15 things dog shelters need you to know
Looking for a four-legged friend to complete your family? Rescue dogs can be a good solution; you’re not only giving an animal a home, you don’t have to train a puppy not to chew your shoes and pee on the floor. But when you’re looking for your new best friend, make sure you ask dog shelter staffers and volunteers for guidance.
The people at the shelter know the dogs
Which dogs like kids? Which need loads of exercise? Which dogs might try to chew your shoes when you go to work? “The shelter workers who provide daily care – feeding, watering, enrichment – assess their behaviour so they are the people who know the animals best,” says executive director of the Nashville Humane Association, Laura Chavarria. Don’t be shy about asking them loads of questions: “They’ll be able to tell you if the animal knows simple commands, is housebroken, would do well with cats, etc. Shelter workers are a wealth of knowledge – just ask!” Chavarria says.
Don’t get your heart set on a pup you see online
Looking at rescue pet websites is a great first step – many now have photos, videos and notes about the dogs they have available for adoption. But you won’t really know how you feel about a dog until you meet it in person, so keep an open mind, and plan to find out all you can from the humans you see when you visit. “If the front desk person doesn’t know the dog you’re interested in personally, ask the people who care for and walk them every day – the animal care attendants and volunteers,” says professional dog trainer Trish McMillan.