Julie Harper joins us on the blog today to share some information on adopting a dog.

Sadly, in today’s throwaway society, all too often pets are bought or bred, played with and loved before being casually discarded like a pair of last season’s sneakers. Human nature means that some people take away and others live to give back. At Orphans of the Storm®, we work tirelessly to ensure that homeless pets are given a second chance. Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences, knowing you’re giving back so much and finding a new best friend at the same time. You’ll find every shape, size, color, and breed at our shelter—something for everyone. Check out our dog profiles page today.

Assessing Yourself

Dog lovers know the level of companionship and loyalty—not to mention the hours of fun—a dog can offer us, but what can we offer them? A careful, critical assessment of yourself is required before considering what type of dog to adopt. Your character should come under close observation first of all. Are you patient, forgiving, and generous? If you have a place in your heart for a dog, are you going to take the time to train him, being firm with commands but also realizing it takes time for a dog to settle into a new environment? Do you enjoy going for long walks; do you have the time? All are things you must consider. A dog is not a new toy but a living creature who will rely on you for everything. Can you offer a canine pet everything his heart desires?

It’s also important to think about your other commitments, such as work. For instance, will you be able to arrange for someone to come in and take care of your dog if you work full time? If not, it simply isn’t fair. You also have to honestly consider the other things you enjoy doing. While your dog can easily accompany you on day trips, if you are someone who enjoys frequent holidays you might need to give this some further thought. Kennels can be distressing for any dog, but particularly one that has had a difficult start in life. If you don’t want to take, say, a camping vacation or struggle to find accommodation that welcomes dogs, a pet sitter would be an ideal compromise. Dogs can travel in the cargo hold of a plane, but it isn’t going to be a pleasant experience for them; far nicer would be to take them on a pet-friendly cruise. With a little thought, a dog can fit happily into your life.

Your Home

A dog will be happy wherever you are happy. Spending time with their best friend is their number one goal. Ideally a garden or back yard at your abode is preferable, but plenty of dog lovers get by even when floor space is lacking. Again, considering your situation is important. Do you have expensive or vital equipment that a young dog or puppy might chew? Do you need to dog-proof your apartment?


Your relationships will have a huge effect on the type of dog suitable for your situation. If you live alone, you will have to take into account how much time you spend at home. Would you have to leave a dog for prolonged periods while out at work? If you have a large family, everyone’s temperaments and schedules should be taken into account. Some dogs are not suitable to be rehomed in a family with small children; others will just love them. Taking the time to teach your kids about pet care and respect towards man’s best friend can ensure everyone gets along just great! It might be a good idea to implement a day-to-day plan for a new family dog. Deciding who will feed him when and where as well as who will walk him will help your new pooch get to know and trust every family member while making the most of a full, fun-packed day.


Your existing pets’ characters need to be considered too. They are a part of the family, after all. If you already have a dog, they must be well socialized before considering another. Some pets become territorial when faced with a stranger. It might require a period of adjustment, but you must make sure that eventually an older pet will be friendly and welcoming to a new dog.

Which Dog?

Every different breed of dog will bend toward a certain characteristic. It’s important to read up on the type of dog you plan to adopt before taking one home. Certain dispositions will be more suitable for one situation or another. There may be a trait or behavioral complication that has to be overcome or trained out, but dogs learn quickly and just a little time and patience is all that is required.

Though not the solid rule, a lot of the dogs that are abandoned or homeless are mixed breeds or mutts. These types of dogs come in every size, color, and shape imaginable, and their temperaments and characteristics vary in the same way. Listen to the staff at the shelter; they will have spent time assessing the dog and know his strengths and weaknesses. Get to know the dog at the shelter: go to visit him a few times, taking all family members and existing pets with for the ride. Everyone should be 100% happy before you take a new pooch home.

Meeting a Dog

When meeting a dog for the first time, there are certain rules with regards to body language. These tips will help you with meeting a shelter dog as sometimes they have come from unknown or neglected backgrounds, or the stress from kennel life might be making them wary.

  • Allow the dog to approach you first
  • Let him sniff you uninterrupted
  • If a dog turns his back on you or attempts to run away, don’t force your attention on him; give him more time to get used to your smell and impression
  • When he’s ready to cuddle and play, he’ll let you know!

Taking Your Dog Home

When you’ve finally found your perfect pal, try not to get overexcited when taking him home. The first weeks should be about his comfort, letting him get to know you and his new routine. Showering your new dog with toys, bowls, beds, and blankets is for later on in the relationship. At first, you’ve all got to know that it’s going to work out. Keeping in touch with staff at the shelter is the best idea; they’ll want to know how your new dog is getting on as well as be able to offer you tips on how best to care for him. Remember: getting a dog is a long-term relationship, not a summer fling. Grow together, build a trust, and hours of fun are just waiting for you around the corner!

4 responses »

  1. dlhahn49@comcast.net says:

    Sometimes you don’t give up your dog because they have grown up or you are done playing with them, sometimes you do it for the safty of the dog, like in my case  where my two male dogs kept fighting, all I wanted was for both to be safe and happy and therefore a choice had to made. The one of the hardest choices of my life, but there isn’t a day that goes by that he is not on mind I will always and forever love my dog.   I thought I would share my experience

    • Thank you for sharing your story. My family also had to give up a dog due to circumstances that made it the right choice for us, and hopefully for the dog. I still feel terrible about it and wish it hadn’t had to come to that.
      Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for some people to not realize the commitment that comes with owning/adopting a dog. I believe that is what Jill is referring to in her article.
      Orphans of the Storm® hopes that every home a dog gets adopted into becomes its forever home. It sometimes doesn’t work out that way, for a variety of reasons, but we hope!
      Thank you again.

  2. […] a busy week it’s been on the blog, thanks to our guest post and info about the Pooch Parade! Now it’s time to meet some more […]

  3. […] You can read Julie’s previous post on Adopting a Dog here. […]

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