Yesterday Linda Cole offered advice on how to choose a reputable breeder if you decide to adopt a purebred dog. Today I want to talk about rescue dogs and how to find the right shelter dog if you decide to go that route.
All but one of my dogs was rescued in some form or fashion; most came from shelters. I can remember going there as a kid. We’d walk up and down the aisles, peer into all those hopeful eyes and try to decide which pup would be our next family pet. I think I have a knack for choosing a dog from the shelter. All the dogs that have come home with me have been healthy, loving, life-long companions. Even so, it’s wise to follow basic guidelines for choosing a dog from a shelter.
Before You Go
Remember that sharing your life with a dog is a huge responsibility. Once you’ve determined you’re ready to take on this commitment, you should narrow down your choices. Are you looking for a puppy, an adolescent dog or a senior? Do you want a small dog, a medium sized dog or a big dog (when fully grown)? Are you prepared to walk the dog and feed him a high quality dog food like CANIDAE?
Do you have a specific breed type in mind? Shelters are filled with both mixed breed and pure breed dogs. If your heart is set on a specific type of dog and you can’t find one at a local shelter, you can always contact breed-specific rescue organizations for help. Critically and realistically evaluate your lifestyle to figure out what type of dog will be the best fit.
Celebrities have one advantage the rest of us don’t: fans and paparazzi who watch their every move. That may not seem like an advantage to those of us who have no desire to live life under a photographer’s lens. However, the attention gives celebrities an opportunity to speak out for causes that are important to them. Dog loving celebrities not only speak up for shelter dogs, many also rescue dogs from shelters.
Not everyone is emotionally capable of caring for a disabled dog, and most special needs dogs in shelters will never find a forever home. Sandra Bullock is not only an advocate for special needs dogs, she adopted three from shelters. Poppy is a three legged Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix that Bullock adopted in 2005. Ruby is a two legged Chihuahua born without front legs. She walks around standing up straight on her back legs. BeBe, Sandra’s third special needs dog, is a one eyed Chihuahua.
I have been a fan of Orlando Bloom for a long time. He is also a huge dog lover, and actually rescued his dog off the streets of Morocco while on location during the filming of Kingdom of Heaven. Sidi is a Saluki mix, and he goes everywhere with his famous owner.
In 1998, a fire devastated her Beverly Hills home. Drew credits Flossie, her rescued Chow/Lab mix, with saving her life and her then husband, Tom Green. Flossie barked frantically and alerted them to the fire. Flossie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2010 at the age of 16. Drew also has a 2½ year old mixed breed named Douglas, rescued from a shelter when he was six months old. He had been surrendered to the shelter when he was only two weeks old. Her other dog, a shepherd mix named Oliver, had been left in a box with his siblings outside a shelter in Los Angeles. Barrymore isn’t the only actress that has been in Oliver’s life; his foster home was with Nikki Reed of Twilight fame.
Gyllenhaal proudly named his two shelter dogs after characters in his favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is a German Shepherd, and Boo Radley is a Beagle/Pug mix. Atticus is Gyllenhaal’s running partner. An advocate for shelter pets, Gyllenhaal recently helped an animal rescue organization in Mississippi raise money.
Whenever I read adoption tales, I marvel at the many different and circuitous ways people find a certain pet that turns out to be a perfect match for them. Many times, they were looking for a completely different pet than the one they ended up with, and sometimes they weren’t looking for a pet at all. Yet everything fell effortlessly into place, and another fortunate pet found his forever home.
Some people might say “Oh, what a coincidence that was, and now we have the best pet ever!” I don’t believe in coincidences, though, so I am not at all surprised when something completely unexpected brings a family and their beloved pet together. I believe it was meant to be.
Haven’t we all experienced a time when we felt we just had to adopt a certain pet but didn’t really know why? In every case, these pets become such an integral part of our life that we can’t imagine being without them. But did we find our pet, or did they find us?
I ask this after reading a touching tale about a troubled shelter dog who behaved very badly, and as a result no one wanted to adopt him. That is, until his true and forever family finally walked through the door.
A couple had gone to their local shelter with their adult daughter to help her pick out a pet. She had lost a cherished pet a few months earlier, so they were waiting until it felt like the right time for her to adopt again. The man and his wife were not looking for a pet for themselves, but this one plucky little dog caught their eye, and they asked about him.
