That dog’s really going to love you
Okay, okay, all kinds of dogs love their people. This is not exclusive to shelter dogs. But it’s easy to project an extra-special feeling of gratitude and joy onto a grateful, happy dog who really needed you. “I think if you adopt a dog who’s had a less than perfect life, they are the ones who appreciate it the most when you give them a wonderful life with the attention, food, love, and training they crave,” says Trish McMillan, a professional dog trainer who spent nearly eight years working at a dog shelter and currently co-chairs the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants’ Shelter Division.
You’re helping dogs
When you adopt from a shelter, you’re giving a great home to a dog who needs one, but you’re also freeing up the facility and its people to care for more animals that need help. Plus, every dog that isn’t purchased from a puppy mill means there’s less incentive for irresponsible breeding. “Puppy mill dogs have higher rates of inherited and infectious diseases, and the mothers of these puppies often suffer from inhumane breeding practices and inadequate care,” says veterarian Elizabeth Berliner.
You can skip the puppy stage
Lots of dogs in shelters are adults that have already spent time living with other families – often successfully. About half the animals surrendered to shelters come from families that can’t find pet-friendly housing, and others are brought in because of owners’ medical conditions or life changes. These issues are beyond the dog’s control. Because they’ve matured past the puppy stage, adult dogs are less likely to chew shoes and dig up your garden.