems of which they are aware, it's important that you do the same.
If a rescue group does not check you out as thoroughly as you check them out, something's wrong.
For additional information on how rescue groups operate check out this page from the fine folks at Timbreblue.com.
Northwest Canadian Greyhound League
Boston Buddies - Southern California Boston Terrier Rescue
Monmore Green Retired Greyhound Trust (UK)
Humane Society of Southern Arizona
Golden Retriever Rescue (National)
German Shepherd Rescue of Los Angeles
Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue and placement service
Wisconsin Chow Chow Rescue: Homepage
Boxer Rescue (Ohio)
H.E.L.P. Shelter Dog Rescue
Australian Shepherd Rescue
Texas Lab Rescue
Basset Hound Ranch
You don't have to adopt a dog to help out -- you can give your time (and money!) to your breed's rescue group. They always need plenty of both. :-)
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