Dr. Willard’s is in the celebratory mood, and we urge all our readers to join us in honoring National Pet Appreciation Week. Always held during the first full week in June, this year it falls on June 7-13th. It highlights the need to consider the role our pets play in our lives, and how the addition of a pet can significantly improve the dynamics in a family.
Our own family, the Willards, joyfully recall the day we expanded our family by bringing our very own rescue home. Aspen, our Great Pyrenees was adopted from a wonderful rescue foundation called Big Dogs, Huge Paws. Our furry friend brought so much joy into our lives, that we made it our mission to promote pet rescue foundations when we announced our brand new pet line, Dr. Willard’s Natural Restorative Pet Care® Kit. We pledged to donate $.25 from every bottle sold to national rescues, and we are proud to report that we just cut our first check in the amount of $500 to Big Dogs, Huge Paws.
If you want to bring unconditional love into your household, consider adopting a shelter pet. While it’s easy to walk into any animal store and purchase a puppy, consider all the lost and abandoned animals that would benefit from your generosity of adopting them into your home. It’s very likely that you can find the dog you are looking for with just a little research. And the best part about rescues is that they have likely already lived with a family, so many of them are trained in basic commands, unlike a brand new puppy. Plus, when you adopt from a rescue foundation, you will know that you have saved a life as many of them euthanize pets that are not adopted within a certain timeframe.
Three Important Steps Before Adopting a Shelter Dog
- Research – You may know exactly the kind of breed of dog you want, or you may have no idea. It’s important to research before taking a pet home and making the wrong decision. Think about what kind of dog would fit your lifestyle and your family dynamics. For example, if you have small kids, find out what type of dog would be best to have around children. If anyone in your family has allergies, research what type of breed is hypoallergenic.
- Ask the Right Questions – You may walk into a shelter and fall in love with a dog, but you should first attempt to find out as much information as possible before making a final choice. Talk to the staff at the rescue foundation to see what they may know about the pet. Ask about the pet’s age, any possible signs of disease or behavioral problems. Dogs that come from abusive households can be extra shy, or just the opposite, very aggressive. Try to find out any impressions the staff has made so far of the animal, does it get along well with other pets or rescue visitors? Does it bark a lot, or is rather calm? Any information you can gather will help you make a more informed decision about the dog you bring home.
- Observe the Dog – Most dogs are loveable, and it’s hard not to take every single one home. However, take the time to first observe the dog from a short distance without approaching just to see how it acts in the rescue. When approaching the pet, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends to check for signs of friendliness by seeing if the dog wags its tail, paws or runs up to the front of the kennel; dogs that are more shy tend to stand in the back. Stay away from aggressive dogs that growl or freeze. Ask the staff if you can take the dog for a walk, or come back the next day to interact on a few occasions before taking it home.
Notable Pet Rescue Foundations
Below are the most highly rated pet rescue foundations that commit themselves to connecting lost or abandoned pets with families.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – This is one of the most well known organizations that promote the welfare of animals. They are also one of the oldest foundations in the Western hemisphere, operating since 1866! Not only do they work around the country to rescue pets, but they also fight for the establishment of humane pet laws.
- Big Dog Ranch Rescue – Located in Florida, this pet charity was founded in 2006, and has currently become one of the leaders in promoting animals rights through their compassionate rescue practices and programs set out to educate about animal welfare. They are the biggest no-kill dog foundation in the Southeastern United States.
- Big Dogs, Huge Paws – This foundation looks out for all the big dog rescues. They medically assess all dogs, and then make sure they get placed in families that will make a good fit. They offer educational classes for families that choose to adopt big dogs to make sure they know how to properly take care of them.
Dr. Willard’s wants you to take the time to appreciate your pet during this week, and consider whether adopting a rescue animal is right for you and your family. We would love to hear how a rescue changed your life, share with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages.