Adopting from the Humane Society

When adopting a pet from the humane society, ask as many questions as possible.

  • The animal's history.
  • Where it came from.
  • If it was a voluntary release ask why. (such as Jake)
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  • Was it taken from its owner? why?

This little bit of information will help you understand your pet's odd behavior, if it has any. It will also allow you to retrain the animal to over come its fears and except you as its new master.

  • Watch the animal for the first few weeks, see its quirks and take note, then if you do not know how to help the animal overcome its problems, seek help from a vet, a trainer, or the internet from a reputable site.
  • Never put your new animal in a position that you know is a fear factor until you are certain it is the right thing to do.
  • Dogs are grateful for being adopted, but their history may mean intensive training, so ask questions and pick the pet that you know you can love without fear of it harming you, or anyone around you.
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  • If adopting a special needs animal, make sure you can be dedicated to it and give it the benefits of a healthy, happy life.

Jake, black Lab, was born with 3 legs and a nub. It appears his brain still tries to use the nub as a full size leg. When he runs, he gets down low and uses the nub. We are constantly checking it for any sores or damage.

Don't be afraid of a disability in an animal, but be certain you can handle the problem properly.

Adoption is so much better than paying a breeder for an animal that may have been inbred. The purer the breed, the more health problems it will have in its life time.

Hope this helps you choose a wonderful pet!

By Tina from east TX

Jake with info.
August 23, 20060 found this helpful

I too have an adopted adult dog and I will NEVER adopt a puppy again. We did have "issues"-a fully grown golden retreiver trying to get under the bed during thunderstorms and other loud noises (fire crackers, shotgun blasts, etc.) and she still won't go down in the basement (Wish I knew what Maggie's previous owners did to her), takes her food an will only eat it on the carpet, etc.

But she is the sweetest dog and I love her so much! SHe is such a joy to have as a poart of our family! Adopt and spay or neuter too!

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August 23, 20060 found this helpful

A lot of dogs are afraid of loud noises as you described. How did you get Maggie to overcome this fear? Remember next time you adopt, to find out some history. It may make you sick to your stomach to know what others have done but it will also give you a chance to properly care for it and love it like crazy. As for Maggie and the basement, there may be an odor that is present that reminds her of a bad situation, something that you can't see or smell. I suggest, not to force her into the basement. You might offer her a treat to follow you, but if she is still fearful, allow her the freedom of not venturing down there.

Thank you for sharing your story. I believe in spay and neutering and most definately adopting. By adopting, I will not procrastinate about the spaying or neutering, instead, it will be done before I bring a new pet home.

Loving our pets,


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August 24, 20060 found this helpful

Can you explain how you taught Jake to stop jumping up as a greeting. My one year old lab mix has been to puppy school (and graduated with top honors, I might add), but I still have trouble getting him not to jump up on people. This poses a real problem when my in-laws come to visit as they are quite elderly. Thanks for any suggestions you might be able to offer.

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August 24, 20060 found this helpful

I have two adopted dogs and love them dearly. One was scared of all men until my husband broke him of that; the other is completely blind because of neglect. I wouldn't trade either of them for a perfectly healthy breeder puppy! Give Jake a big hug and kiss for me.

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August 30, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Jennifer,

It took alot of patience with Jake, because that is all he knew. But both my husband and I went with the same technique, of gently removing his paw from us and placing it back on the ground while saying no, sit. Other times when we actualy saw he was fixing to raise up on us, we would put our hand out, palm to him and say 'no, sit', firmly and he would. Because of his disability, we stand next to him and allow him to lean on us and give him a good petting for doing a good job. I'm ashamed to say that one time I forgot he was leaning on me and took off after something in the yard and he just fell over. He was leaning on me so hard. Poor baby, I rushed back and loved him, but he wasn't hurt, nor did he act like it bothered him, but I felt so guilty.

When we first got him, his back legs were so strong from having raised himself up so much that being forceful with him to sit was impossible. He is a very hyper dog and requires a lot of attention. But with continuous work of putting our hand up and saying 'no sit', he has gotten to where he will sit on the spot and allow us to come to him, saving him a few steps.

I hope this helps. But I have not had any luck with my dachsund jumping up on people and licking. She welcomes everyone by trying to get higher than the blue heeler and then she will lick a person's skin off. I guess because she is so short, she can't see my hand and I know she has selective hearing. No one should ever think they are coming in this house to see me. My girls think they are coming to see them.

Take care,


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August 31, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks to you and all the folks who responded for rescuing your pets. I also have two rescued LH doxies, and both have 'issues'- medical and behavioral- but I wouldn't trade them for anything.

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November 8, 20080 found this helpful

One of the things to remember is that ALL animals have some quirks because all animals have a personality. It doesn't matter where you get them from or at what age you get them. All you want to do is be careful for your protection and the pet's for the first few weeks. It's a learning process for you both.

You may see behaviour that looks odd to you but to another family it might have been a normal thing or something they wanted the pet to do.

It really does all boil down to undertanding that no animal is perfect; including you! All relationships take work and it may mean that you have to change your ideas on what you thought pet training or ownership would be like but it's so worth it like all of you have said.

ANY behaviour can be corrected or modified if YOU change your behaviour first!

I've literally adopted out almost 4,000 animals from my home after various municipal shelters ran out of time/space for them. The 3 dogs and 2 birds I have now are the ones that were smart enough to act really stupid when adopters came to see them.

My doberman is a pure fawn Dobi...gorgeous and he knows it. When a potential adopter came to meet him, he was friendly but had no intentions of anything above a friendly hello pet. The man was really well meaning and tried to coax Blitzen a little too much.

Blitzen gave him a dirty look and simply peed a FLOOD while giving the man the evil eye. When he finished, Blitzen went to his bed and proceded to cover himself with his favorite comforter as he still does today! He's almost 14 now.

I've also taken horrific rescues of starved and beaten pitbulls. My grandmother had early Alzheimer's (we didn't know it yet) and she'd often put her hand in the food bowls when putting a little kibble or a snack into the bowl...while the dogs were gulping down food! Never once did any of them even try to growl. They just ate around her hand while she explained to me that dogs don't bite unless they smell meat. :))

It's all about confidence, caring, exercise, training and lots of love!

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April 29, 20090 found this helpful

I have found a great dog training resource: Hope this helps with behavior questions!

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September 6, 20130 found this helpful

I would love to hear how Jake's life got on! What a wonderful story, and a great piece on understanding a rescued animal!

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