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The Complete Guide to Adopting a Dog

Because dog adoption is a little more than just picking out a dog at the pound nowadays.

Dear Moe, it is hard to say if I rescued you, or you rescued me.

You wake up one morning and you want a dog! Great! 

But now what?

Adopting a dog has changed as technology has advanced. Now instead of going to the local pound to get a dog, you can go online and look at hundreds of adoptable dogs. But how do you apply? And what are the things that they don't tell you about adopting a dog?

Do your homework.

The first thing on your list should be to collect information about your new doggy friend. Where do you start?

Find an adoption agency. Start by searching in the state that you are living in. Some adoption agencies will only operate in certain states, so it is important to make sure that you are looking at the right one before getting attached to a furry friend. Some adoption agencies, such as Save one Soul, bring dogs up from the southern United States to the northern United States. It is also important to make sure that the adoption agency has a good reputation. 

To narrow down your search, it is always a good idea to check if there is anything that could potentially stop you from getting a dog. This includes, family, roommates, leases, and laws. If you are living with other people such as family members or a roommate, it is always good to communicate with them first and check to make sure that it is okay for you to add another furry roommate to your living situation. If you have a rental agreement, check the lease to see if there is a pet addendum, or an additional agreement that needs to be signed to own a pet on your property. Some apartment communities have breed restrictions, which is important to note when you search for your dog. Local dog laws can include licensing, vaccination, leash laws, the number of dogs a person can own, and other situations depending on the state.

After you have done research concerning your environment, the next step is to look at your bank account. Do you have enough money to support a dog? Most adoption agencies will ask about your employment history and if they can contact your employer. They are not doing it to be mean, they want their dogs to go to their forever homes. For the first year you get a dog, some websites give an estimate of $1000-$1500, and every year after can be around $500-$1000. This does not include the taco costume you had to get your dog because his name is Moe and Moe's is the relative of Taco Bell and it's a funny pun. It also does not include accidents that may happen. My cousin once had a thousand dollar dog, not because she cost them a thousand dollars, but because she fell off the couch and broke her leg. 

Lastly, research the dog breed. If you find a dog that you love, fantastic! Take a moment, step back, and Google their dog breed. Find out if the space you have to offer them is appropriate for their breed. Can a big dog live in an apartment? Yes, but it depends on the breed. Careful research and consideration to determine if your new friend needs a fence, a backyard, or just a walk around the apartment complex and a couch (I am talking about pugs, the couch potatoes of dogs) will help you determine if this is the friend for you. 

Fill out an application.

You found the dog and you did your research! It looks like a perfect fit! 

Now what?

If you are looking at an adoption agency through a website, there should be a place to fill out an application. If you have filled out job applications before, this part will look familiar. Do not be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help. 

Some things you may be asked are: if there are other pets in the house, if other people live in the house, what is your daily routine like? These questions are asked to characterize you for the adoption agency. They want to know about you, about your home, and about where in the world they are sending their dog to. 

Another question that will be on there is the contact information for your landlord and your vet. It is best at this point to give your landlord a call and update them on your situation, and let them know that you are adopting a dog. If you do not have a vet because you are a first time dog owner that is okay. When I adopted my dog, my husband called the vet that we chose and explained the situation. He also asked them if we could put them as a contact for our application and also if successfully adopted, we would set up an appointment with them in two weeks.

It is also possible that you need personal references! These are two or three people who can speak about how great you are as a person and how awesome you would be as a dog parent. What you can do on your end is to remind this person to check their email or voicemail in a timely manner. 

Prepare for your interview.

Your application went through, your references have been contacted, the dog of your dreams is within reach! 

What's next?

You may have to participate in a phone interview. The phone interview may last up to an hour and will help the adoption coordinator learn more about you as a dog parent. Some of the questions will be the same as the application. It is important to remember to be yourself. 

Just be yourself.

I remember for my interview, the coordinator said that our little guy had anxiety and I said, "We are no stranger to anxiety." If you can tell a personal story, great! Speak from experience. I have experience with dogs with anxiety from my family's dog, who broke out of a crate because they were so anxious and tried to find me by tracking me through my teddy bear (they got to the door). 

Another thing you can prepare are questions for your interviewer about your furry friend. Some questions you can ask are: do they like to snuggle? What is their favorite toy? What dog food do they currently eat? Are there any behaviors I should know about? How are they around dogs or children?

The last thing you need to remember is to relax. You got this.

Prepare for your furry friend.

Your furry friend is on their way! What do you have to get? How do you prepare?

Just how many tennis balls do you need?

The first thing you need to do is fill out the adoption contract. The adoption contract is the last step you need to complete that is a binding contract that basically states that you are going to love and support your dog for the rest of their life.

Next step is to get dog supplies! 

This was my favorite part of the process besides meeting Moe (more on that later). In the interview and afterward, you should be provided with a list of things to make your furry friend happy in your home. You don't need to spend $100 on Ugg dog pajamas (unless you want to) to make them happy. Sometimes, all dogs need are a couple of chew toys, a puzzle toy, treats, and a ball. It differs from dog to dog. For example, Moe does not chase tennis balls, but he has learned to play with puzzle toys. Remember, you can always pick up more supplies later.

What you need from the start is a dog collar, a leash, a crate, dog food, and bowls. Dog collar sizes depend on the dog's weight and come in all different shapes and sizes. Crates also have specific sizes based on the dog, so it is important to communicate with the agency before buying one. Finding out what dog food your dog is currently eating and if it is the best for them is key to a healthy dog. Dog bowls also come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. 

I would recommend that you get a rewards card to the store where you get your dog's food from. It will save you money that you could be spending on treats for your dog. 

It is also important to have dog bags to pick up dog poop. If you do not have a bag of bags in your household, poop bags for dogs come in rolls of a variety of different shapes and colors. Some even clip onto the leash!

Accidents happen. Dog pee does happen. It is important to prepare for these situations ahead of time. You can find pet safe dog cleaners for wood floors, carpets, and furniture in your store's cleaning supply aisle. 

Prepare for snuggles!

Now that you have the world's best snuggler, what adventures will you go on? Where will you go? Does your new best friend want to binge-watch the next season of Black Mirror or go on long walks on the beach?

The choice is yours.

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