Adopting a dog: How to know if it's a good shelter

It's unfortunate to have to write an article on this subject, but it's a reality: not all shelters or associations are equal. In this article, we will offer you some points to think about to help you make an informed decision if you are thinking about adopting a dog from a shelter.

1. Reputation

This first point is obvious. In the age of social networks, systematic online reviews, and permanent feedback from people, it is very easy to get a quick first opinion on the internet regarding the reputation of the shelter or an animal protection association. The majority of them have Facebook or Instagram pages and often you'll find extremely useful information in people's comments. Indeed, most are authentic and take an informed look at the refuge in question. You can also talk to people who have adopted dogs from this shelter or who have volunteered there.

At Goofy Goldens, we work with 2 quality local associations in particular, as there are hundreds of others:

Lou Chi is a shelter specializing in the rescue of farm animals. He collects puppies from an illegal litter or which the breeder wishes to get rid of because he cannot sell them or because the dog has a handicap/“imperfection”. But also older dogs, who have participated in reproductions all their lives and who today no longer serve them and therefore they get rid of them. Lou Chi collects the dogs, treats them and looks for foster families before entrusting them permanently to adoptive families. It is through this association that we, for example, saved Ulane, our little staffie who found her family for life.  

The CPA is an association also very active in the Loire, for example we have saved Arès, Youki, Benji, Liroy and Chouquette. The particularity of this association, unlike associations or shelters that recover abandoned dogs or that are brought to them, is that this shelter fights animal abuse head-on by going directly to look for abused dogs from abusive people. It is a courageous association which often requires the intervention of the police at its side to get the dog out of its ordeal.

For example, we also picked up one of our dogs, Tosca, via a Facebook group that we have been following for a while. It is a group of enthusiasts who specialize in rescuing golden retrievers or golden retriever cross dogs. The team is attentive and very invested, however, and certainly because of the quantity of rescues to be carried out, post-adoption follow-up is non-existent, which is what we could advise them.

2. Living conditions of dogs

We advise you to visit the shelter before you decide in order to assess the dogs' living conditions. Ask questions about how animals are treated at the shelter. This may include details of how they are housed, fed, cared for and socialized. It is important to ensure that animals receive quality care and are treated with compassion and respect throughout their stay at the shelter. Unfortunately, many shelters are not up to standard or have forgotten their DNA by no longer protecting the animal or, others have made a business out of the misery of dogs. Worse, some shelters in collusion with pounds euthanize in mass production. “No room for this dog? It doesn’t matter, we don’t try to find solutions, we euthanize.”

3. Veterinary care

Make sure dogs receive regular veterinary care, including vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and treatment for illnesses or injuries. Most shelters and associations work in collaboration with veterinary clinics with whom prices have been negotiated. Some shelters have veterinarians on site; otherwise, they generally do not practice very far away. A shelter or animal protection association that does not have a partner veterinarian should alert you. It's even a red card.

4. Adoption Process

Find out about the shelter adoption process, we have devoted an article to this subject ( Adopting a dog from a shelter: good practices and procedures). A good shelter should carry out proper checks on prospective owners to ensure the dogs are placed in appropriate homes. Some come to your home to check that your home is suitable. This is good, it is a sign that he is ensuring that the dog will be safe in your home until the end.

5. Commitment to animal welfare

Make sure the shelter demonstrates a real commitment to animal welfare, implementing socialization programs for dogs to help them adapt to interacting with humans and other animals. This may include supervised play sessions, regular walks, interactions with volunteers and group training sessions. There are also education programs which provide ongoing education to potential adopters on the specific needs of dogs, including how to meet nutritional, exercise and health needs. Advice on dog behavior can also be provided which can help correct unwanted behaviors such as aggression, anxiety or socialization problems, increasing the chances of successful adoption.

A quality shelter will encourage responsible adoption by conducting appropriate background checks on prospective owners, asking questions about their lifestyle, experience with animals, and ability to care for a dog. They can also provide resources on the responsibility of pet ownership, including the importance of spaying/neutering, microchipping, and commitment to quality care throughout. throughout the life of the animal.

As for associations, they act more urgently, so they rely largely on host families to socialize and educate the animal.

6. Transparency

Finally, a quality shelter should be transparent about its practices and policies. Ask questions about their procedures, animal treatment policies, and funding policies. A quality shelter should be open to explaining its procedures and policies in detail. This may include information on how animals are received, evaluated and cared for once at the shelter, as well as the protocols followed for animal adoption. Policies regarding adoption requirements, associated fees, trial periods, and return policies should be clearly communicated to potential adopters.

A quality shelter should also be transparent about its funding sources and how the funds are used. This may include information on donations (kibble, collars , accessories, etc.), subsidies, adoption fees and other sources of income. Transparent shelters are often willing to share financial reports or other relevant documents to demonstrate how funds are used to support the shelter's operations and the welfare of the animals housed there.

By requesting information on these aspects, you can better assess the transparency of a dog shelter and make an informed decision about your involvement with it, whether through adoption, volunteering or financial support .


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