Wanna Adopt a Dog? Here's Some Advice

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Looking for a a new addition to the family? Here is PSP member advice for adopting (or fostering) a dog:

- Remember that YOU will be spending a lot of your time with your dog. Make sure you feel confident your family will be able to provide your pet a good and loving home in 5,10 or 15 years.
- If you are not ready to commit to adoption, try fostering a dog. This is a great way to see if a dog might be right for your family or not.
- Find a dog that is a great match for your family, living situation, schedule, etc. Do research online and determine what kind of dog will best fit your lifestyle (What breed? Big or small? Young or mature? Etc.). Be patient and willing to go back to shelters- they get new dogs all the time.
- Know that dogs can be expensive, and their care takes time, but the love they give makes it all worth it!
- Check out our list of PSP recommended shelters here!


Dog Adoption Advice Compilation 5.1.18


I grew up with a dog as did my husband and both by girls (5 and 3) want a dog and we are almost ready to take the plunge. While we are not getting a puppy, I wanted to get some advice from you. For those of you who have a dog and children, can you tell me what it's been like? What is the hardest part of having a dog in the city especially when you don't have a back yard. And how expensive is it to have a dog?

Thanks for any feedback!
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One thing I've noticed about having dogs now vs. back when I was a kid and dinosaurs roamed the earth is that people spend more on their dogs (cats too). It was extremely unusual when I was a kid to see a dog with a coat, even though I grew up on L.I. where the weather was the same as here and now. Also my parents thought they were indulgent to use Alpo/Purina/whatever basic food rather than the store brand. But almost everyone I know with a dog or cat uses much more expensive food as recommended by their vet. And maybe I'm just lucky but my cat, now 7, hasn't been to the vet since he finished his shots and had his operation. Since he's an indoor cat, there's no need for protection from illnesses he could get outside. He's happy with his Purina cat chow, indoor formula--he didn't like the store brands so I feel indulgent giving him a brand name. But no Iams or Purina 1 or higher-end stuff for us.

But that's just me.

When we got the cat after much begging by my daughter, who was 9 at the time, I agreed with the personal understanding that I had to be ok with taking care of this animal for his natural life. And that's what happened. I won't go for a dog, much as she'd like one (she's 16 now) because I don't want to get stuck taking it out 365 days a year, rain or shine, morning and night.”
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After 2 months of consistently training him, he finally started seeing progress on all fronts! The key is to "be consistent" and avoid punishing the dog. Fast forward several years, and he had become the king of the couch (and the bed).

...and then, our daughter came along. He started to show jealousy by pooping in the apartment. That was frustrating and I admit to yelling at him from time to time. But with extra love and attention, he was able to get over it and started to love the new addition in the family. And despite all of the abuse he gets from my daughter (the pulling of his hair and tail), not once has he ever bit or ever growled at her.

As for expense, I spend $75 in grooming every 6-8 weeks. His food probably costs us $100 a month (including treats), and annual vet check-ups and medication cost another $400 or so a year. Of course, there are always unexpected expenses that pop up. He ingested ice-melting salt last year (which is toxic), resulting in a $500 vet bill. And last month, we spent close to $2500 to treat glaucoma, ultimately removing the eye (he is now a one eyed dog and much more happier than he had been with the glaucoma).
Dog can be expensive, and their care takes time, but no more so than any other family member, and the love they give makes it all worth it.
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I’m all for having a pet with kids. Yes, there's some work involved, but
teaching and modeling caring for a creature is priceless in the raising of
kids, IMO.

We have two rescued pit bulls. One is 14, and I had before kids, and one we
just rescued last year. The rescue process has been super fascinating for
my 7 year old, who is now passionate about rescuing dogs and wants to give
saved allowance to dog rescues. She also participates in helping me keep
the occasional foster puppy, work at adoption events, etc.

I don't think owning a dog has to be as expensive as some make it-- other
than vet, food, and some toys, everything else is optional.

My two cents. FYI- there are some AMAZING BK rescues that are overwhelmed
with unwanted animals, especially after the holidays, sadly. Try BARC or
Sean Casey Animal Rescue to start.
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1. Pets are a family responsibility: everyone has to be on-board
with the idea of bringing them into the family, living with them, and
caring for them.
2. Many people don't consider how long a newly-adopted pet will live,
and whether they will be able to give their mature pet a good and
loving home after 5, 10 or 15 years.

