Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue can be a very rewarding choice!
We all know there are 100's of 1000's of dogs waiting for homes in shelters and rescues all over the USA. Saving one of these dogs can be the most rewarding choice you ever make! If your looking for a new dog and really have your heart set on a specific breed you may want to look at finding a breed specific rescue. There are many purebred dogs in shelters too and many of them are social and very well trained.
As a dog lover myself and the owner of Earth's Answers All Natural Pet Products I have seen many people with good intentions adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue and under estimate the transition that will transpire for the dog and their family. This actually happen to me .... this is why I have decided to blog about this topic and share my experiences with good dogs labeled bad.
Adopting from a Shelter
If you decided to adopt a dog from a shelter where they have been kenneled this option can have more impact on the transition than adopting from a rescue that has the dog in a foster home. Normally dogs from shelters are strays and will not have any information on their background or behavior other than what the shelter gives you from a personality test.
Adopting from a Rescue
There are some advantages using a rescue for adoption, most times the dogs are put in foster homes. Foster families can usually tell you more about the dog behavior, also the dog has had some chance to acclimate to the changes from going from their previous family to the shelter then a new family again. This transition seems to be a bit easier. However rescue dogs are usually not in grave danger of being euthanized and have more time to find a forever home. Either way adopting a dog is rewarding!!
Advantages of older dogs verses puppies.....
One good advantage of a older dog is they are past puppyhood and won't be apt to chew and tear stuff up. In my experience they seem to adapt to house training faster too. Puppies in shelters and rescues seem to get homes faster, older dogs are often overlooked as they are not as cute and cuddly as the young ones. Saving the life of an older dog is also very rewarding!
My Story of Tyson..... 8 year old Boxer.
My first experience of adopting a dog sight unseen and out of state! WOW what an challenge.
I adopted Tyson in June of 2012 from the Garland Animal Shelter in Garland, Texas. I saw his picture on Facebook as a dog in need of a adopter by the following morning or he would be euthanized. I called that afternoon and paid his adoption fee of $80 Luckily with a great network I found a shipper that would drive Tyson to a nearby town. It was about a 200 mile trip. The shipper charged me $150. So all the details were done! The Boxer was on his way to me.
When I met the shipper, Ty was in a crate in the back of his SUV. Ty looked so confused and terrified, The shipper handed me a leash and said well there's your dog. I opened the crate door and Ty just sat there staring at me with eyes as black as coal. The Shipper said "I'd be careful getting him out, he seems to be a bit aggressive." I coaxed him out finally! He clearly had never been in a crate before. I agreed to get Tyson neutered by a certain date as the shelter could not get him into their Vet for several weeks. The shipper gave me paper work and off he went!
There I was standing in a parking lot in Texas with a huge aggressive, confused "old" intact male Boxer. He was really skinny, had sores all over him and several tumors. He sure didn't look like any of my spoiled dogs at home.
So I begged Tyson to get into the back seat of my pickup. You could tell he hadn't rode in many vehicles or he associated them with bad things, but after almost an hour standing in the 105 degree heat Tyson allowed me to lift his back end and slide him in.
When we got home, my entourage was waiting at the door to great Tyson. Ty was defensive and aggressively attacked my poodle, Trigger and Boxer, Abby. through the fence. All I kept thinking is what have I done?? I finally got Ty into the house and all 6 curious cats were right on his trail. I locked Ty into a room with a baby gate and he seemed to be relieved to be away from traffic. He seemed fine with the cats but I wasn't convinced he was cat safe. Luckily Abby and Trigger both mind well and are very social.......so they knew to keep a distance and just ignore him.
First night was quiet as Ty stayed in his room. But they next day we found that Tyson was very aggressive towards people and "Men" mostly. I contacted several trainers to see if I could get some help with aggressive dogs and that was a dead end. Many wanted big fees for their advise, so I turned to research on Google. What an ordeal....... I even contacted a few Boxer rescues to see if maybe I could surrender him to someone that had more experience with such aggressive behavior, that was an option as they started to work with me, but I started to think of all that failed him and gave up on him already..... and how could anyone love this mean old dog? Where would he end up?
So I dug in and stayed with it....... working with Tyson daily, he was on a leash the entire time he was in my house for the first few months. He was not potty trained and we learned that really fast. I made him a big soft bed and gave him lots of super good organic holistic food, bathed and brushed him and coconut oiled all his calluses. He started to bond with me and trust began. Trigger and Abby played with toys and bones and tried to share, Tyson started to like them. He was always somewhat tolerable to the cats but I heard him chase them out of his room several times. All and all I did see some progress.
Now it's been 1 year plus and Tyson fits in our family like a glove, he is still aggressive to some degree, so we just treat him with respect and lock him up when we have company. Ty loves all dogs and cats, I babysit many dogs and Ty is a great with them. There is no telling what his past is. He came to us at 8 years old, so he had 8 long years of conditioning. We will never know his past, but there is no doubt that Tyson appreciates all we have done for him. He has become so kind and gentle to all our family furr and skin. I can't imagine my life without him.
My best advise for those that adopt or rescue a dog in need...........is in those first few weeks that you get your new rescue dog home, does not dictate how they are going to be. They will change and mold right into your family.......you must give it time and some work. The end result is the best reward there is!!!