If you are thinking about getting a dog, and possibly from a shelter, you may be wondering how to choose a shelter dog.
We got one of our rescued dogs from the useful site, Petfinder.com, which has a logo that says 15 years, 17 million adoptions. It is a clearing house for over 13,000 animal rescue groups in the US and Canada. Currently, over 300,000 dogs, cats, and other animals are listed on it.
You can search Petfinder on its sidebar by animal, by breed, by location, and by animal rescue groups. You can also search by state, and when I chose Colorado. I was impressed that over 200 organizations were listed. There are sure a lot of people working with animals in need. A lot of the work is repetitious and not particularly interesting, like keeping kennels clean. Kudos to the workers!
So I poked around Colorado, and discovered a number of interesting things. I looked at some breed-specific rescue sites, went to the lists of adoptable dogs at the two shelters I knew about — and I spent quite a while reading about a program that operates in some of the prisons. They do intake evaluation and vet work, the dogs live in the cells with prisoners, and there is a lot of training done. (I didn’t see any mention of what methods they use.) Dogs adopted from this program do cost more than from other places, but this is not a tax-supported program and you are getting a dog who has been trained.
If you have the time and money to include another dog or cat in your life, do check out Petfinder! And if you read about a possible dog at a shelter, here is a really good list of ways to evaluate the dog at the shelter. It’s by Pat Miller, a noted positive dog trainer, and excerpted from this book: