A, B, C’s when adopting a Rescue Dog……..

"FIRE" Pit Bull Terrrier (Adult Female) Erie County SPCA-Tonawanda NY

“FIRE ” Pit Bull Terrrier (Adult Female) Erie County SPCA, Tonawanda, NY

Adopting a dog is a big commitment. As per your contract with shelter’s like The Breed Rescue Group, IF for any reason the adoption does not work out due to life changes or whatever, the rescued dog MUST be returned to the group. Please promise them you will do this.

Books can help you learn about the breed. Or go to a breed website and review general information about the breed and/or dogs in general so you have a good idea of what you may expect from your new family member.

Crate is a dog’s safe space. Your new puppy, at any age, is a puppy in a new home. Your adopted, rescued pup has been crate trained. Why not take advantage of this?

Dog’s will be dogs and will behave like, well dogs. Why expect otherwise?

Exercise is absolutely essential for all dogs. If you want your rescued pup to be a good boy/girl in the house provide exercise, exercise, and exercise some more.

Food is scheduled. It is suggested that you feed the pup twice a day, morning and evening. If the dog does not finish within 5 minutes, remove it and provide food at the next meal time. At a new home a dog may skip a meal or two just because. Do not worry. Check out what brand of food is currently being fed. Mix with your choice of food if you want to change. Do this gradually.

Give praise frequently to your pup. Your new pup may already have some house manners. The rest is up to you. A dog wants to be a part of your life, a member of your family.

How you handle your pup is important. Use a calm, firm voice when disciplining. Please remember, spirits can be broken. Never, ever YELL at a rescue. That will scare the dog. A dog will also be aware of your body language and intuitive to your mood.

Adopt-8-PARIS-Pit Bull Terrier+Am Staffordshire Terrier-Baby Female-Home Fur-Ever-Detroit MI

“PARIS” Pit Bull/Am Staffordshire Terrier Mix (Baby Female) Home-Fur-Ever, Detroit MI

Informed rescue volunteers are there to help with the transition. Use them, abuse them, call them if you have a concern.

Just remember, your new family member needs to go outside frequently to toilet.

Keep you new pup safe. Open doors carefully, don’t let him/her get away or get lost.

Love, yes! Your new pup needs lots of love and attention but provide rules first.

Make training a part of your everyday activity. Your pup may have been trained to sit for meals and treats because they look so cute sitting. No really, if he/she is in a sit, they do not jump, bark, chew and usually are looking at you for direction. If a rescued pup is not trained to sit, train your new friend to this basic command.

NO” is way overused. Try using phooey, ick, hey, ugh or whatever. Do you get the idea?

Oh, don’t forget to put Heartworm & Flea & Tick Preventative on your calendar. Heartworm is given monthly. Without protection the consequences can be fatal.

Provide the following when you go to pick up your new pup: (1) collar, (2) leash (3) an identification tag with your name, address and phone number and (4) treats.

Questions, please ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question.

"ROKKY" Shih Tzu (Senior Male) CASA, Camano Isl, WA

“ROKKY” Shih Tzu (Senior Male) CASA, Camano Isl, WA

Remove any potentially dangerous things from your house that may harm a new pup. Do this before you bring your rescued pup home.

Stay in contact with your foster/rescue volunteer. This helps to make it worthwhile for them. Volunteers love to have updates and dog stories about your new rescued pup.

Adopt-6-CASPER-West Highland White Terrier-[Adult Male]-Humane Society for Campbell County, Rustburg, VA

“CASPER” West Highland White Terrier (Adult Male) Humane Society for Campbell County, Rustburg, VA

TOYS, toys and more toys can make everyone’s life easier. If your pet has lots of toys to entertain him/her, they are less likely to chew yours. You can keep at least 2 baskets full and rotate them every week or so. Try to fool the dogs to think they are getting new toys. Use a variety of hard nylabones, rubber toys like kongs and squeaky soft plush, balls, ropes and more. Observe your pup closely at first to see what and how the rescue plays with the toys. This is necessary to keep him/her safe.

Adopt-12-SCARLETT-Dachshund Mix-Chihuahua-Adult Female-Mini Mighty Mutts Rescue-Phoenix AZ

“SCARLETT” Dachshund/Chihuahua Mix (Adult Female) Mini Mighty Mutts Rescue, Phoenix AZ

U know a happy puppy is a joy to behold. Have you ever watched a dog play? A smile has to happen. Pat yourself on the back. U saved a dog by giving him/her a home.

Vet introduction is a good idea. The first time can be a social call. Many rescued dogs have been vetted before adoption.

Water is necessary. Have bowls of fresh water available inside and out at all times.

Xcellent bonding can be accomplished through obedience training. Look for an obedience class that uses positive reinforcement. Try it you might like it! The socialization can be great fun for your pup.

You now can help. Encourage others to adopt a rescue. Just about every breed and mixes are available.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, nap time is good for your pet and you probably need it too.


