Expert reveals how to choose the best shelter dog for your family.
A boy and his dog.
Pomerance wants to show everyone how to make your family happier – and save a
life at the same time – in October.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) sponsors October as
Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month to encourage Americans to turn their houses into
homes by adopting a shelter dog. Each year, millions of dogs enter our nation's
shelters, yet of the almost 59 million owned dogs in this country, fewer than
20 percent are shelter adoptees.
activist who has owned more than 40 shelter dogs in her lifetime, thinks it’s a
shame that more people don’t adopt from a shelter, because the most faithful,
healthy and loving dogs are waiting there for new homes.
“People sometimes don’t go to animal shelters
to adopt a dog, because they have a lot of misinformation about these animals,”
said Pomerance, author of seven books about pets, including Our Rescue Dog Family Album. “They think, ‘I don’t want to inherit someone else’s problem,’ or they simply
think all the dogs there are abused or hard to train, or that they won’t be
able to find the breed that they want. All of those notions couldn’t be further
from the truth. In fact, up to nearly 60 percent of dogs in shelters are not
strays, but pets whose families had to give them up because of a loss of income
or a change in location. These are faithful, loving dogs who just need a home
and some love.”
The key is to
know how to choose the right pet for your family, and Dr. Pomerance offered
these tips to help families do just that:
Breed – Check online about the different breeds, their temperament,
health and physical characteristics. Find out all you can about the specific
animal from shelter workers and volunteers.
Lifestyle – Think about your lifestyle and
personality in terms of the kind of dog that would be more compatible with your
home and your living situation.
Activity level – Assess the activity level and exercise
requirements of the dog you are considering. Are you able to walk your dog
several times a day and play with him?
Age – Figure out what age of the animal is best suited to you and
your family. Which is more compatible with your age and lifestyle? Do you want
an active puppy that needs attention and training, a middle-aged dog with
established behaviors, or an older, less active dog?