Option 4: The local animal shelter, breed rescue, or pound
The animal shelter, pound, or breed rescue can be a great place to get a dog. Certainly, the dogs in these places usually have a history that is not great but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a great companion. Most dogs that end up in shelters or rescues are dogs that previously had a home but were given up for various reasons. If you find a dog or puppy that you are interested in, ask the volunteers questions. Most of the workers will know what the dog’s previous situation was like, whatever history the owners gave when they dropped them off and also, the workers will have tested them to see if they do well with other dogs, cats and children. This information is important and is definitely a positive about adopting.
Another positive is the cost. Most shelters do not charge an exorbitant amount to adopt a dog and, usually, the dog or puppy is already spayed or neutered. That cost alone is a big savings to anyone looking to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue. Another positive, especially in a pound situation, is that you are saving a dog from probable euthanization. I have met so many pound dogs that are so loving and loyal due to the fact that they had owners who cared enough to take them out of a potentially deadly situation. While this is not what you should base your decision on, it is certainly a good feeling to rescue a puppy or dog that was previously on “death row”.
The negative would be that you don’t know anything about parental history or, truly, what their previous living situation was. Some rescue dogs come with bad habits or fear related issues that need lots of training to work through while some rescue dogs are well adjusted and balanced.
As with any place you will get a puppy, make sure to spend some time alone with the puppy or dog and do a temperament test on them, if able. Also be prepared to be asked a lot of questions about you; where you live, do you have other dogs, what is your daily schedule like, etc. Workers in a shelter, pound or rescue certainly want to make sure that the dog or puppy they place will remain in that home and that it will be a safe and warm place for them to be. Some places will even do a home visit to ensure that the dog will have everything it needs. Not every person who goes in to get a dog will leave with one just because they want one. They must pass the requirements of the facility housing the dog or puppy.
Want to find a ASPCA shelter near you? Click ASPCA shelters locator