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How to Find an Animal Shelter for Dog Adoptions

Many locations have excellent animal shelter facilities that work hard to pair the right dogs with the right people. When it comes to finding a place to adopt a dog, you just need to know where to look.

  • Round up recommendations: Ask friends, co-workers, or local animal-care professionals — pet sitters, doggy day-care owners, and groomers — what they know about local shelters. They often can recommend the best places to adopt a dog or share with you their own experiences with different local or regional shelters. If you already have a shelter in mind, talk to people who have adopted dogs there — ask the shelter for references.

    You can also seek advice from these sources:

    • Local veterinarians: Vets in the area have probably met and treated dogs adopted from local shelters. They may have special insight into the way particular shelters handle the health of their animals and good insight into the health and temperament of some of the animals people have adopted from local shelters.

    • Local dog trainers: Dog trainers, especially the ones who teach basic obedience courses, have probably seen many of the dogs coming from shelters and may have a unique perspective on the way shelters assess adoptability and behavior.

    • Pet stores that don’t sell cats and dogs: Such stores probably sell pet supplies to many people who adopted a dog from the shelter, and the store may work with the local shelters.

  • Check the Yellow Pages and Internet: Look in the phone book under “Animal Shelter” or “Humane Society,” or check under city or county government sections for “Animal Control.”

    One great thing about the Internet is the way it has facilitated pet adoptions. Several excellent Web sites link shelters across the country and quickly let you know exactly what shelters and rescue groups exist in your area.

    You can search by species and breed, and some sites even have pictures and descriptions of the animals, including whether they work well with children or other pets. This information can help you spot potential pets, which you can then meet in person, already armed with some basic knowledge.

    Some comprehensive Web sites designed to put you in contact with shelters near you are:

    Web sites are no substitute for an in-person visit, but they certainly let you know what’s out there. They even put you into contact with other nearby shelters that you otherwise may never have found.

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