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Shelter Dog – The Realities of Finding One

Shelter Dog - The Realities of Finding One

Why buy while those in shelters die?” is a pretty common mantra these days.  But is it really that simple to adopt a shelter dog?

In my previous post Meeting Katie I spoke about our first failed attempt to adopt a shelter puppy.  Since then we have been searching pet rescue sites diligently twice a day for the last 2 ½ months looking for a dog that would fit into our family.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.  You would think with that many dogs in need of a home finding one that fits in with our family would be easy.  But we are finding that it is actually quite difficult.   Part of the reason is that we are searching for a particular type of dog that would best fit our family’s lifestyle.

Although we have found dogs that closely match what we are looking for on places like Pet Finder, Adopt-Me or Adopt-A-Pet we often don’t meet the requirements to adopt due to things like our children are too young (my kids are 11 and 9), we don’t have a fenced in yard or we live too far away to do a home check.   If we do qualify, we don’t seem to find the dogs quick enough to be first on the list.

Here is a look at some of our disappointments.


Shelter Dog - The Realities of Finding One
Lacey the Shelter Dog

Lacey was a sweet 3 year old girl. Although she was smaller and older than what we were looking for, she fit most of our criteria and she was nearby.

As soon as we saw her on Pet Finder we completed an online application, with all of the necessary information including our veterinarian’s contacts and three personal non-family references.  The next morning we heard back from the rescue.  It was an automated response telling us that our application was being processed and requesting that we inform our veterinarian to expect a call.  Once we notified our veterinarian we had to let the rescue know it was ok to make the call. The email also stated that if someone was able to get through the application process quicker than us, they would be granted the option to adopt her ahead of us. This meant it was not just a race to get your application in first, but to have it approved first.   The email gave us some hope but by the early afternoon she was marked as adopted on their website.


Shelter Dog - The Realities of Finding One
Aurelia the Shelter Dog

After that, there was Aurelia. Aurelia was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix puppy located at our county’s regional animal shelter which happens to be in our town.    They did not have an online application. Instead you filled out a word document that you could download from their site. It only asked for one reference and the name of your veterinarian.  We filled out the application and brought it with us the next day.   MY husband and I arrived at the shelter 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled opening time to find two people standing outside waiting.   Both were there to adopt Aurelia.   After waiting 40 minutes to have a chance to meet her only to find out that the first person in line had adopted her on the spot.


Shelter Dog - The Realities of Finding One
Maple the Shelter Dog

Our next attempt was Maple, a miniature schnauzer/golden retriever mix puppy.  She was located in state about an hour and twenty minutes away from us.  We were more than willing to make the trip.   After filing out the application we heard back from the rescue.  We lived outside of their 1 hour driving limit to do a home check.

So far our experience has not been good.  But I am learning what it takes to find a shelter dog.

This post is part of a series on Shelter Dogs