Wherever you live, there is almost certainly a dog shelter nearby. Your new best friend waits for you and asks for nothing but to be loved, fed and cared for. In return, you’ll get unwavering love and loyalty.

So why shouldn’t you just rush to the shelter now to adopt your new fur friend?

In this article, we will explain some important factors you need to consider prior to adopting a dog, as well as the necessary steps to take if you decide it's the right move for you.

Thinking it through

Adoption isn’t a decision to make frivolously. Serious consideration, planning and finance are all equally needed.

The first thing to bear in mind is that your new dog is a living, sensitive being in need of care and attention, food and love; they will be entirely reliant upon you. Unfortunately, not all of this is free.

Preparing a budget will need to be looked at for you to understand the financial investment you are making. Animals are never cheap and often far more expensive than initial thinking. A budget will help you to keep your finances in check.

It's also important to take a similar approach with your time. Walking, feeding, cleaning, and caring all need to be considered - even before the fun play time begins! There will be some time sacrifices that you will need to make.

Adopting a dog – the steps

When you go to meet your new dog for the first time, all family members should be present; the dog should get to meet all of you before you commit to them. If you already have a dog, why not take him or her along?

The local shelter in charge of adoption will usually ask for certain documents from you. This could be ID and/or proof of address. In many countries, a home visit by shelter staff will also take place. This is to ensure the shelter has full confidence the dog is going to a suitable home. It can also help to provide a smooth transition for everyone.

Once you have chosen your dog, it will sometimes be necessary for you to cover certain adoption fees that go towards vaccinations and sterilisation, for example. This procedure varies in each country so you should check with your local shelter ahead of time.

Here is an example of the procedure for adopting a dog from the RSPCA in England and Wales:

1. Find your dog from their online database

2. Complete an application form

3. Visit the dog with the whole household

4. Home visit

5. Fees and paperwork

6. Collect your dog

Why adopt a dog?

There are so many wonderful reasons to adopt a dog; they make amazing companions and become best friends. They will become a part of your family!

Adopting a dog also helps promote rescue centres, and takes away from less ethical sellers who trade pets solely for profit, often at the cost of the animal’s welfare. By adopting a dog, you are helping to free up a space for another dog in need of saving.

Another bonus of adoption is that it teaches children to be responsible and shows them the value of caring for others. It can also help improve their self-esteem and sociability. Plus an animal can make anyone laugh!

Another thing to consider is that many dogs in shelters are older. These dogs have less chance of finding new forevers homes, but need just as much love as any other fur friend. So why not adopt an older dog?

Are you ready to adopt a dog?

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