How does this sound… one day you’re sitting in a cold, damp shelter eyeballing everybody that walks by. Wondering with each passing visitor if the next one will be ‘your’ person, the one to take you home and give you a place to feel warm and secure. Days pass slowly. Then one fine day, someone spends extra time in front of your cage. You are escorted into a ‘get acquainted room’ with that person and notice they smell really good. It’s nice the way they scratch behind your ears and call you ‘buddy’. After a short time, you’re escorted into a long black car and whisked away with the guy who smelled so good. Next thing you know, you’re eating a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE and sleeping in a deluxe bed. Suddenly, you find yourself in the lap of luxury!
That very thing happened to these lucky dogs when their paths crossed with these celebrities.
Bradley Cooper may be People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive because of his blue eyes and his mischievous grin, but he’s tops on my list because of his love of rescue animals. In a 2009 interview, Cooper was more interested in talking about his shelter dogs than promoting his upcoming movie. At the time, Samson and Charlotte were his cherished companions. Samson was around fourteen years old and Charlotte was 6 or 7. Cooper talked about falling in love with each of them immediately, and referred to the dogs as his kids. Since then, Samson has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge but Charlotte is still right by his side, living the high life and even accompanying him onto movie sets. When it comes to women, one of the most important characteristics Cooper looks for is a love of animals. He claims that for a girl to stand a chance, she’s got to like his dogs. He staunchly declares that he and his dogs are a package deal.
Dogs can get down in the dumps just like we can. Depression can be a serious and life threatening condition if it’s not recognized and treated. However, dogs can’t tell us when they don’t feel right, so the only way we can tell if something is wrong is by observing how they act.
A dog’s personality can be just as complicated as their owner’s. Just like us, dogs have their own favorite areas of the home where they feel secure and comfortable. If that area is an out of the way spot, like under the bed or in a closet, it can be misread as the dog hiding. A depressed dog may hide, but he could also just want a quiet place to relax. There are other symptoms to look for that are better indicators of depression.
Symptoms of depression in dogs
Depression works much the same with a pet as it does for us. There’s an apparent lack of interest in food and sometimes even water. If your dog misses one or two of his CANIDAE meals, there’s no cause for concern as long as he’s still drinking water. But if his lack of appetite lasts longer than a 24 hour period, and he isn’t drinking water, you should have your vet check him out to make sure there’s not a medical problem or injury that’s causing him to not want to eat or drink. Sometimes a depressed dog may go the other way and overeat.
Besides loss of appetite, other symptoms to watch out for can include no energy (lethargy) in a normally active dog or sleeping more than usual. A depressed dog may appear to be easily startled by a noise or another pet or person in the same room. A dog that wants to be left alone, won’t move his head to look at you when you call his name, or paces from one room to another and can’t seem to find any place where he’s comfortable, is showing symptoms of depression. Your dog may be depressed if he constantly follows you around the house or yard but doesn’t want to interact with you, especially if he always has in the past.
Anyone with a Facebook account understands the addictive nature of this social networking site. It’s a place where anyone can go to meet new people (with the proper precautions), get information and find pets that are in need of homes. The site even helps lost pets that have gone through natural disasters get reunited with frantic owners who were searching for them. Facebook is helping to change the plight of pets, one animal at a time.
Natural disasters affect not only the people who experience them directly, but those of us who only witness them via TV reports and now, social media. This year’s violent and deadly tornadoes have given new meaning to “keep your eye on the weather.” People who live in tornado prone states aren’t taking warnings and watches for granted this year. We can’t do anything about the weather, but we can help those affected by it in ways that weren’t possible five years ago.
Several days after the Joplin tornado, my Facebook news page was filled with posts from people who’d found pets in a demolished home or wandering aimlessly among the rubble. I also saw a number of posts from pet owners asking if anyone had seen their pet. It struck me then that Facebook had become a sort of “bulletin board” for lost and found. This is not what we see on TV news reports. Oh sure, we get some personal stories, but we don’t get the day-to-day activities that go on after a natural disaster. I gladly shared each post I saw hoping it might help reunite pets with their owners. It was my only way of trying to help. But the power of social media cannot be denied, and I know that sharing someone else’s post might lead to a person who was able to help in a way I couldn’t.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.