The bottom line to adoption is to think with your head and not your heart. Done right, adopting an animal in need can be spiritual in its benefits. So once you’ve made the decision to adopt take the time to make sure it will be a success and that you are the one to provide this new addition with a forever home.

This is the first in a series of articles to guide you through the adoption process with confidence and ease for you and your new addition.


Choosing can be crucial to the success of your adoptive process.  Many scam rescues are popping up here in the Northeast, where trucks are sent to financially depressed areas in the south, buy dogs at impoverished puppy mills or get dogs for free from over run Shelters.  They then charge upwards of 300.00 for a dog with NO HEALTH GUARANTEE, no evaluation profile and a strong probability of temperament dysfunction.  Pure profit by manipulating the public into impulse buys.

They have now aligned themselves with large pet supply stores, who makes a fortune on commissions, food, crates, toys, etc, by holding “Adoption Days”.  These days are usually on weekends when no background checks can be done since these rescues DEMAND same day adoption, so they make the big bucks.  NO LEGITIMATE RESCUE DOES A SAME DAY ADOPTION.  This does not allow for the evaluations needed to match the right dog with the right home.  Nor does it provide the dog with necessary vetting as they are often sold from the truck.  If you see this RUN THE OTHER WAY.  There is a process to adopting a dog and it can not be done in 1 hour.

You are taking a life into your home and this decision is a little more involved than buying a pair of sneakers.  RESEARCH the people you are adopting from.  Sentiment will NOT prevent your children from being bitten by a dog who has not been evaluated or is simply wrong for your home.  These same day adopters are scammers and the public suffers from lack of lack of knowledge, and the dogs suffer from the cruelty of inept adoption.

In my practice, I would safely say that out of my entire clientele, I deal with an average 40% of dogs that have been adopted, from either a rescue or a shelter. Through my teaching, I have seen certain trends, both in what goes into making adoptions more successful and the changes in the dogs breeding themselves. Some trends have been good (how nice to see the White German Shepherd Breeders breeding for better temperament) and some have shown problematic (what is up with the marked increase of aggression in male Boxers and Weimeraners???) An alarming number of these aggressive dogs are coming from supposedly reputable breeders. Folks, we should never breed for a harder dog for the public to handle.  Please realize that speaking/writing about trends in dogs and behavior must include a cross section of dogs from various regions, as dogs are always a reflection of the existing pack and the environment itself (which is why pet store dogs are always an anomaly coming from the dysfunction of puppy mills).

When I report to you that I have dealt with more anxiety related issues in dogs from the northeast than in the West and in the south, it is merely what I see. The same with other trends. You must notice this because it translates into the deep effect we have on our canine companions reactions when assimilating into our society. This becomes even more important when you are adopting a dog previously programmed to a different or dysfunctional environment such as dogs brought in from other regions or other countries.

Adopting transient dogs can be both easy and rewarding. Though, adopting/fostering a dog doesn’t mean you need to suspend all sense of logic.  Re-homing in itself is an admirable thing. But creating “forever” adoption is a thing of beauty. It’s like meeting a soulmate. But meeting your soulmate takes time, reason and patience. So fostering by the rescue carries a double responsibility of evaluation and rehabilitation to insure success in adoption of the right match of human to canine.  Oddly enough, the majority of my own dogs were picked on “feeling”, but they had already met all essential qualifications by their breed standards. You SHOULD pick a dog on gut emotion, but your choices should be limited to types of dogs that fit your lifestyle, economic ability and environment. Purely emotional choices are often very much like gambling. The question of whether it was the right choice must now evolve and your commitment must be unconditional. Purely emotional choices involve more work, because if you choose emotionally you have to adjust YOUR life, but if your choose rationally the dog “fits” your life. Emotional choices must always be founded in keeping and rehabilitating that dog for better or for worse.

So your choice of rescue/shelter should reflect utmost support in those areas.  If they do NOT support this concept… the other way.  Reputable breed rescues, quality shelters, and SPCA’s provide this.  Scam rescues do not.  Any rescue that will hand you a dog the same day, are con artists.  Avoid any rescue that does not screen YOU as the right owner. They are just making money and don’t give a rats behind how it works out. Good rescues and shelters have profiles, give all shots needed, spay/neuter and make sure YOU are right for the dog.

Stay tuned for next month’s installment – Adopting a Dog ~ The Concepts