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Why You Should Bring Home A Rescue Dog

Updated on March 8, 2017
Author's rescue dogs, Blue Heeler mix Molly and Norwegian Elkhound and Lab mix Liebe.
Author's rescue dogs, Blue Heeler mix Molly and Norwegian Elkhound and Lab mix Liebe.

The decision to bring a dog home is a big one for any family. All little kids dream of that adorable little puppy that they can run around with, that will lick their face and basically just be a best friend. Adults love dogs for the companionship, knowing they will always be happy to see you and for home protection.

But how do you decide which dog to bring home? You have options afterall. You can choose a specific breed and visit a breeder. You can run to the local pet store to see what they have that is cute, fuzzy and wiggly. Or you can visit your local animal shelter.

As a personal preference, I have always had rescue dogs. I get a great companion, save a life, and spend less than going to breeders or pet stores. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn't overlook a dog because it is in a shelter for a person who has volunteered at a shelter and who has had rescue dogs all my life.

Author's rescued German Shepherd mix, Spooky, adopted at approximately four years of age and was a loyal companion for ten years until the dog passed.
Author's rescued German Shepherd mix, Spooky, adopted at approximately four years of age and was a loyal companion for ten years until the dog passed.

Save A Life

There are a lot of shelters that unfortunately will put the animals to sleep if they are not adopted in a specified amount of time. It's a sad truth that all too often perfectly good pets end up euthanized simply because a family couldn't handle them. These poor dogs and cats just want a home, a family that will take care of them. Don't think that there is something wrong with these animals just because they are in shelters.

The sad fact of the matter is most animals end up in shelters because the owner can't handle them. Too many people get a puppy with the idea that it will be a cute little companion. An adorable fluff ball that will curl up in a lap and snuggle. The hard truth is that a puppy is essentially the same as a sugar filled three year old. Puppies need time and attention. You really want a more worry free pet, adopt an older dog. Adult dogs are too often left shelters and never make it out. They are just as loyal, generally have a little better attention span and can still be trained.

Unconditional Love

I've been around pure bred dogs and there is just something about them that seems almost snobby. Sure they are playful, loyal and loving dogs, but they just don't have the same look in their eye as a rescue. I've seen in my dogs what looks like real gratitude in their eyes.

Dogs are pretty smart - even if I have been around dogs that didn't seem to be running on all cylinders - and they know a good family when they have one. When things are calm, and they want to just cuddle, there is a look of true devotion in their eyes. They see us as their people and they know how bad things were before we took them in.

Now don't think my pups are spoiled to the point that they eat at the table with us. I firmly believe dogs are like small children - they need love, rules and boundaries, discipline and compassion. When one of them gets in to something they aren't supposed to, they get sent to their kennel. After a while, they come out and get loved on.

My rescue dogs are eager to please. They want to learn what is going to make me happy and are open to training. There is lots of positive reinforcement when something is done right and gentle discipline when needed. Never be fulled in to thinking an older dog cannot be trained. It may take more patience on your part, but it can be done.

Personality Galore

When talking to a breeder, they can tell you what to expect from the puppy you are about to take home. When dogs are pure bred, you can generally tell what their personality will be like. With rescue dogs, you can make a guess based on what the breeds might be.

A good example of this would my own rescue, Liebe. She was about eight weeks old when we got her. The shelter said she looked like a Norwegian Elkhound, but also guessed she had Lab in her because of her litter mates. I did research on Elkhounds and found out they are stubborn, hunting dogs used in Northern European regions to hunt moose. I thought for sure I was in for a handful.

As she grew, I could see the stubbornness in her. We would call her name and she would just sit down and stare at us. But she also had quite a few Lab traits. She has the build of a Lab and the fur and coloring of an Elkhound. Sharp, aware eyes, awkwardly long legs, a curly-q tail and ears that flop at the ends. She is active, loves to bark and play but is incredibly gentle and has always loved little kids.

With a rescue dog, you can have any type of goofball that wants nothing more in the world than to make you happy.

When all is said and done, only you will know what sort of pet will be right for your home. Only you can know how much time you are really going to have to devote to a dog. Before you start looking, be honest with yourself about what you want out of your new pet and what you will be able to give. Once you know that much, then visit your local shelter and find a furry family member!


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