When You Decide To Adopt A Dog

This is very different to choosing a gift that can be switched off and packed away when the novelty has worn off. It is very different to buying a garment that can be handed to the local charity bargain shop when it’s a few years old and just doesn’t suit your lifestyle any more: – although that’s what many people effectively do when the novelty of having an animal wears off or their circumstances change.

The only pet adoption routes recommended are through a registered and reputable animal welfare organisation (that STERILISES each and every adopted pet) or through a registered and reputable breeder.

Where To Start?

Try answering the questions below and if you have answered “yes” to all of them, you then need to make a decision on what kind of dog to adopt:

  • Will there be someone at home to give sufficient quality time to your dog?
  • Have you sufficient space for a dog?
  • Does your lease/complex allow you to keep a dog?
  • Are you prepared to exercise your dog sufficiently?
  • Is there open space either near your home or that you are prepared to drive to where you are allowed to exercise your dog if your grounds are not big enough?
  • Can you afford veterinary fees?
  • Are you prepared to give up time to ensure that your dog has the necessary training to socialise and to learn to obey basic commands like “sit” or “stay”?
  • Do you know that some types of dog are noisier or more energetic than others?
  • If you decide to adopt a puppy, are you prepared for some damage in your home (“toileting” accidents or chewing items, for example)
  • Have you the time to groom a dog properly or can you afford grooming fees?
  • Can you afford to feed your dog properly – and we do mean “properly” – not makeshift diets, the cheapest food available of left-overs!
  • Do you appreciate that dogs, like people, grow old and may need special care and attention later in their lives?
  • If you cannot leave your dog with responsible relatives or friends when you go on holiday, can you afford the cost of boarding kennels?
  • Are you prepared to love and care for a dog all its life, which is often more than ten years: – and not just when it is a cuddly puppy?

Purebred Or Mixed Breed?

Adopting a purebred dog means that you will know how big the puppy will grow, what kind of coat it will have, the general temperament to expect etc. But there is no guarantee you will have the world’s best specimen. Any dog may fall prey to some disease or have social problems although most of the latter are caused by inadequate training and irresponsible ownership.

With a purebred dog, a responsible breeder will provide you with sight of the registration papers of the mother and perhaps also the father, showing the ancestry. If the puppy has been registered, you will be able to get a Registration Certificate and Certified Three Generation Pedigree as issued to the breeder by the Kennel Union of Southern Africa.

A warning is issued at this point in that many advertisements on the Internet refer to purebred dogs and puppies but if they are unable or unwilling to provide the documentation mentioned above, be sceptical and cautious.

SPCAs often have purebred dogs available for adoption. Purebred or not, each dog or puppy adopted from an SPCA must be sterilised.

Adoption fees vary from SPCA to SPCA depending on what is included (sterilisation is ALWAYS included and is compulsory). Some include a collar and disc, others microchip identification etc. Prices of purebred dogs vary and may also depend on availability or background. A Bill of Sale and any conditions attached to the sale should be obtained in writing. There have been cases of people who spent hundreds, if not thousands of Rands on purchasing a cuddly puppy with no receipts or anything, and then they wonder what to do if anything goes wrong.

Many “breeds” of dog are advertised on the Internet at lower prices (can’t believe we are talking about “advertising” and “prices” in relation to dogs) than those of reputable breeders. Be cautious, to say the least. Online shopping may be the norm now but it is certainly not recommended for the adoption of pets. Complaints about such purchases continue to proliferate, including the common complaint that the dog was not purebred at all.

Words of warning also go out in relation to gimmicks such as advertising “Labradoodles” as if this was a recognised breed and asking high prices. Many a time, people are fooled and find themselves paying way over the odds for the progeny of an unplanned mating between a Labrador Retriever and a poodle.

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