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Nice happy puppy vs old shelter dog - where do you stand?

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  • Nice happy puppy vs old shelter dog - where do you stand?

    Do people here (I'm assuming that most here are American) adopt shelter animals a lot?
    I noticed in the last topic (on scams) that people are concerned about finding bona fide puppy breeders.

    But what is the culture concerning shelters? More and more people I know in Holland feel bad about getting a puppy, since there are so many dogs in shelters, that need homes. I am the co-owner of a French Bulldog; I came into his life when he was grown. I wouldn't have bought a puppy; if I ever get a dog, myself, I will probably get one from a shelter.

    Do many people in America feel similarly, or do most buy puppies from breeders?


    (Mind you, I of course love my French Bulldog enormously, and am somewhat sorry I'll never have another one, after he dies. But they have so many problems, I wouldn't want more of these dogs to be bred. Through overbreeding, they have allergies, epilepsy, trouble breathing, eye problems etc.)
    Amazing animal stories at

  • #2
    I proper breeder breeds to avoid those types of health issues. I think most still want puppies but many are more reasponsible then they once were. That being said I did the adoption once, it did not work out and I dont think I will ever do it again, too many shelters not tell everything there is to know about the pet you are adpting. I may go through a breed specific rescue, but I think for th emost part we will only ever own rotties from responsible heathy breeders from here on out.
    The reason dogs are great is they wag their tails, not their tongues.


    • #3
      I understand...It's a pity that this has happened (the unsuccessful adoption.) I guess that can be a downside to adoption - if, as in your story, the shelter doesn't tell everything there is to know about a dog.

      I volunteered at a shelter for some years, and everything that was known about a dog's past was revealed - if only because nobody wanted to see a dog being taken back to the shelter. That's always a very sad occasion.

      Next to the downside of difficult pasts, there is an upside: many people who adopt shelter animals, both cats and dogs, remark at how grateful the animal is. That is so heart warming, every day, that it makes it all more than worthwhile.
      Amazing animal stories at


      • #4
        I work for a shelter and we see a little bit of both....people who come in with only a puppy on their mind and others who will absolutely NOT get a puppy.

        I have noticed that people here are very restless and impatient though and that makes it difficult. Most people come in looking for a specific breed or specific color or not come in for anything and will adopt because of the breed or color of one they see. These are adoption that the people and dog leave and we say to each other "it'll be back".

        We see a lot of returns within 24 to 48 hours too for a variety of reasons. Most of the time the problems it's being returned for are typical and expected of any animal when you take it from a shelter setting where it's been for who knows how long and throw it straight into another home.

        A lot of people don't understand that dogs have feelings too! Going from a home it's been in for years, then into a shelter where it might be for a week or two and then into another home that's completely different than it's first home. I tell people all the time the change after change for a dog is traumatizing....and I believe that it is.

        I for one am an older dog kind of person. Nothing against puppies, but I just don't have the patience for one. On the other hand, I have fostered a handful of adults and about lost my patience with them too....most of it is breaking things the dog had previously been taught (like tug of war--I HATE THAT).

        I'll do what I can for anyone wanting to adopt and give as much information as I can about it. But like I said, it's all so traumatizing and I don't believe the dog you adopt today is going to be the same dog in a couple months.


        • #5
          Good point, DogMom.
          About the dog you adopt not being the same in a few months' time.

          I think there should be some kind of class or at least a folder for people adopting dogs, about what they can expect. Which is sometimes: problems, though mostly I think solvable problems. Many times, it's a great dog that is more appreciative of the love you give it, than a "normal" dog would have been.
          Amazing animal stories at


          • #6
            When we adopt out an adult we try to make it VERY clear that they should expect a big change in time. It's not with all dogs either, some very easily handle the change.

            We get a lot of folks that want to bring their dogs to the shelter to play and interact with the one they are considering adopting. Of course they are welcome to do this, but bringing your dog (even one you've had for many, many years) to a shelter his or her attitude is going to change at the shelter. People don't understand this. With the noises and smells and so on and so forth, it can freak them out and give them a "what the heck" sense. So the meeting between old dog and new dog may not be as smooth as the owner had hoped, or as smooth as it may be (again) in a few weeks time.

            It's like people expect the sun to shine bright during a major hurricane.

            I think the biggest excuse we hear for why people return animals is activity level....either it's too hyper or not friendly and sociable. Ha! Ok need to understand.......too hyper? Sure, he's been locked up in a 3 by 5 chain link kennel for a week or two and you bring him home to a huge house and/or huge yard! Yeah, he's going to jump up and down for joy and spin in circles!!! That desire and need to release pent up energy isn't going away in the 12 hours you've had him there!! And then of course there's the "he's not active". Well, DUH!! He was locked up in a 3 by 5 kennel with very little socialization during the last week or two of his life and now you've taken him to this huge house and/or yard with lots of people wanting to touch him and talk to him and play with him and so on and so forth. He's freaked out!! The 12 hours you've had him at home isn't enough for him to realize "hey, this ain't so bad!!"

            I don't know about other necks of the woods......but around here it seems people are just too lazy and/or expect too much. And it's sad.

