Surfeit of shelter dogs call out for adoption

Between January and June of this year, 307 dogs were brought into your local shelter, but only 60 were adopted.

Between January and June of this year, 307 dogs were brought into your local shelter, but only 60 were adopted.

The Patti Dale Animal shelter works very hard to keep the dogs that live in the shelter happy and healthy. Working with this shelter and others across Canada, Pedigree is embarking upon its fifth adoption drive to show that shelter dogs are good dogs.

The Pedigree Adoption Drive began on September 19, and will culminate at the end of 2012. At this point, Pedigree will have donated more than $1 million to shelters across Canada, $5,000 of which is going directly to the Patti Dale Animal Shelter to put toward anything they currently require, including food, medical expenses or operating costs.

The Patti Dale Animal Shelter has several unique features.  The shelter provides basic obedience training to all their shelter dogs, along with prospective dog owners, before adoption. This program has been successful, and has decreased adoption returns by half since its inception.

Further, the shelter operates a satellite facility at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women (a women’s prison).  The shelter partners with the Correctional Service of Canada to provide work skills to female inmates; the women operate a dog boarding and training kennel that has been successful for both the women and the dogs.

DOG ADOPTION FACTS

Adopting a Dog

• Educate yourself on dog ownership – Dogs take time and deserve lots of attention, affection and exercise – ensure you can dedicate the time to have a dog as a part of your lifestyle.

• Decide why you want a dog, what you are looking for in your future pet and what kind of dog you want – do you want a fun playmate for children or a companion for an older person?  Can you offer your pet a house with a backyard or a small apartment?  Every breed has its own traits, and knowing what you want and what you have to offer can help the decision process.

• Opening your home to a dog can result in an extremely strong relationship – be prepared to gain a loyal dog that becomes a part of your family for life.

Adopting From a Shelter

• Each time a dog is adopted into a good home it makes room for another dog or allows a dog to have a longer stay at the shelter, increasing the chances that more shelter dogs will get getting adopted.

• At any shelter, you’ll find lots of shelter dogs in need of a good home, but it may take many visits to find “your” dog.

• Bring a pen and paper, asks lots of questions and write down everything.  If you can, bring along a digital camera.  Once you’ve spent some time away from the shelter with your notes and images, you may have an easier time deciding which dog fits best with you.

• Spend time with the dog before you adopt them to look for signs that they will fit in your lifestyle.

• Shelters will ask you lots of questions. While some may feel personal, each question is designed to help place the best dog in the best home possible.

Preparing Your Home for Your Dog

• Adopting a dog can feel a lot like bringing home a new baby and you should dog-proof your home to ensure they are entering a safe environment right from the start.

• Ensure harmful chemicals and pesticides are inaccessible.

• Keep dangerous or fragile objects out of reach.

• Close any doors or install baby gates to any room you don’t want your new dog to go into.

• Have everything your dog will need ready before you bring them home.

• Use separate bowls for food and water.

• Prepare their bed with thick, washable bedding for both comfort and convenience.  A crate, with enough room for your dog to stand and turn around in, will offer your dog its own space within your home.  Ensure your family knows the crate is meant to be the dog’s retreat and children should be kept from entering or playing in it.

• Invest in an assortment of durable plastic and/or rubber toys that can be easily washed.  If you’re able to, bring home one of their toys from the shelter to provide a familiar scent in the new surroundings.

• Ensure you have a quality comb or brush on hand to help your dog maintain a healthy coat.  Detailed grooming is best done by a professional, and is an important part of caring for your dog.

• Purchase a collar and leash that properly fit your dog. Look for durable leather or nylon. Leashes should be approximately 1.25 to 1.75 metres (four to six feet) long and comfortable to hold.

• Get an I.D. tag, listing your dog’s name and home particulars.  You can also have your dog micro-chipped – it’s quick, safe and effective should your new dog get lost.

• Schedule a veterinary appointment – dogs are thoroughly cared for while at shelters, but you will want them to meet your family vet.

Introducing Your Dog to Your Life

• Dog adoption is just as exciting to dog as it for you so you will want to help your new dog acclimatize to his new home.

• Upon arriving home, give your dog time to settle in and make sure it has a quiet place to retreat to.

• Introduce a daily routine with scheduled times for feeding, sleeping and exercising as soon as possible.

• Gradually introduce your dog to people outside your family.

• Kids typically love dogs and it’s a good idea to supervise pet-play until you are comfortable the dog will not show aggression.

• Keep your dog leashed when you first bring them home until you’re sure they do not feel threatened by their new situation.

• Feed your dog the same food it received at the shelter to maintain a sense of familiarity as it adjusts to a new life. After a few days, slowly introduce your dog to new food. Select a brand like Pedigree, which offers 100 per cent complete and balanced nutrition that’s customized based on the dog’s unique needs and life-stage. And, always ensure there’s fresh, clean water in their bowl.

For more information on the Pedigree adoption drive campaign and adopting a dog, visit www.mypedigree.ca/adoption

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