While I have adopted great dogs from the animal shelter, many are released to the pound because they have severe behavior problems and are completely untrained. This is fine if you have time to work with a dog with behavior problems, but I have three young children and cats, so I was wary of adopting an "unknown" that might not be safe with the kids.
What I did was adopt a dog from a "foster" family through a Pet Adoption Outreach Organization - Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals. They work with the humane society to take animals that might not do well there. We selected a dog whose elderly owner had suddenly needed to move into a nursing home and couldn't take his dog with him. The rescue organization arranged for us to meet with Mason in his foster home, and I was able to talk to his foster parents about how he did in real life - his habits, how he did with children and other animals, and even little details like what treats he likes and how well he walks on a leash. They even warned us that he can open doors. Mason was only there for a few weeks, but they had a hard time letting him go. He is a lovable guy!
Mason did have some separation anxiety issues when he came to live with us - being rehomed twice was traumatic!, but his foster family helped support us and even brought us a blanket he'd used and his favorite toy to ease his transition. We still meet sometimes for a visit at the dog park. Mason has been an excellent fit with our family, and we couldn't be happier. If you have kids in the house, consider adopting through an organization that fosters. We found ours through www.PetFinder.com
I also strongly recommend that anyone adopting a dog immediately sign up for obedience training classes. Even though Mason didn't have any major obedience problems, working together was a good bonding experience for us, plus a trained dog is a happier dog and much more pleasant to be with :)
By Stephanie from Hillsboro, OR
Our organization assists local shelters in helping dogs recover their physical health and vitality. Since a majority of dogs that end up needing to be adopted have been neglected, the fact they are actually an expensive breed is overlooked. VitaHound.com provides the necessary expertise in dog care to help these wonderful dogs find homes.
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