theParklander

Time to Adopt a Shelter Dog - Big Rewards in Store
By Noella Gato / November, December 2012

Would you ever give up a dog that has been a faithful companion to a shelter? The vast majority of canine caretakers would say "no" to the idea.

But, circumstances can intervene. A death in the family, a divorce, or an unforeseen weather event can prompt some people to relinquish their dogs to shelters, in the hope that they will receive love and care from another family. This just happened to some dog owners in Louisiana and Mississippi, forced to evacuate from their homes in the face of Hurricane Isaac. Some of these dogs wound up in south Florida to await adoption.

Consider these facts, if the prospect of getting a dog appeals to you. October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, so now is the perfect time to act on the impulse to bring four-footed, furry-tailed friendship into your life.

There are many reasons to take this action. You'll save a precious animal's life by bringing it home with you. You will get a healthy pet. You will save money, since getting a shelter dog is less expensive than buying a dog at a pet store or from a breeder.

A bonus is that a shelter dog is already spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Also, you won't be supporting puppy mills and pet stores, where the offspring of overbred dogs produce litter after litter and the dogs forced to breed are robbed of human companionship.

If your taste runs to specific breeds, it is possible to find what you seek at the Humane Society of Broward County (HSBC) in Fort Lauderdale and other area shelters. Recently, this shelter had for adoption the following breeds -- rat terrier, Chihuahua, schnauzer, and Shih Tzu. There are also mixed breed dogs, with fabulous combinations of the best from each side of a lineage.

"A lot of times, people think there is something wrong with the dogs and other pets at shelters," says Cherie Wachter, vice president of marketing at the HSBC, denying the truth of this perception. "They are here through no fault of their own, because they got too big, shed too much, or someone in the family became allergic."

Wachter adopted her own shelter dog, a 16-year-old Yorkie named Twiggy. "She's a sweet little dog," she says. "I gravitate toward the ones that aren't able to be adopted. Her owner died and an uncle took her in. Then he went in the hospital. Twiggy is spoiled and she is being taken care of in her twilight years."

There is something different about shelter dogs. "I think they are grateful," Wachter says about those that are adopted. "Many know that they are getting a second chance. People should know they can get a happy, healthy, friendly pet. If you visit the shelter once and don't see what you want, come back."

Wachter recommends visiting Petfinder.com and typing in the breed you want and your zip code. Sometimes, all it takes to fall in love with your new pet is to see its photo and description on a web site.




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