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Our story on how to adopt a puppy began over 13 years ago when we visited a few backyard breeders for my 32nd birthday. Of course, we did not end up with a purebred puppy, but instead found the perfect Australian Shepherd mixed puppy and adopted him almost immediately at our local animal shelter. ———–>
I’ve always been fond of dogs as long as I can remember. Our first family dog was a Golden Retriever who was very personable and friendly. Our second family dog came from the shelter and was some kind of Border Collie/lab mix…we think. He had energy to spare and was one of the smartest dogs we’ve ever seen (if only we could channel his energy). In college, I helped raise my ex-girlfriends husky mix puppy, my roomates mutt and collie. I practically raised my landlords two rescue dogs. One was a Australian Shepherd mix and the other was a doberman pincher mix.
How To Adopt A Puppy
After college I entered the work force and assumed that I did not have the time to raise a puppy/dog of my own. So, for about eight years after college I was without a dog until December 2004 when my latest ex-girlfriend decided to get me a puppy for my birthday. We were looking for either a Labrador Retriever or a golden retriever. I love the personalities of both breeds and was looking for something in the medium to large sized dog. After visiting several breeders and actually putting a hold on a yellow lab I finally decided I wanted to rescue a dog from one of the shelters.
I had been looking to adopt a puppy online at petfinder.com while we were visiting the breeders and came across a litter of Australian Shepherd Labrador Retriever mix puppies. They were at the Carson Shelter in Southern California, only about a half hour from my house. We went to the shelter and they had two puppies. One, a female, had the aussie shepherd tri-color look and the other one, a male, was all black with a small white spot on his chest. I did plenty of research on how to choose a puppy and put both puppies to the test. I very much liked the look of the female tri-color, but tried not to be biased as I know the personality is what counts. After putting the pups through several personality tests I thought both would make great pets, but was leaning towards the male with the white spot on his chest. I was very tempted to take both puppies home with me, but in the end I went with the little male puppy and have not regretted it. Linus is a wonderful dog, a little shy, but has a very sweet personality. I do often think it would have been nice to have adopted his sister, but I’ve heard that two dogs growing up together will often have weird attachment issues and I didn’t want that for my dog/dogs.
The Good And The Bad Of A Shelter Dog
I had read many books on how to adopt a puppy, but reading a book and actually experiencing puppies first hand at the breeders, rescues, and shelters is a whole different story. As I mentioned many of the puppy training books we read discouraged bringing home siblings.
So what have I learned from adopting a puppy? First of all the price is right when you choose a shelter pup…the fee for one of these pups is only $37 with a refundable $50 deposit at the time your dog is spayed or neutered. It is also very rewarding to know that you’ve rescued a dog from the shelter. Even though the dog you chose may have been adopted anyway, the sooner you can get them out of the shelter, the sooner the shelter will have room for another dog that may have been scheduled for euthanization.
There are definite disadvantages to the shelter dog. When I rescued Linus he was not healthy at all. He was very anemic and had very little energy to move around. My ex-girlfriend actually thought he was dead when we got him home because he wouldn’t move out of the back seat of her car. He was covered in fleas (so much so there was dried blood behind his ears), he had worms, mites, and he had a stomach infection that required him to take medication for several weeks.
Volunteering At Rescues…Rewarding And For A Good Cause
I’ve also volunteered for a local dog/puppy rescue called Cuddly Canines. The adoption fee for one of their puppies is $300. These dogs come from the shelters, but are taken in by a foster family and have a loving home for a minimum of two weeks with the family. During this time the puppies/dogs are spayed/neutered, dewormed, deflead, and are current on their vaccinations. These rescue groups do a wonderful job with their animals and provide a great service to the community. If you are interested in fostering a litter of puppies, a dog, or would like to adopt please visit the Cuddly Canines website and give them a call or send them an email.
If you are interested in adopting a puppy I highly recommend saving a pup from an animal rescue like Cuddly Canines.
Finally, I’ve gone to the breeders who charged anywhere from $300 – $1000+. Of course the advantages here are you know the breed of dog you will be getting, you have a general idea of the personality (based on the parents), you know the lineage, you will have an idea of what kind of health issues they may have, and you can find out if the parents are certified for hips, eyes, elbows…or any other possible genetic conditions your breed of dog may have.
Time For Another Dog?
When I’m ready for another dog I will probably adopt a litter of puppies through Cuddly Canines and choose one from the litter. I know this is not for everyone, but please don’t be hesitant to adopt a puppy from a rescue group. This will free up their resources and allow them to save more puppies from the shelters. The $300 donation/adoption fee is a small amount of money considering the dog will not have fleas or worms, will be neutered/spayed, current on vaccinations, and will be in good health. The initial fee for my dog Linus was cheap, but after all of his medical expenses including his neutering the cost was well over $500.
There are plenty of wonderful dogs out there and a variety of ways to acquire one. I highly suggest contacting a local rescue group or shelter and adopting one of their puppies or dogs and of course once you do come home with your puppy get started on their puppy training. The things they learn as a puppy will carry over to adulthood. We’ll talk more about training later…
Update: Fast forward now to 2012. Linus is a 7 year old dog and he’s awesome! I’ve raised 3 Labrador Retriever’s and I’m currently raising a Golden Retriever for Guide Dogs of America and I just wrote an article on How To Choose A Puppy that retells the familiar tale of how I got my buddy Linus from the shelter.
Update: It’s now 2018 and I have some bad news. This past week Linus passed away at 13 1/2 years old. I’m planning on making some updates to this post as well as putting together some tribute posts for Linus after the pain of his loss has lessened.
If you’re wondering how to adopt a puppy I would start by visiting PetFinder.com and checking out some of the puppies that are available at your local animal shelters and rescues.
Have you adopted a puppy? Are you in the market to adopt a puppy? Tell us your story in the comments section below.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.