July 4, 2022
Robin Keough, LUV 4 Animals
BUCKHANNON, WV - Most dogs end up in an animal facility, aka "pound" because of a change in their owners' circumstances, no fault of their own. You can find amazing pure bred dogs, everything from Great Pyrenees to hounds and pitbulls to border collies to chihuahuas. You can find fluffy kittens, sleek cats, calicos or tuxedo cats. Some dogs do end up in the pound because of behavior problems; people give up on their dogs too soon! We see so many dogs relinquished at around one year of age, when they are no longer puppy cute and their uncorrected bad behaviors have become a nuisance. Many of these problems, such as roaming, marking their territory, or aggressiveness towards other dogs, could be mitigated by neutering the dog.
Dogs need socialization and an organized effort at teaching doggie manners 101 and basic obedience. Basic training for a dog can be a fun family project, and everyone needs to be on board with terminology, such as "come" "sit" "stay" and "leave it."
Another reason to adopt from the shelter is cost. Why pay $2000 for a designer mutt, when you can pick out your own mixed breed pup and make up a breed name? How about a Buckhannon Brindle BoxerFoxy? Or a West Virginia Red Tick Houndaweenie?
An adopter from the Lewis Upshur Animal Facility receives a voucher towards spay/neuter, more savings. Adopting a unique hybrid, or mixed breed dog can be a great conversation starter, as in, "I've never heard of a WV Red Tick Houndaweenie." People have such busy schedules, it can be difficult to house train a puppy without a concentrated effort. Luckily, there is good advice available on dog training sites such as The American Kennel Club and Pet Smart.
There are benefits to adopting an older dog; many of them are already house trained and just need to become reacquainted with your house rules and routine. Older dogs may be out of that puppy chewing stage, and if given their own toys, may leave your belongings alone. As an experienced dog owner, I know there are always exceptions and my dogs have trained me to pick up my clothes and shoes. I've heard so many people say, "I want to adopt a puppy to grow up with my baby." Actually, that is a pretty bad idea. A puppy can be too playful and difficult to control and can accidentally hurt a young child, and vice versa. It might be a better option to adopt a young adult dog needing a home. There will still be plenty of years for bonding. Please consider a senior dog. They can form strong bonds and I think they appreciate a second chance at happiness. Everyone deserves a second act, yes? My best dog ever was an old shepherd mix named Grace. We only had one year with Grace, but she was special. Unless you plan to show dogs on a professional level, please adopt, don't shop. So many dogs are bred in horrific conditions.
A Google search of "goldendoodle" or "labradoodle" will result in hundreds of hits, many from beautiful Ohio and Pennsylvania farm country. These are puppy mill puppies, bred with little regard for their health or disposition, they are the new cash crop. If the price looks like a good deal, it probably isn't. Please don't buy from a puppy mill and perpetuate the misery. Adopting a shelter dog is good for your mental and physical health! Get out there and do some walking, talk to other animal people. Adopting a shelter pet can be a boost to your self-confidence; not only will you have a new best friend, but you can be among the uber-cool, the people with enough confidence to strut their stuff with a shelter pup.
Its good karma, too. Last year, even with all the efforts of adoption groups and animal advocacy, one and a half million dogs and cats were euthanized in shelters. Be a hero to one of God's creatures, adopt a shelter pet! The American Kennel Club recognizes that mixed breed dogs have a unique place in our lives and has several categories where they are welcome to compete, including obedience, tracking, and rally (hello WV Red Tick Houndaweenie).
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 15, 2020.