How to Adopt a Stray Dog

Adopting a stray dog for dog lovers

As proud owners of our faithful dogs, we sometimes worry about what would happen if they got lost. They sometimes dig under the fence or find occasion to go exploring without our knowledge, but they come back most of the time. However, on the occasions this doesn’t happen, a dog ends up homeless, wandering around in the neighborhoods and streets.

What happens when you come upon a stray one? There are a few things to consider when finding a stray dog and even more to consider if you think you should keep them as your own.

Finding a stray pup

Always be cautious when approaching a stray dog. They may be aggressive or sometimes sick. Be aware of their paws and claws at all times. You don’t know them and they don’t know you, so they’ll likely be watching you just as keenly. Additionally, don’t approach an ownerless dog while your dog is with you, chances are they’ll get tangled up, which could scare off the stray.

Be aware of your surroundings even as you make the first approach. Don’t cause a scene, hold up traffic, or put yourself in harm’s way when approaching an ownerless puppy. If they run from you, don’t chase as it will only scare them even further. Instead, entice them with goodies, which you should deliver if they abide.

If you’re going to catch a dog, the best tools to use are water and food left out for them. Many dogs tend to be a little shy at first, but will quickly warm up to you once you’ve fed them and shown a little love. This will give you both a chance to examine and study one another, building that initial trust. In many cases, it’s wise not to try to catch a dog on your own, so call for assistance or back-up from a fellow pet owner or someone familiar with dogs (which is preferable).

Taking care of them 

Your own pup may be vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean the stray is. If they don’t have a collar, don’t let them mingle with your other dogs or pets. Several popular diseases, such as distemper, can affect young puppies very easily and are difficult to detect until it’s too late.

Be sure that you wash your hands regularly when handling a stray dog. This will prevent any spread of dirt and germs that could make both you and your pets sick.

Investigate

It is up to you to find out if there’s a rightful owner. Do they have a collar? A collar can hint to the fact that they’ve had a family and may have simply escaped.

While it may sound a little outrageous, you should ask them if they know where their home is (not literally). Quite simply, walk them around the neighborhood (it’s a good idea to use some of your dog’s old collars and leashes). Do they want to go somewhere in particular? Do they get excited in certain surroundings? Is someone looking for them? In most situations, a neighbor will recognize a puppy, and can help direct you towards the owners. If that doesn’t work, you can always put up “Lost Puppy” posters.

Make them comfortable

But in the meantime, you may be housing an extra boarder. So, it’s up to you to provide a good home during their stay with you. This would include a warm and comforting environment and possibly a toy to play with or chew on while you figure things out. Are they scared of being tied up or leashed? You don’t want to instill fear in your new-found friend, so begin taking note of their behavior immediately.

If you can’t find anyone to claim your stray dog, you may start considering something different. Should you adopt them? They found you, so perhaps it was meant to be. Always consider what you’ll need to do to adopt a new friend to ensure their health, comfort, and safety.

Taking them to the vet should be high on your priority list. This is to have them checked out and also see if they may have a tracking chip. If they are given a clean bill of health, take them to begin life as a new member of the family.

While not every dog that’s wandering around is necessarily stray, it doesn’t mean they all have homes. If you find a friend out wandering around, it could be a relationship destined to occur. Just be ready to take on the commitments of caring for your adopted dog- wherever they may have come from.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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October is Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month

Dog lovers adopt a dog at your local shelter this October

The fall is here and the cool air makes it wonderful to take walks around the neighborhood, or hang around in the park and watch the leaves fall in the wind. It’s also quite possibly one of the best months to have a man’s best friend to enjoy these times with.

A brief history of shelter dogs

Over a hundred and eighty years ago, the first animal shelter was founded in Great Britain. It wasn’t until 1866 that Henry Burgh initiated the ASPCA here in America. The first shelters were founded in 1894 and since then, shelters have housed homeless pets that were given up on by their owners. Thus, October has been designated as Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month to help families and dogs come together and promote the need to find homes for our four-legged friends.

There are a lot of dogs without homes and are living in your hometown shelter, instead of enjoying the free air of the great outdoors and a companion to share their life with. Many of these dogs are given up on by their owners because of incompatibility, lifestyle changes, and sometimes for reasons (more like excuses) like ‘the dog did not live up to the owner’s expectations’. However, the fact remains that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners who do not understand what it takes to build a solid relationship with their companion. And truth be told, not everyone is a dog person (even those that sometimes think they are).

Find a compatible friend

While it may seem unlikely that you would find a quality companion at a shelter, the reality is that your options are almost limitless. Dogs of all breeds and sizes come in every day, so it is very unlikely that any future dog owner would be unable to find a compatible friend here.

You’ll be able to pick a dog that matches your personality. Do you have a lot of energy? Perhaps you enjoy relaxing. Outdoor activities more like your style? Could you be searching for a playmate for your other pup? Having a dog companion to do all this and more is more reason to visit the shelter and pick out one.

