Why Pet Adoption is Worth the Hassle

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who are considering adopting a pet instead of buying one from a pet store (read more about the problem with pet store puppies) or buying from a breeder is that the adoption process is a hassle. From vet and personal references to a home visit and a detailed application process, adoption often takes longer than other outlets for getting a new dog.

But don't despair, future pet owners! Here's why the pet adoption process is such a hassle, and why that's a good thing.

#1: The application process allows rescues to say 'no'. 

Sometimes, good people may fall through the cracks of the adoption process. But most times, red flags become apparent during application processing or the home visit. These are tried and true methods for preventing a dog from going into a home that may not be the best fit for the dog, or for the family.

#2: Many rescue dogs have prior medical problems, and vet reference checks ensure that their vet care will not be neglected again. 

If a owner's prior pets weren't kept up to date on vaccinations or heartworm preventative, there's a strong chance that future pets won't be either. While some pet parents choose not to vaccinate annually and use titer testing instead, and some dogs cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, sometimes rescues will come across owners that just didn't take the time to keep up with their pets' health.

#3: The application process helps the rescue match you with a dog that will be a good fit. 

While the application may feel like an in-depth screening to see if you're a good match for one of the rescue group's dogs, it's actually also used to help the rescue match you with the right dog. Applications often ask about your lifestyle and family members so that they can find a dog with the right temperament to fit into your life.

#4: Home visits protect both you and your potential new pet. 

Home visits are critical in ensuring that your potential pet is a good fit for your living situation. A home check volunteer will be able to look at your living space, your fence, and other factors to make sure your dog will be safe there.

Imagine if you adopted a dog that was known for jumping fences, but the rescue never disclosed this or examined your fence. Then you may find yourself with a lost dog, wishing that the rescue had done a better job matching you with a dog and helping you prepare your home and yard for them. Be glad that they take the time that they do!

#5: The process assures that a dog will never go back to the neglectful or abusive conditions from where it may have come. 

This is probably the most important reason for stringent adoption rules. A rescue's worst nightmare is rescuing a dog from a terrible situation, and then adopting them out into a similar home. The process is put in place to ensure that a dog will never become a victim of abuse or neglect in the future. Most responsible rescues also require that adopters returning a dog must return them to the rescue. This is required so that the same screening process can be conducted on the next future owner.

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Positively Expert: Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the internationally acclaimed TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. A bestselling author, Stilwell frequently appears in the media as a pet expert and is widely recognized and respected as a leader in the field of animal behavior.


3 thoughts on “Why Pet Adoption is Worth the Hassle

  1. Amanda

    I think an adoption process is wonderful. I have two rescue dogs myself; however...too often..way too often, I have seen rescue orgs go on power trips when working with possible adopters. Instead of treating people like possible forever families and just trying to find the best matches and making sure everyone will be safe and happy, they treat people like they are all animal abusers and neglectors and it is up to them to prove that they are not. It becomes a huge turn off for those who want to do the right thing and adopt. It can actually make people afraid to work with the adoption groups because no one wants to be made to feel that way and word gets around. It just because easier all around to purchase a dog...sad, but very true. I have had a number of friends experience these. I'm not sure what I would do at this point if I was going to adopt another pup.

  2. Samantha

    Are you sure it was Victoria you were watching? Because she advises using harnesses too. Her technique for teaching a dog not to pull is also very similar to yours.

  3. Sara Mattson

    Dog are purchased, even if they come from shelters or rescues. I do not give my dog heart worm or commercial flea and tick medicine. I heart worm test every 3 months and I use Wondercide flea and tick products along with Flea soap and flea combing everyday during flea season. I do not feel it necessary to give a home check volunteer, whom I don't know, access to my home. I'm a responsible adult, the thought that a rescue organization can judge my fitness for a dog is ridiculous. I have a dog who is a wonderful member of our family. He has a CGC and CGCA AKC designation, a Novice Rally title, a NACSW NW3 title. He goes to work with me most days and is seldom left alone. Everyday I try to give him an enriching experience and exercise. I am deemed unfit for a rescue dog. As long as dog rescues and shelters believe they can judge family's fitness to purchase a dog, the proliferation of puppy mills will continue, as families are driven to buy inexpensive pets. Most people are good and only those with nefarious intent should be turned away, i.e. puppy mills, doggy fighting scum, hoarders.

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