Yes! Adopt a pet for your kids, but get it for yourself, as well.
Remember that YOU will be spending a lot of your time with
it for many years.

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If there's a specific kind of dog you and your family are waiting out for, you can search online at petfinder.org and use any number of filters (age, breed, size, "good w/ kids", etc). The website consolidates a number of rescue organizations, shelters, etc. to show almost any and every dog (or cat) available for adoption. Sean Casey and others post as well, and that way you can search for the dog you want, and then work w/ whatever agency that's caring for the dog to ask about health, vet history, whatever.

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We don’t have a dog because not allowed in our apt but I know Korean K9 Rescue is an all volunteer, non-profit dog rescue group in NY and they seem so passionate. Dogs come from the brutal dog meat trade farms in Korea and are also puppy mill survivors. You can check their Instagram account

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You might also consider fostering a dog. This is a great way to see if a dog might be right for your family or not.

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We got our fantastic mutt Leo from Badass Rescue. Here's what we really like about them: they take dogs from kill shelters in the South and foster them up here in peoples' homes. That means there are real people who get to know these dogs; when you go to a Badass adoption event, you can say "I need a kid-friendly pup," and people will actually know which dogs to introduce you to.

Badass has a wonderful Facebook community too, where you can go for excellent advice and gratuitous pictures of cute dogs.

Badass is a little more expensive than some other options, but we think it was worth it.

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Adopting a dog has so many rewards - I highly recommend it. BUT don't go into it thinking it will be easy. There will be adjustments for everyone and you should plan on potentially budgeting for a dog trainer that has knowledge about animal behavior because there may be particular issues that need addressing (compared to a trainer who helps you teach your dog to sit and stay). A good dog behaviorist can identify what your particular dog needs.

I would say it was a very challenging first couple of weeks and then a challenging 4 months. But you would have challenges with a puppy too.

Also, don't let anyone push you into a dog. Find a dog that is right for your family -- do some research about breeds so you have a general sense of what kind of dog fits your family (ie. a Jack Russell mix is small and might seem good for an apartment but they are VERY energetic so maybe not so good for your family). Be patient and willing to go back to shelters (they get new dogs all the time).

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I want to second Brooklyn Badass. As someone who spent years volunteering in shelters and as a foster and adopter it is very very hard to appreciate how a dog will be at home when you see him at the shelter. They can be in small cages and are extra energetic and anxious from the noise and lack of exercise .... they are not the dog you will be bringing home. It is a very overwhelming experience for you and for the dog you meet. As the previous poster mentioned, because Badass rescue dogs who then go straight into a foster situation you can get a much better idea of how that dog is in his day to day life. You can ask lots of questions that tbe overwrked staff and volunteers at shelters cannot answer in a way the foster parent can.

Good luck in finding your perfect match! It’s an incredible, beautiful thing.

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Dog Adoption Advice Compilation 4.25.18

Dear All,

we are considering adopting a dog, and would like to hear some feedback on rescue places, such as Sean Casey and Bark, that are the ones coming up in searches for Brooklyn.

If anyone has a place to recommend, where they had a positive experience, we would like to have their info - we can go to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens.

We really would like to find the right pet for our family: healthy, compatible with kids (one is 9 year old, one is 17 and almost out of the door), not too big, etc.

Some of the reviews for popular adoption places are scaring me, I do not know how to go about this.

Thank you.
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If there's a specific kind of dog you and your family are waiting out for, you can search online at petfinder.org and use any number of filters (age, breed, size, "good w/ kids", etc). The website consolidates a number of rescue organizations, shelters, etc. to show almost any and every dog (or cat) available for adoption. Sean Casey and others post as well, and that way you can search for the dog you want, and then work w/ whatever agency that's caring for the dog to ask about health, vet history, whatever.
However, if you still wanted to pick an organization first, the ones I know are:
- I've volunteered with Animal Haven in soho, and would recommend going them as a reliable organization that rescues dogs;
- I volunteered for one day w/ Sean Casey as well, and I didn't see anything that would concern me about adopting a dog from that organization.
- Years ago, I adopted a dog from Stray from the Heart -- I loved the dog, but I did feel like the organization (not the volunteer who fostered the dog) purposely waited to tell me the dog was older, and not as healthy as they led me to believe.

