I had never adopted a dog before the one have now. My belief system about shelter dogs was based on old, out-dated information. I also had my doubts about my competency as a canine caregiver. But years after setting aside my worries and taking the plunge, I'm now a believer in dog adoption.
Why should anyone adopt a dog from a shelter or humane society? What if the dog you want doesn't like you? What if they get sick right after you adopt them? What if, what if, what if? Any therapist, or good bartender, can flip that negative train of thought and say to you, "what if the sweetest dog in the world who was too much for one person, but a perfect match for you is waiting for you at your local shelter." If you heard that, would you stay on that negative train or jump off it, and go find that dog?
As you can see from the joyful photo, I'm sold on adopting from a shelter. And you'll notice here as well, I embrace the idea of big adult dog adoption too. If you've been thinking about taking that leap, or if you think you might be holding on to out-dated beliefs like me, read about how Cleo here managed to help me change three major beliefs about myself and dogs..
1 - Old Belief: I'm not maternal
I don't have children, and I've never heard a clock ticking about it either. I wondered if I was missing a maternal component, and I worried about my ability to care for an animal. But after adopting my dog, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am crazy maternal. I love on her, can discipline her, and can get up in the middle of the night for her. I wash her bedding, and make her meals, then pick up her poop after inspecting it.
2 - Old Belief: All dogs in shelters are there for a reason, because they're wild and not fit for households.
Man, oh man, could I have been more wrong about this. It makes me cry to think I ever, ever, thought that dogs deserved to be thrown into this situation. This belief deserves to be buried in the 1970's past with all the other tired old stereotypes about shelters, and the pound. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that dogs in shelters are discarded for a million reasons that have nothing to do with their not being fit to be a loving member of your family.
3 - Old Belief: Only get a puppy from a shelter
I had heard that if you did get a dog from a shelter, make sure it's a puppy. I heard this from lots of people that dogs at shelters were unknowns, and came with all sorts of unwanted baggage. With a puppy you can mold it from the start they said, and you'll be sure to have a great dog. Umm, no. Don't get me wrong, puppies are still cute and deserve a home too, but not to the exclusion of all the other available adoptable dogs, including senior dogs. I not only didn't get a puppy but I adopted an adult large shepherd husky dog. Seeing Cleo and choosing to adopt her has been the best decision we ever made.
So what do you think? Have you been changed by a shelter dog? Has adopting a dog caused you to unleash beliefs you thought were true? I'd love to hear your stories! Email me or share in the comments!