Choosing a Shelter Dog

A post by Jodi Lee

I never thought I'd have another dog. I was living alone, just renovated my new place and enjoying my new single status. One major purchase for any new place is the sofa. Finally! I could buy a fabric sofa, which wasn't as expensive as a leather one. When I had my previous dog, I always had a leather sofa, so that dog hair wouldn't stick on it.

However, things didn't go to plan. I started to volunteer at Oasis and was doing some chores at the shelter when I met Mei Mei. She was rescued by a feeder and brought to the kennel when her brother suffered a horrific car accident and ended up with 3 broken legs.

Mei Mei at the kennel

Mei Mei at the kennel

I noticed Mei Mei on one occasion and approached her stall. She was very friendly and excited and started to lick my fingers through the gate. Curious, I went into her stall and was greeted with the most enthusiastic kisses and licks I've ever received from a dog. There wasn't an inch on my face and neck that wasn't covered in dog saliva. I didn't know it then, but I was only my way to regretting my fabric sofa decision.

After a few more weekends of this obvious love and enthusiasm from Mei Mei, Mary and Anita started planting thoughts in my head. Thoughts like...bring her home...look at how much she loves you. Moreover, I also heard she doesn't love everyone. She growled at some potential adopters when they visited. So really, she chose me.

And that's how you choose a dog from a shelter. Getting to know a dog. Visiting the shelter a few times. Maybe walk the dog. If possible, consider a home visit. Bring the dog to your place and see how the dog reacts. Let the family get a feel of what it would be like to have the dog at your home.

Mei Mei enjoying the fabric sofa

Mei Mei enjoying the fabric sofa

Your shelter professional is an important resource, especially if you've never had a dog before. If they are trying to push you to adopt on your first visit to the shelter, be very careful. There are so many factors to consider when choosing a dog, be it from a shelter or from the pound.

Here are just some of them:

  • Size of dog - this is the first and foremost thought on most adopters' minds. Being in Singapore, with most people living in HDB flats, this is no doubt and important factor. But under the Adore program, some medium sized dogs are now allowed in HDB flats. Check with your shelter professional on this possibility.
  • Kids - if you have children, it is important that the dog you choose can get along well with children. A lot of shelter dogs may take some time to warm up, but after a few visits to the shelter will give you a better idea of which dog is most suitable for your family.
  • Energy level - yours and the dog's. Senior dogs might only need 1 walk a day, as opposed to young dogs with higher energy levels, requiring 2 walks a day. 

There are so many other factors to consider when thinking about adopting a shelter dog. Talk to the shelter professional for a dog that will be your new best friend!