When you visit the shelter, ask whether you can spend some time with the dog before you settle on a final decision. You want to be certain that you make the best decision for the both of you, and that they’ll be comfortable in your home setting and lifestyle. For some, it can be difficult to say no to the so many puppy-dog eyes that just want someone to be their friend. However, it’s always best to keep both you and the dog’s best interests in mind.

Upon adoption, all dogs are vaccinated and treated, so you don’t have to worry about these expenses during your first trip to the vet. In other words, it is possibly the most economical route for adding a dog to your family. Aside from the cost of the shots, adoption fees amounts are normally a matter of a few dollars. Just be sure that your home and heart are ready for the new family member (don’t forget food, water, time, and a lot of love).

Share with your friends

You don’t necessarily have to adopt a dog; you can always play a part by sharing information with others you know. Social networks help information travel fast, so why not post a few hints and recommendations for your friends and associates to see and take note. Every time someone reads and shares, it becomes more likely that a shelter dog will find a new home.

You can also locate a shelter close to you and inquire how you can help promote adoptions this month. Flyers, posters, and volunteers can help spread the word about shelter adoption and motivate pet lovers to open their home to a new companion. Playing a part, no matter how small it may seem, will help a shelter dog find a happy home. Don’t hesitate to help in any way you can.

Bailee, of Midland Texas, is the proud owner of Dragster, a Welsh corgi, and annually adopts a shelter dog who is on the verge of being euthanized. She pays for all the shots and vet bills, and then she searches for an owner, making sure it is just not anyone who gets to keep the dog. She finds prospective owners that can provide a good home and gives the dog away to make someone’s life that much better.

This October, do your part as a fellow pet lover or owner and help spread the word about your local shelter. Whether you’re planning on taking a new friend home or just helping a friend find a companion to share their life with, it is possible to make someone’s life better.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Welcoming Your New Rescued Sweetheart

Proper dog care for your adopted dog

Adopting a dog is a wonderful feeling, especially when their happy tail and bottom wag around to find that they’ve finally joined their new family. But while the initial introductions are an awesome experience, adjusting to their new environment and new friends will still take a little time. That’s why it’s important as your dog’s new and loving owner to ensure that you welcome your dog into their new home as smoothly as possible.

Know who your dog is

Start out by getting as much information from the shelter as possible. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t take just their words to heart. A trip to the vet is your next step which needs to be done as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be able to get an idea of the health and condition of your new friend. This is because most animal shelters are overwhelmingly populated and as dogs come and go, information can be lost or simply misled. An initial visit to the vet will give you an in-depth look into your dog’s care, age, and present health condition which you’ll need to address with a particular diet and other specific needs.

A special place in your home

The next stage involves your home and everyone in it. Family members should be introduced first, and then any other pets you might have. When introducing dogs to each other, it’s always a good idea to set up a neutral meeting zone where they can sniff and inspect one another so that there are no “violation of territory” issues inside the home.

After that, it’s time to arrange household duties concerning dog care. Make sure that everyone knows what responsibilities they are supposed to take care of to ensure the proper care of the new family member. Feeding times should be arranged, as well as a potty training orientation. This is why it is crucial that everyone is aware of the boundaries within the house, such as no access to the bathrooms, kitchen, or particular living areas. This should also incorporate a familiarization with feeding areas and sleeping quarters.

Because your new family member’s habits will be unpredictable, don’t let them run free so soon. Keep them leashed and watch them with a careful eye. Many newly adopted dogs may prefer a crate in order to help them feel secure, especially if they’ve spent a lot of their life in a kennel. If that is the case, giving them a crate to designate as their own special private place in the home will ease their transition into their new lifestyle.

Getting to know each other

Be sure you have the time to spend with your new dog. If you bring them home without being able to spend the time handling and training them, they’ll have a far more difficult time adapting to their new home. These first few days and the proceeding weeks will be the foundation that your relationship will be built on for the rest of your lives.

Start out by getting to know each other through regular activities you would normally do, or used to do by yourself. Go for walks through the park and regularly interact with other people and their dogs (there is an increased likelihood of squirrel chasing during this time of year so be sure you use a leash at all times). You’ll need to focus on basic training, which is an especially effective method for teaching your new dog the basic tricks, such as “stay” and “return” while continuously developing a relationship. These are the basics for safety, and even if they’re familiar with the commands already, it’s important that they become accustomed to hearing your voice and listening to you. Also be sure to frequently use their name when addressing them so they’ll get used to knowing when they’re supposed to be involved in your conversations.

It’s also popular practice taking obedience classes together. Many local pet stores and professionals will work with dogs and their owners, providing helpful hints and covering the basics so that you can teach your dog to learn. This experience also gives the both of you a chance to spend quality time together while associating with other dogs and their owners.

Be patient with them. You don’t always know how your dog lived before they met you and their old habits may still be deeply imbedded. But with a lot of love and plenty of attention, your newly adopted dog will learn that they are here to stay.

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