Friday, June 24, 2011

Adopt a Friend

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a dog (or a cat... but my mom is deathly allergic to them, so that was out). It was just one of those things that I was drawn too. 

But due to busy schedules while growing up, we couldn't have one. We settled on guinea pigs instead. I will talk more about them in future posts. They really do make excellent pets.

Anywho...

I moved out of the parent's house this past October. I told myself that I would wait a little while until I was settled in before I started looking for a cuddly companion.

Then I told myself that just looking would be fun and couldn't do any harm.

Then I found myself filling out the application.

And within a month of moving out of my parent's house, I brought this lovely lady home.



Her name is Sasha and she is an eight-year-old Shiba Inu Mix. My mom and I ran a DNA test on her, to see what else she was made of. Turns out she's half Shiba Inu, and about a quarter German Shepherd and a quarter Cocker Spaniel. You can totally see the Cocker in her... can't you? ;)

Now, I realize that I might be a little biased, but I think she is simply the best dog in the world.

The way that I went about finding her was using www.petfinder.com. It's a great site, in which you can put in the desired characteristics in your new friend, and read a little bit about them. You can search your immediate area, or expand the search to cover many different states.

Originally I thought I wanted a puppy, or at least a dog under three. One of the first dogs that I inquired about was one year old. She looked like a sweety, but I am so thankful for the 'foster moms' honest response to my inquiry. She said that due to my schedule, a young dog was not a good fit for me, or the dog.

So I changed my search, looking only for adult dogs (classified between the ages of 3 and 8 usually). And that is how I found Sasha.

I will definitely share more about my little girl in later posts, but the purpose for this one is to promote adopting a pet from a shelter. And... while doing so is definitely a very sweet thing, I want to stress that you make sure you are ready for the responsibility.

What I would suggest, after going throught the adoption process with Sasha is the following:

1. Discuss the responsibility of owning a pet with everyone that will be involved. 
Since I lived by myself, this step was very easy, as I was already completely convinced that I wanted one. However, since I was by myself, I researched where I could kennel her when I was gone on business trips and such.

2. Make sure you can financially support another family member.
I was told before I adopted her, that Sasha had a few minor health issues. I realized that those might lead to higher vet bills, or more expensive food. I calculated it out and determined I could handle it. Plan for the unexpected, and unfortunate health issues.

3. Decide on the appropriate age of your pet. 
It will take a CONSIDERABLE amount more work if you get a young pet. It's not fair to you or the pet if you don't have the time it needs to mature properly. While puppies and kittens are cute, they won't be nearly as cute if they aren't trained properly.

4. Research the characteristics of the breed(s) you are interested in. 
When I first found the post about Sasha, I had no clue what a Shiba Inu was, so I researched the breed in order to understand what her tendencies might be. Its amazing how many of personality traits of a Shiba Inu she has, even though she is a mix.

5. Research the shelter you are thinking of adopting from.
I know that I personally appreciated getting Sasha from a shelter that runs itself through a foster program. Kate was Sasha's 'foster mom'. She was an awesome wealth of information because Sasha had actually lived with her for four months. She could tell me how she acted with adults, children and other animals. She new her odd quirks (like how she likes sleeping with your socks) as well as her eating habits. The shelter that she works for is called Pets In Need Midwest and can be found at this website: http://www.petsinneedmidwest.org/index.asp

I highly recommend adopting a little friend, should you find yourself able to have a pet. They really do bring a lot of joy to your life. Its great to come home everyday to my crazy girl.



Are you thinking about getting a pet? Have you thought about using a shelter? Maybe you have already adopted and could recommend a good shelter for others to look at, or have tips of your own to keep in mind. Please feel free to leave your comments below. 

And thank you to those who have given a shelter pet a loving home!

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