Merritt Milam | June 1, 2018

Each year millions of dogs end up in shelters and rescues for a number of reasons. Wags ‘N Whiskers Rescue takes in and places lots of loveable dogs each year. Whether they’re surrendered by their owner or found abandoned, many of these dogs make excellent pets…they just need a loving, forever family.

Whether you’re looking for your family’s first dog or adding another furry friend to an already pet-friendly household, adopting a rescue dog will bring lots of joy to you as well as your new pet. The only hard part might be choosing just one. Before you have that rescue puppy or adult dog in your home, here are a few important tips to help make the right choice for your family.

Important Issues to Consider

Aside from the “cuteness factor” and that wagging tail, it’s important to consider several criteria when choosing a rescue.

Rescue vs. Shelter

Either place could have your next furry friend, just make sure you have researched the organization and are assured that they maintain a reputable facility. Rescues typically have more rigorous adoption criteria…that’s a good thing! This makes for a higher chance the pet and family will be a good match. Both types of agencies may already have these dogs spayed or neutered, microchipped, and checked out by a veterinarian. If not, you should have these needs handled immediately. Also, many rescue dogs often spend time in a foster home before they’re adopted. This can be helpful in understanding the dog’s temperament and behavior. It can also provide a loving, teachable environment that will benefit you and your new furry friend.

What age dog is best for your family?

Puppy, adult, senior – they all have their place in a forever home. Decide what’s best for your situation based on factors such as…other family members (including pets), your lifestyle, training, temperament, and activity level.

What breed is right for your family?

Some people have a definite preference towards a particular breed of dog. While this inclination leaning is natural for most of us, as shared earlier, make sure you have researched the breed’s characteristics along with the agency’s credentials and reputation. Keep in mind, a lot of dogs who aren’t purebred make outstanding pets with very good dispositions. The emphasis should be on a sweet pet rescue who is responsive and approachable.

What next?

So, you met the favored rescue dog; they wagged their tail (or bottom) in approval.  They may have even licked your face to make sure YOU were right for them…but you’ve still got a few more things to consider before they take your last name.

  • Make sure all the family members have been involved and introduced to the rescue.
  • Get permission to take them on a leash walk.
  • If possible, see how they handle meeting other dogs on a leash.
  • Offer a treat and see how they take it. Aggressive? Gentle? Guarded?

Welcoming Your New Family Member Home

You’ve adopted a rescue dog and you couldn’t be happier! Here are a few last pieces of advice to help everyone make the transition to their new home.

  • Make sure you have all the right equipment: leash, bowls, food, mat, etc.
  • Visit your veterinarian for a checkup just to get them started off right. There’s peace of mind in knowing your pet is healthy on day one.
  • Enroll in a basic obedience class. This provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with your new pet and teach them important life skills. We highly recommend our trainers from Love Them Train Them. Check out available training dates at Wags here.
  • Consider a daycare option to help socialize your friend and give them plenty of exercise, especially while you are at work or away from home. Camp Wags is a great place because of our large indoor play area and experienced kennel assistants. Check out our website or call 205.902.WAGS (9247) for more information.

Summer is often the time when families get a new pet. This year consider adopting a sweet rescue dog or cat. They’ll bring lots of love and happiness to your family and you’ll forever be their hero for providing the much-needed companionship and home they need.