Did you know that October has been Adopt-A-Dog Month® for over 30 years?
Established in 1981 by the American Humane Association, Adopt-A-Dog Month® is a great time to adopt a dog into your family. Adopting a rescue dog can be a fulfilling experience, but it’s also a huge commitment that you should be sure you can handle. With some thoughtful preparation, you can evaluate whether or not dog adoption is right for you—and if it is, what steps to take next.
Why adopt a dog?
Adopting a dog can be a win-win—you are saving a life by rescuing a dog from a shelter, and you are also adding to your own enjoyment by having a dog in your family. “Rescuing a shelter dog is an amazing way to add unconditional love to your family as long as careful preparations have been made,” said Dr. Kyoko Yoshida, co-owner and veterinarian at Hudson Animal Hospital in NYC’s Upper West Side.
If you have been considering dog adoption, here are some questions to ask yourself before moving ahead:
- Am I physically capable of caring for a dog? Dog owners must have the ability to safely walk a dog on a regular basis.
- Do I have the financial resources needed to care for a dog’s needs? Like your other family members, dogs need food, shelter, medical care, etc.
- Do I have time to care for a dog? Dogs are emotional creatures and need more than just physical care—they also need companionship.
If you answered “yes” to these questions, it’s time to start thinking about next steps—what you need to do in order to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter.
First, you’ll need to find a local rescue shelter that has dogs available for adoption. You can check the ASPCA website (www.aspca.org) to help you find a shelter that may have the perfect dog for you. The professionals at your local shelter are interested in making the best match between you and an adoptable dog and can help you know what to do next. After you visit your local shelter to see what dogs are available, here are some things to do before you are matched with the newest member of your family.
1) Evaluate what kind of dog you might like to adopt. Do you prefer large dogs or small dogs? Is there a particular breed you’d like to adopt? Would you like an older dog or a younger dog? Highly energetic or more calm? Shelter employees can help you determine which type of dog will be best for you.
2) Prepare your home for your new dog’s arrival. Do you need to gate off any areas of your home? What dog supplies do you need to get? Some of these items cannot be purchased until you know more about your dog, but make sure the basics are in order.
3) Establish where you will take your dog for veterinary care. Having this taken care of ahead of time means you will have more time to focus on your pet when he/she comes home.
Once you bring your new canine friend home, make sure to allow plenty of time for him or her to adjust. Dr. Yoshida echoes the importance of this: “A newly adopted dog has gone through a huge transition, and he or she needs thoughtful care, especially for the first month to six weeks. Make sure to communicate with your veterinarian to establish a plan of care that includes needed vaccinations, dietary changes, an exercise routine, and bonding suggestions.”
Adopt-A-Dog Month® may be just the excuse you’ve been waiting for to bring that special dog into your life. If you live in Manhattan and would like to discuss veterinary care for your adopted dog, please call Hudson Animal Hospital at 212-706-4088.