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Animal Shelters: How Adopting a Pet Can Make a Difference

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We all want our children to grow up to be responsible adults. At the same time, we want our children to be socially responsible and make a difference in the community around them. So why don’t we look for opportunities to create a win-win situation in both areas: teaching responsibility, and finding ways to help others.

One perfect example in teaching a child to be responsible is by taking care of a family pet. And what better way to support the local community than by adopting the newest family member from an animal shelter or humane society.

Although they are often ignored, animals in local shelters can make perfect pets. Many are already trained and/or housebroken, and have been left by owners who can no longer afford them or don’t have time for them.

If you have decided that a dog would be the best pet for your family, you can certainly find this loyal companion at the local humane society. Start with your child's involvement at the very beginning by letting them be a part of the selection process.

Meeting Your Dog

Before adopting from the humane society, let each member of your family meet the dog. This can build an instant bond within the family, and contribute to the excitement of taking care of this new family member. Be sure to interact with the animal at the shelter, to ensure the dog is a good fit for all of the people in your family. The workers at the shelter can guide you in selecting the best breed for your family.

Bringing Your Dog Home

Dogs who live in shelters are accustomed to loud, busy environments in which they seldom get either exercise or time alone. Consequently, the transition to a new home can prove challenging. Many dog owners find that placing their dogs in crates when they aren’t home can help ease anxiety. Place a puppy training pad in the crate in case your dog has an accident during the day. The crate shouldn’t be used as punishment but rather as a safe place for your your dog while no one is home.

Let your child be responsible for establishing a routine for your dog. Dogs are creatures of habit and shelter dogs are accustomed to routines. Your children can be responsible for walking, feeding, and playing with your dog at the same times every day. Provide your dog with plenty of exercise, which can help burn off nervous energy — this can even be great exercise for the kids!

Although rescuing a dog takes some work and advanced planning, you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you’ve saved a life and brought more love into your family’s home.

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but the world will change for that one animal.”- Author Unknown

Have you ever adopted an animal from the shelter? How do you help support your local animal shelters?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Jane Warren is an animal lover. She has rescued so many that she’s convinced the animal community knows where she lives! Her website,, provides guidance and recommendations for popular pet supplies, like greenies dog treats.

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