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Dog Adoption

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Dog adoption usually refers to the process of taking ownership of—and responsibility for—a dog that a previous owner has abandoned, discarded, no longer wants, or can no longer keep. Common sources for adoptable dogs are

  • Animal shelters, also known as dog pounds
  • Rescue groups
  • Dogs found wandering loose that have no identification and remain unclaimed by any owner
  • Advertisements placed by individuals who are trying to find a new home for their own dog
  • Dogs that have been abused or neglected and have been confiscated from the offending owner

Dogs adopted from shelters are often referred to as shelter dogs or pound puppies; dogs adopted from rescue organizations are often called rescue dogs (not to be confused with search and rescue dogs).

Dogs become available for adoption for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common:

  • Dog breeders. Breeders are a leading cause of overpopulation because they usually produce more dogs than they can sell and often produce dogs that do not fit the specification they were looking for in puppies.
  • Owner dies and no one in the family wants to (or can) keep the dog
  • Financial or living arrangements change drastically and people feel that they can no longer provide an appropriate home for the dog
  • Dog was purchased as a puppy at a store or from a box of adorable puppies at the side of the road, with little or no information provided; owners often discover that puppies are much more work than expected, or require more space or exercise than they are prepared to give
  • Dog leaves home for a variety of reasons, can't find its way home, and/or owner doesn't look for the dog
  • Severe health problems make it impossible to have a dog in the house or impossible for the owner to care for the dog
  • People become tired of caring for the dog, bored with the dog, or are unprepared to spend the time and effort required to train the dog
  • People leave the country; quarantine laws in some countries can be traumatic to dogs and owners, so the dogs are often left behind
  • Military personnel are deployed. (Many animals were surrendered to shelters located near military bases during Operfation Freedom in Afghanistan and the Iraqi war.)

People deal with their unwanted dogs in many ways. Some people have the dog euthanized (also known as putting them down or putting them to sleep), no matter how young or healthy it is, although most veterinarians do not consider this to be an ethical use of their resources. Other people simply abandon the dog by the side of a road, often in the country, with the expectation that the dog will be able to take care of itself or that a neighbor or passer-by will adopt the dog. More often, these dogs succumb to hunger, weather, traffic, or common and treatable health problems. More responsibly, owners will take the dog to a shelter, or call a rescue organization, where the dog will be cared for properly until a home can be found. Homes cannot always be found, however, and euthanasia is often used for the excess animals to make room for newer dogs.

The central issue facing dog adoption is whether a new owner can provide a safe, secure, permanent home for dogs. Many shelters, pounds, and rescue organizations refuse to supply animals to people whom they judge cannot supply the animal with a suitable home.

A new owner might also face training challenges with a dog who has been neglected or abused.

External links

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