It has been exactly five mounts since we brought Louie, our 2-year-old Bichon Poodle, home. And our lives couldn't be more different today. We grew as a couple, we are more calm, more loving and above all, we are a family. Now, adoption isn't for everyone and you shouldn't take it lightly. If you are asking yourself 'Why should I adopt an animal', the answer is simple. Because you'll save a life.Each year, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet.The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it. Keep in mind that most animals who end up in shelters are there due to human error and not due to any fault of their own. Some of them have been abused or haven't felt love and kindness and have no reason to trust a human. Adopting a pet is hard work but at the same time, it is magnificently rewarding. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychological, emotionally and physically beneficial to their companions. Caring for a pet can offer a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness. And when you adopt, you can also feel proud of helping an animal in need!
We decided to adopt a pet once I moved to Los Angeles from Europe to live with my Army husband. The sense of loneliness due to leaving my family and friends was unbearable at times and I had a desire for a loyal companion to keep me company while I adjusted to my new environment. We weighed all pro's and con's and came to a conclusion that a younger dog with calm nature would be a perfect fit for us. The entire process of adoption, from the moment we started looking until we brought our dog home, lasted around a month and a half. Below you will find tips from one doggy parent to another on how to make this task as easy for you and your loved ones as possible.
1. Forget about websites like http://www.adoptapet.com/. Most of the animals on there are from people who adopt and animal from a shelter, usually a young one, and than try to sell it for profit. Same goes for all ''associations'' like Yorkie (insert a name of the bread you like) Rescue Association and similar. These so called organizations all sell animals for abnormal prices like 500$ which seems pretty unreasonable if the goal is to offer these animals homes as soon as possible. I wouldn't mined donating the money I have, of course, but I would rather spend 500$ on the animal I bring home than pay to have it because of the simple fact that in this case I am not adopting an animal any more but purchasing it.
2. Figure out what size and personality you are looking for in a dog. This is the key. Because you will get easily overwhelmed once you start visiting your local shelters. We agreed on a small dog with calm personality due to the fact he will mostly remain in house.
3. Google all your local SPCA shelters and start with kill shelters first. We went to around 8 shelters before adopting Louie. You can check out below some of LA based shelters we went too:
- North Central Shelter:
Monday & Holidays: Closed
A relatively small but clean shelter located close to the Downtown LA area. There wasn't a big selection of small dogs when we were there, which is sort of a good thing. An empty shelter is the goal and these guys are doing an amazing job to make that happen.
- Inland Valley Humane Society Humane Society & S.P.C.A
Kennel & Adoption Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 A.M. - 5:30 P.M.
Wednesday: 10:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.
This is one of my favorite shelters. The canals are super clean and the staff looks super professional. We actually found 3 dogs we liked but the adoption fell through as the dogs were claimed by their owners or the date for adoption was moved making them available sooner so they were adopted by someone else. Nevertheless, we recommend Inland Valley for anyone looking for big or small dogs, cats, rabbits. There is even a crazy rooster for those of you who like extreme sports!
- Baldwin Park Animal Care Center
Monday - Thursday: 8am-7pm
We would urge anyone looking to adopt in LA area to go to this shelter first. Unfortunately not because it is a good place to go but because these animals need you the most. The shelter is by any standards absolutely disgusting. Animals are kept in horribly bad conditions during long periods of time. The smell alone can make you puke your guts out. We have seen dogs sit in their own poop and piss, looking miserable, unhealthy and unhygienic. I started crying upon our visit and my husband, a hard core police guy, had to walk out due to a headache caused by smell. PLEASE GO HERE FIRST AND HELP THESE ANIMALS.
Animal Viewing Hours:
Tuesday - Friday: 11:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Saturday: 10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
We have adopted our dog Louie at SEAACA. Louie is a two-year-old Bichon Poodle who looked pretty miserable at the shelter but blossomed when we took him home. I warmly recommend SEAACA due to a nice selection of dogs and pleasant staff. SEAACA is an indoors shelters so all the animals are inside. We just fell in love with Louie the moment we saw him and placed ourselves on the list for adoption. Luckily we were first. We came at the exact time as specified two weeks later and he was ours. Louie was neutered and vaccinated at the shelter and they kept in touch post adoption which I found to be very professional. There is only one think I would remark as not meeting my expectations and that is that Louie wasn't washed pre-surgery so we had to wait additional two weeks after to wash him. He was fairly stinky by that time.
4. It is very important to manage your expectations before getting excited about a dog you will potentially bring home. Sometimes adoption lists don't work in your favor and if the animal is not available immediately for adoption don't get your hopes up until your sign that paper. Adoption fee at shelters can vary and it usually goes from 50$ to 150$. There are numerous discount options for military, elderly and disabled so make sure you ask before hand.
5. When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. Ask about vaccinations he has received or medication he needs to take (our dog had to take pills for two weeks due to a canal cough he caught while at the shelter. Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case. We were lucky in this regard as our dog was house trained and immediately went to the bathroom outside the house.
6. People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Keep repeating his/her new name until he/she gets used to it and limit yourself to hugs and slow hand gestures as you don't know if your dog was ''trained'' with punches and roll up papers prior. Louie started responding to his new name and commands around 4 weeks later.
7. Don't forget to cheap and register your new furry friend as well as purchase a collar with your contact details.
There are plenty of animals to choose from at most shelters. They come in every age, shape, size, coat color, breed mix and you can find purebreds at shelters as well. Adopting an animal means adding a new member to your family so treat them as such and you will be rewarded with unconditional love and compassion from your furry friend.
Happy adoption and if you have any questions regarding adoption don't hesitate to contact me!
Louie & Mommy