Do you have your heart set on a particular breed or age of dog? Here are some tips from my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker, on how to find your perfect match (including some information that might change your mind about your future pet!
Q: My workout partner wants to adopt a Maltese who is good with children, housetrained and 2 to 3 years old. Where should she go?
A: Start with the website of the national breed club. The American Maltese Association Rescue is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Maltese Association, and it is dedicated to helping down-on-their-luck members of the breed. Its volunteers may also be able to refer your friend to local or regional Maltese rescue groups. She should check local shelters or humane societies for dogs who meet her criteria, and put the word out to friends, neighbors, dog groomers, trainers and veterinarians who may know of dogs in need of homes.
She has one problem, though, and that is that many rescue groups and reputable breeders won’t place toy breeds such as Maltese in homes with young children. Maltese can be fragile and easily injured if accidentally mishandled or dropped by a child. Unless the children in question are responsible teenagers, your friend may be turned down for a dog she wants to adopt.
It’s great that your friend has some specifics in mind for what she wants in a dog. That helps people narrow their choices. But it’s also important to keep an open mind when looking. Getting stuck on a particular breed or age can cause people to pass up the perfect pet without even knowing it.
Rescue group volunteers know these dogs well and will have a good idea of which person or family is the best fit. They may suggest another dog if the one she likes might not be a good choice for her situation. When people go with the process and are open to alternatives, they can find themselves with the perfect dog — one they might never have considered on their own.
Read more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.