            But we try to look at it on the bright side. Really we're only allowed to give the dogs 21 days to get adopted (though some get a lot longer than this--shh, don't tell the boss man). hehe Anyway. The boss looks through paperwork regularly and pulls out everyone who has exceeded 21 days and they are scheduled for euthenasia. But if you adopt a dog on day 20 and then bring it back the next day, his time starts over again so we can give him another 21 days.


            • #7
              On the sad side: in 'my' shelter, some unlucky dogs would stay for months, or even a year...

              But thank God, in Holland the animals are never euthanized (or only in case of special circumstances.) I would not have been able to be a volunteer at a shelter where animals were killed.
              Amazing animal stories at


              • #8
                I think due to all the ongoing awareness adoption of shelter dogs is much higher than what it used to be. However, there is no denying that still a large part of the population would opt for a puppy rather than an old shelter dog.


                • #9
                  I have to tell you - I would love to have a puppy, too. The temptation is very big. But if I lived in a country with kill shelters, I don't see how I could do it, knowing another dog was going to be killed in its place.

                  Or does this sound too extreme?
                  Amazing animal stories at


                  • #10
                    That's probably another thing that will be different for everyone too.

                    I personally could never work for a no kill facility. I think it's cruel. What an awful life!! The shelter next to us is a no kill. They have dogs who stay there for years at a time and they grow accustomed to the shelter life. One in particular has been adopted and brought back 9 times because he just can't function outside his 3 x 5 cage. They had about 6 dogs transported to another shelter and all of them were returned for "aggression". These dogs just got so used to and comfortable with their cages and the employees at the shelter that they freaked out and wouldn't accept anyone or anything else. That happened 3 years ago--they are all still at the shelter here (some adopted and returned).

                    I just think allowing an animal to live out it's life in a shelter setting is just as cruel as someone who chains it out back, going out to do no more than water and feed it. Maybe the occasional walk or fetch. Neither situation is a good life or the proper home setting, in my opinion.

                    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a "kill them all' kind of person. I think they should be given a chance at least. But not years at a time.

                    But, then again, I also live in a very back asswords city where we bring in between 6 and 8 thousand dogs every year.


                    • #11
                      Well, I agree with you that for a dog to live years in a shelter is awful.

                      Happily, dogs that would stay as long as a year were certainly the exception, in our shelter.

                      Two weeks, I think, is an awfully short period. I would constantly be nervous that a dog wasn't going to be adopted within those 2 weeks. And then to know that a healthy animal was going to be killed, would be more than I could take. After all, you do develop a bond with the animals.

                      (Incidentally, I worked with the cats, not with the dogs, though I saw them around all the time, of course.)
                      Amazing animal stories at


                      • #12
                        You do build a bond. It's really hard on us too because the officers who go out and pick up the dogs are also the ones who care for them the time they are in our shelter and they are also the ones who do the euthenasia.

                        On the other hand though, it helps with picking them up. I tell people all the time that I don't want to take your dog. I go above and beyond trying to help them exhaust all other resources before giving their dog up. We see a lot of folks turning their dog in because of the economy and they just can't handle the food purchase right now. We get about 300 lbs of food donated every week (broken/torn bags from local stores) so if food is the reason you're turning your dog in HERE have a 50 lb bag!

                        I think, around here, the longest we've ever managed to keep a dog hidden was 2 months. Each dog gets a pick up ticket wrote up the day they come in. We cannot euthenize it without the ticket so when a ticket gets "misplaced" the poor puppy has to sit in the cage til we find it. :D Shh, don't tell. lol

                        3 weeks isn't a long time but for us we bring in over 100 a week and only have 150 cages. So 10 have to leave every day or we run out of room. It sucks and we look like the bad guys because we do euthenize a lot but we have no choice. Because the law here says all we HAVE to give is 7 days then 150 cages is seen as plenty. We've begged and pleaded for another building but all we get told is "you only have to give each dog 7 days".

                        We've seen a HUGE drop in puppies and kittens since our spay neuter clinic opened last year. Jan 10 compared to Jan 09 we brought in almost 200 fewer animals. So hopefully the numbers will continue to drop.


                        • #13
                          I hope that trend continues, DogMom. Because although I realize that the work you do is heroic, I couldn't do it.
                          Amazing animal stories at


                          • #14
                            I proper breeder breeds to avoid those types of health issues. I think most still want puppies but many are more reasponsible then they once were. That being said I did the adoption once, it did not work out and I dont think I will ever do it again, too many shelters not tell everything there is to know about the pet you are adpting. I may go through a breed specific rescue, but I think for th emost part we will only ever own rotties from responsible heathy breeders from here on out.

                            (Spam links removed)
                            Last edited by LPC; 01-22-2017, 12:40 PM.


                            • #15
                              adopting dogs

                              I know this is an old conversation, but I had something to add.

                              America is different, it is huge and there are a lot of different type of people all over. The more I travel it, cultures of different states (and some cities) is often as diverse as cultures of different countries.

                              I can tell you, here is Austin, Texas, the amount of animal welfare groups that work daily to save the lives of animals is solid. The shelter is on a yearly plan to achieve no-kill status, and the majority of people I know either adopt from the shelter, a rescue, or Craigslist (not puppies). I can not speak for the rest of the nation though!
                              I have 2 humans, 2 dogs, and 2 cats and we all live together HUMANELY (and go through a lot of dog food, let me tell ya).