Grateful appreciation to Gloria Yarina, our blog photographer, who contributed this informative, clever post. To see more of Ms. Yarina’s photographs of dogs, go to: GloriaYarina.com.  Also, pick up her terrific book, which contains more photos, along with witty essays, poems and anecdotes that she wrote with her sister, Fern Goodman:  Captured…The Look of the Dog.  To purchase a copy, contact the authors directly via email thelookofthedog@gmail.com; amazon.com and barnes & noble.


In 2014, there were between 5 to 6 million dogs in animal shelters in the USA; approximately half were euthanized (Source: American Humane Society). Below are just of few of the many dogs now in shelters across the country.  All these dogs are waiting — with hope in their hearts — for YOU.

To find a dog in your area, check out Petfinder.com.

Adopt-1-Kermit-Pomeranian [Adult-Female]-Camano Animal Shelt Assoc.

“KERMIT” Pomeranian (Adult Female) Camano Animal Shelter Assoc. (CASA), Camano Isl., WA

Adopt-4-POCO - Pit Bull Terrier - Young Female - ASPCA-NYC-NY

“POCO” Pit Bull Terrier (Young Female) ASPCA, New York, NY

Adopt-11-BOSCO-Boxer Adult Male - HOPE - Houston TX [Homeless & Orphaned Pets Endeavor]

“BOSCO” Boxer (Adult Male) HOPE [Homeless & Orphaned Pets Endeavor], Houston TX

Adopt-7-NALA-Dachshund-Adult Female-Pet Resource Network Inc - Allegan Michigan

“NALA” Dachshund (Adult Female) Pet Resource Network Inc., Allegan Michigan

Adopt-14-BUDDY-Bichon Frise-Adult Male-South LA Animal Shelter-Los Angeles, CA

“BUDDY” Bichon Frise (Adult Male) South LA Animal Shelter, Los Angeles, CA

Adopt-16-ALLEX-GShepherd-Adult Male - Coastal K9 German Shepherd Rescue- San Diego CA

“ALLEX” German Shepherd (Adult Male) Coastal K9 German Shepherd Rescue, San Diego, CA

Adopt-17-DARLA-Neapolitan Mastiff-Young Female- Big Dogs Huge Paws, Aurora CO

“DARLA” Neapolitan Mastiff (Young Female) Big Dogs Huge Paws, Aurora, CO

Adopt-13-JAX-Rottweiler-Adult Male-MidSouth Animal Rescue League - Memphis TN

“JAX” Rottweiler (Adult Male) MidSouth Animal Rescue League, Memphis TN














Video: Facts and Myths About Adopting a Dog from a Shelter

Video: Pit Bull Finds Home after SEVEN years in a shelter.
Note: When researching this article, we found that most of the dogs waiting in shelters were pit bulls, or pit bull mix. What do our readers think is the reason for this?

Article: Important Tips from the ASPCA for Adopting a Dog from a Shelter

We'd love to get your comments and feedback on this topic and post. To add your comments, scroll to the bottom of the page and "Leave a Reply" (type your thoughts into the text box).

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7 Responses to A, B, C’s when adopting a Rescue Dog……..

  1. Norman W Wilson, PhD January 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    WOW! What a wonderful font of high-end information. Excellent article, Doc.

  2. Gloria Yarina January 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    As a foster volunteer for many years, rescue works. Dogs that leave my house, go home with their new family and never look back. They DO live in the moment and make wonderful companions. I failed three times as a foster mom to find homes for my fosters, so my Brittanys are all rescues, my companions, and the best pack I ever had.

  3. Suzanne Wilson January 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Many great tips for potential dog owners. Good article.

    I think pit bulls get a bad rap from all the horror stories of unprovoked attacks on both children
    and adults. Many people think they are dangerous dogs. They have only heard bad things about them.

  4. Hemlata Vasavada January 22, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    A great compilation from A to Z for those who want to adopt a dog from Humane Society.

  5. Bill Thorn January 22, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Excellent article Patricia! A veritable cookbook of the important aspects of animal ownership. I would say that most everything mentioned applies to cats too.


  6. Marie Grime January 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    I LOVE this article! The photos were wonderful, the points were informative – a few things I didn’t know, and we’ve had nothing but rescue dogs my entire, long adult life.

    Rescue dogs are all that my son has ever had, and he’s great at encouraging his friends and neighbors to have them.

    I was especially interested in the part about keeping in contact with the rescuer. I still have my rescuer Abby’s email address. I doubt she remembers Sally after several years, but I would love her to know how much of a joy our Sally has brought us.

    Your follower Suzanne Wilson makes a great point about the demonization of pit bulls.

    They are greatly restricted here in Miami and it’s a great example of how humans can
    a) screw up a dog breed with mean and shoddy attack training in the name of machoism,
    b) over-breed a dog because they’re popular and profitable with the fear-mongerers, then c) demonize the poor dogs for what man did to them.

    I’m old enough to remember when we did that to shepherds, and you’re hard put to find anything more gorgeous or precious than your average shepherd.

  7. Kathleen Kaska January 27, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    I enjoyed all the pup photos! My sisters all have rescue dogs and they are wonderful pets.

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