Puppy Adoption Checklist
In August of 2013, my husband and I brought home a bold, boisterous black puppy. She was a jumpy combination of nerves and unbridled energy, alternating between licking us like crazy and dragging us around by her leash. She was (and is) anxious, stubborn, and eager to please.
If you are thinking about bringing a own shelter dog into your family, here’s our adoption checklist:
Is she cute?
She has to be. This is for after she tears apart your new couch and you want to kill her. Her cuteness will come in handy. I don’t mean she has to look like she’s in an AKC Dog Show—she could have a snaggle tooth, drool constantly, one floppy ear, or a major case of dog breath… but YOU have to think she’s the cutest dog in the shelter.
Does she have puppy dog eyes that make you want to cry?
What does her chart say with regards to other pets and children?
While her friendliness might not impact your household if you don’t have other pets or children, it will impact your trips to the park, your walks downtown, and your dogs’ reaction to visitors in your home. Read their chart carefully (while keeping an open mind).
Can you imagine yourself calling her your “furbaby?”
She probably needs a lot of love, care, and attention at first. This is where you come in. If you’re not prepared to treat your dog like a new member of your family, you probably shouldn’t bring her home.
Is she housebroken?
This question is extremely important for people who don’t believe they have time to potty train a dog. If your new puppy is not housebroken, she will need lots of positive reinforcement, training, consistency, and time to learn/adjust to her new environment. Remember, even if her chart says that she is “housebroken,” she’s been living in a shelter and may not be accustomed to in-home living anymore.
When you ask the shelter volunteers about her, do they gush and talk about how they’d take the puppy home if they could?
This may be the most important on the list. You will get a “vibe” immediately, and you should trust your instincts. Ask the shelter volunteers what she’s like,
what concerns they have, and if they believe you’re a good match. They are your best resource. On some level, if you’re already in love, it might not matter…but it’s very helpful to know what to expect when you’re finally at home with your new furbaby.
Bottom line: Our puppy has changed our lives. She’s helped me loosen up. I stopped crying over spilled milk and I started letting her be the rambunctious puppy she is. She’s been the perfect addition to our family—not quite a new human baby, but not just another ficus plant or goldfish. She offers quiet companionship, endless playtime, and chocolatey brown eyes that I swear know exactly what I’m thinking and saying. We’re in love, and the best piece of advice I can give you is….
Go for it! Congratulations on your new puppy!