3 min read

Pooch Placement: Choosing the Right Adoption Shelter


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Whether you are looking to adopt, or unexpected circumstances have you needing to surrender, the shelter you pick matters! Different shelters deal with their dogs in different ways. Understanding more about the type of shelters out there will help you to be able to decide where to go, whether you are adding or subtracting from your family. 

At no time has dog adoption been more popular than now. This comes as no surprise, as dog overpopulation is well documented on social media. If you're thinking of adding a new-to-you furbaby to your home, there are some things you should keep in mind when picking a shelter to adopt from. For those needing to surrender an animal due to unforeseen occurrences, the type of institution that you leave your pup at will greatly determine how likely your four-legged friend is able to find a happy new home. Shelters are known by a few different labels, which we will now delve into.

Kill Shelters

It's not too shocking that most establishments will not advertise “Kill Shelter” on their front doors. The more tasteful title that indicates a shelter is not against using euthanasia is “Open Admission”. This means that all surrenders are taken in, with absolutely no screening process necessary. All sick, aggressive and old dogs are accepted. These shelters get crowded fast, and to make space for new animals, those that have been around for too long are often put down. 

If you're looking to adopt, an open admission shelter has dogs who need help the most, but are likely to come with little to no background information. This makes these types of adoptions riskier. In the unhappy event that you need to surrender your dog, an open admission shelter would probably be your last choice, as most owners do not like the idea of euthanasia being a possibility.

Low Kill Shelters

These institutions are known as “Limited Admission” shelters. Appointments are needed to surrender a dog, sometimes being booked over a month in advance. Because these places save euthanasia for extreme cases of sickness or dangerous behavior, they tend to have less space. At the appointment, you will be asked many questions about the dog’s background and health history. Those wishing to adopt from these shelters will also need an appointment and will have to qualify before being allowed to adopt an animal.

No Kill Shelters

No Kill Shelters are the most elite of them all. They are also known as “Limited Admission” shelters, however, they are likely to openly advertise their no-kill policies. The facility will most often have no euthanizing equipment on site. Dogs that are being turned in will face a rigorous screening process. Dogs deemed difficult to re-home will be rejected, as the goal of these shelters is to help dogs find forever homes. If a dog that is surrendered turns out to be a problem animal, they will have to be transferred to another shelter that conducts euthanasia. 

If you're looking for a healthy, happy animal that comes with extensive information, a no kill shelter is probably best for you. They take matching a dog to an owner seriously, and will go the extra mile to ensure that you will be good to the dog and that the dog will fit in with your lifestyle.

Making the Choice

Reputable shelters have no problem being open with their policies. If a shelter is hesitant to answer your questions, you may not want to deal with them further. The more that a shelter is able to tell you about the dogs it houses, the better chance you have of finding a good match for your family. Temperament testing is one way that many shelters assess rescue dogs. These tests help determine whether an animal is shy, aggressive, playful or fearful. Knowing a dog's behavioral tendencies can give potential owners a good idea whether it'll be a good fit or not. On the other end of the scale, if for some reason, you have to surrender your dog you want to be sure you are placing them where they have the best chance at being re-homed.

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© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.