• When you adopt a dog, you save a life.

    When you do research prior to bringing a new dog into your home, including the possibility of adopting your new pet is one of the most compassionate decisions you could make. Contrary to the myth that animal shelters are filled with "bad" pets, most shelter and rescue dogs are wonderful companions who drew the short straw when it came to getting a loving and responsible owner.

    Online adoption tools

    Petfinder.com is one of the internet's largest directories of homeless pet and pet adoption agencies, features a "fill in the blank" search tool for finding potential pets near you, and offers an abundance of adoption advice.

    In their online library, Pat Miller, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, will tell you how to evaluate shelter dogs for a safe, friendly, and adaptable temperament. Sue Sternberg, owner of Roundout Valley Animals for Adoption, also explains how to change the name of your dog, "sometimes adopting a dog means adopting a dog with a name you don't particularly like. Actually, it's easy for your newly adopted dog to learn a new name."

    Understanding adoption fees

    Petfinder.com also deliver practical advice on the ever-contentious issue of "adoption fees." They admit that it may be tempting to look for a free pet in your local classifieds rather than pay an adoption donation. The reality, however, is that "no pet is free." You will pay for vaccinations, spaying, etc. now…or later. Adoption fees vary by organization, but often cover the basic veterinary care you would have to pay for with your "free" pet. Further, they counsel that if you find yourself needing a new home for your pet, you should request an adoption fee: Unfortunately, individuals who do not have a pet's best interests in mind often scour classifieds for "free to a good home" ads. Therefore it’s recommended that anyone seeking to "rehome" a pet request an adoption fee.

    Petfinder.com is undoubtedly one of the best online resources for dog adoption. The "This Week’s Happy Tail" column is filled with wonderful and inspiring "pet adoption" stories. The story of you and your new pal could be the next!

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    Did you know that 25-30% of dogs for adoption in animal shelters are purebred?