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Dog Adoption: The Facts

May 3, 2008
When considering the birth rates among animals, it's not hard to understand why animal shelters are always filled with animals waiting to be adopted. Shockingly, it has been calculated that over a seven year period, one female cat and her offspring will produce approximately 400,000 kittens.

Likewise, one female dog and her offspring will produce 65,000 puppies during a six year period. Since there are more animals looking for homes than there are people who want to adopt them, some 6.5 million animals are put down each year.

Given the statistics cited above, adopting an animal can be a kind and loving thing to do. However, before making the final decision to adopt, there are a number of things to consider.

Many of the animals awaiting adoption in shelters have had very rough beginnings. Some were abused, some abandoned and some were "turned in" because the owners didn't have time for them. Many were left alone for long periods and some were never properly potty trained. In short, when adopting an animal you must be prepared to work with them.

Many adopted dogs will come to the new surroundings filled with fears based upon earlier mistreatment or the harsh rules of their previous owners. Some dogs will be reluctant to go from one room to another, will shy away when corrected and hide upon hearing a loud noise. New owners must be patient with them and speak to them softly and affectionately. Dogs are not stupid and they will gradually come to understand their new environment and show their appreciation for your loving care.

Adopted dogs are subject to all of the behavioral problems commonly associated to dogs in general. These would include digging, jumping up on people, jumping fences, barking and nipping. There are proven solutions to all of these "offenses." If your dog is prone to digging, and always digs in one area, there are a number of effective repellent sprays that work well. If he digs under your fence, a little buried chicken wire works wonders in breaking that habit. Spray bottles filled with water should be kept at hand to break a dog from jumping up and to combat incessant barking.

Visiting an animal shelter can be an emotional experience for an animal lover. It's difficult to see all the animals in their pens and not want to take them all home. Such feelings are understandable and commendable; however, just be sure that prior to adoption you consider all of the ramifications. And remember, your best friend is waiting for you at your local animal shelter.
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