It would depend on what you’re looking for in an organization that would give you trust, but I recommend using petfinder to find the right dog, regardless of the organization.
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Hi,
In terms of personal experience with shelters, I used to volunteer at the ACC
(Animal Care Centers). They are contracted by the city so they must take in all stray animals. It is also unfortunately a kill shelter because they are so overcrowded. They have a list every night of the animals on the at risk list, you can check the list and place a hold on an animal you’re interested in. https://m.facebook.com/ACC.OfficialAtRiskAnimals/
They have adoption centers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. They also list on their website all of their New Hope partners - these are other rescue groups in the region that take in ACC animals when they can - super helpful to have a list in one place of all of the rescue groups in the city!
https://www.nycacc.org/get-involved/new-hope/nhpartners
I’ve also previously adopted cats from the ASPCA and never had a problem.

You might also consider fostering a dog. This is a great way to see if a dog might be right for your family or not.

Good luck!
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I would highly recommend Animal Care and Control (ACC), the city shelter system. These dogs need homes desperately. While there is a stereotype of the aggressive dog, most of these animals are gentle and relinquished because of the circumstances of their owners.

We adopted a beautiful, gentle Shih-tzu and couldn’t be happier.

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We had a good experience with Sean Casey. We got a dog that was the right size for us (35-30lbs) and low shedding (his fur needs to be groomed/cut rather than a short hair kind of dog). He was traumatized by being in the shelter but Sean Casey did help me a bit with how to handle him. The one critique of I have is that we had a cat and I asked if this dog would be ok with a cat. The way they tested it was to put the dog and a cat in the same room. Neither animal reacted but that was because they were freaked out being in the shelter. Once our adopted dog got comfortable, he went after the cat. In all fairness, you probably can't get a real answer that question unless the dog is being fostered in a private home.
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Hi there!

Just want to say THANK YOU for adopting (oh man I feel like my 15 month old who condescendingly has started patting me on the back .... but I mean it!).

Ps. Statistically larger, black dogs are the most vulnerable (ie least likely to be adopted).
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A lot of the rescue organizations, including the ASPCA (also in upper Manhattan) will do a screening process and take dogs directly from ACC. I got my lovely long unidentifiable mutt sweetheart from Animal Haven in Soho - they were really easy to work with and had a wonderful bunch of sweet pups. It is tempting to recommend going straight to ACC since those dogs are closest to being put down, but I think that going to another no-kill adoption agency will likely be a better experience for your family and will open up a spot for that organization to take another dog out of a kill shelter. I've also heard great things about Sean Casey animal rescue.
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An enthusiastic vote for Brooklyn Badass Animal Rescue!! Everything about the organization is thorough and thoughtful and designed for finding the right match, which is so important for both your family and the dog. Their community of adopters is so helpful when managing day-to-day needs (finding a vet, surprise behaviors or conditions, etc). It’s a rewarding experience overall.
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I want to point out that shelter adoption isn't about the experience provided by the shelter. They aren't there to make sure you have a good or bad one; they are there to rescue dogs. It's up to you to be ready for whatever emotional/logistical challenges this presents. I've adopted from both ACC and a small suburban rescue group and gotten equally amazing dogs from both. (I'm also a Sean Casey neighbor and can't say enough good things about them.)
Good luck! An amazing dog is out there for you somewhere.
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Not sure if anyone mentioned yet Animal Haven in lower Manhattan, but they are a well-regarded no-kill animal shelter bringing in unwanted and abandoned pets from the area, and all over the world. I have seen their facility which is top notch and they have an Instagram feed of their animals, and on there they share success stories (as well as some heartbreaking ones of how specific animals came to them.) I know the Director personally so, happy to make a connection if you like. She can give you excellent advice and even provide a tour of the facility to view the pets up for adoption. It's really a special place!
Good luck!