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How to adopt a dog and find your best friend

Approx. 4 minutes read

If this is your first time looking to adopt a dog, stick around on Pet Hero because we’ve got some pawsome information to share with you to make your dog adoption process as simple and exciting as can be. Owning a pet is huge responsibility that comes with a commitment to love and cherish (and feed, train and care for) your furry friend for around eight to 15 years… and sometimes even longer! But if you’re made of the stuff of pet heroes, then this is exactly the kind of commitment you’ll love!

Should you adopt or buy a dog?

This is a ruff topic that raises the hackles of dog enthusiasts on either side of the question. We acknowledge that South Africa is in a dire situation with SPCAs and pet rescue organisations that are overflowing with stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs (and cats and other pets and livestock). This reality means that anyone – like you! – looking to adopt a dog should start at your nearest pet shelter to see if you find that special furry friend who’s been waiting for you to come and adopt them. Also search on Facebook. There are many pet shelters around the country that are looking for furever homes for the pets in their care, so maybe your new best friend is just a phone call away!

Adopting a dog from a shelter or giving a home to a dog whose original pawrents can no longer care for them (for whatever reason) may be the morally correct thing to do, but there is still a big market for specific dog breeds. This is because people use working dog breeds to perform specialised tasks, take part in agility competitions, or they buy a dog with the temperament that they know and love.

What type of dog should you NOT get?

If you find yourself drawn to a specific dog breed because you saw a well-trained dog in a movie or on a TV show, BEWARE. You are most likely unprepared for the chaos you’ll bring into your life if you don’t know the dog’s temperament and what they need in terms of time, energy and training. If you want a specific dog breed because ‘it looks good’ or ‘my friend has this dog’, please first do your research.

For example: border collies are stunning black and white, brown and white, or tricolour medium-sized dogs. If you think for a second that the average border collie is going to simply chill on the couch with you, you will be shocked to hear how much exercise they need. A border collie – bred for hundreds of years and trained to herd livestock and run all day – needs a minimum of two to four hours of exercise PER DAY. They are also one of the smartest dog breeds and they need to have their brains challenged… or they may end up challenging your garden, your shoes, your furniture and even your children and other pets. If you do not have the time to train and exercise a high-energy dog, then steer clear of intense breeds like the Belgian Malinois, Siberian husky, Australian shepherd, Weimaraner, beagle, Dalmatian, etc.

Find more information about your favourite dog breeds here.

If you do have the time, commitment, enthusiasm and lifestyle for a high-energy breed, contact a KUSA-registered breeder to find out if they have puppies available. A registered breeder is more likely to breed healthy puppies with the correct form and temperament, than someone with oopsie-daisy puppies they’re advertising in the classifieds. Credible breeders most likely have long waiting lists for new puppies and they carefully select new owners for their registered puppies. If you’re not prepared to wait, then rather adopt don’t shop.

DO NOT SEARCH FOR PUPPIES ONLINE, you might just fall victim to a puppy scam.

Where can I adopt a dog?

Take note that many purebred dogs also end up in pet shelters, so it’s always best to start your search for a dog to adopt from a pet rescue or shelter.

However, legend has it that the dog you end up with is the dog that finds you… and not the other way around! Many of our pet heroes have gone in search of their favourite dog breed only to come home with an entirely different furry friend. There’s some real magic at work when you are looking for a dog to adopt and the pawfect pup ends up in your car… on the way to their new home!

What is the dog adoption process?

There is a necessary process to follow when you want to adopt a new dog from a reputable animal shelter or pet rescue. You can read about it here.

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