Happy Tails Newsletter: April & May 2019


Happy Tails Newsletter

April & May 2019


April Showers May Bring Flowers!

Spring has sprung and here at DAWG we’re getting ready for all that comes with spring: puppies!

The beautiful works of art from the attendees of The Painted Cabernet wine and Paint fundraiser for DAWG!

The beautiful works of art from the attendees of The Painted Cabernet wine and Paint fundraiser for DAWG!

We have had a number of puppies to come meet! The Aussie Pups rescued by Aussie Rescue after being abandoned in the desert and were brought to DAWG for medical treatment have all found homes. Oliver, the little 6-week-old mutt who was taken from his mom and the rest of his liter way too early is also happily living with his new family. Moose who was rescued from a dumping grounds in Mexico in a dried out river bed, and brought to DAWG is still at DAWG also has a loving new family! Otis & Gus, German Shepard/ Belgian Malinois pups went home as well! If you’re in the market for a puppy, keep your eye on our website and be sure to check in with us! It also never hurts to submit an application in advance, even without knowing the dog. That way when a dog comes in that would be a great match for your family and lifestyle, we can call you and start the adoption process! We also have an adoption wish list, where we will give you a call if a specific breed or age of dog comes in. To join the wish list, reach out to the DAWG office and we will be happy to add you!

Kennel Manager Kylie taking Pandora to her first day of school! 6 dog training sessions were donated by one of our wonderful volunteers, Megan McCarthy. Pandora is adoptable at DAWG! For more information email adopt@sbdawg.org.

Kennel Manager Kylie taking Pandora to her first day of school! 6 dog training sessions were donated by one of our wonderful volunteers, Megan McCarthy. Pandora is adoptable at DAWG! For more information email adopt@sbdawg.org.

In other news, DAWG had an amazing adoption event hosted by the Inn at East Beach on April 30th. We were celebrating national adopt a pet day together as well as celebrating The Inn at East Beach becoming a pet-friendly hotel! We couldn’t be more excited about the partnership with them in an effort to help us find our dogs homes! One dog was adopted from the event, and we hope to hold more adoption events at the Inn in the future!

We had another adoption event at Eat Drink Live Goleta on May 4th that went wonderfully! A huge thank you to the organizers and to Kona ice for the special dog flavored snow cones our pups enjoyed at the event!

We also helped some local girl scouts earn their pet care badges! They came to help us and were ready to work! They helped stuff kongs, did dishes and folded laundry, made cards for the dogs, and learned the do’s and don’ts of interacting with new dogs! It was a blast for everyone. We are also very thankful for the generous donation the Girl Scouts of America made to DAWG!

We are always in complete shock and awe about the generosity of the Santa Barbara Community. Places like The Painted Cabernet, who held a fundraiser for us to help us with our overhead are what gives us the ability to fulfill our mission! Also, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for a volunteer of DAWG, Megan McCarthy. She won 6 training sessions for a dog through K-nine Solutions, and donated it to us! She is an incredible volunteer and regularly makes donations for things we’ve needed like office chairs, and dog training. If that wasn’t enough, she is also a very hard working volunteer who is not afraid of the harder jobs! Thank you so much, Megan! Additionally, an amazing couple brought us a few toy easter baskets for the dogs, and another family donated a plush car dog bed! We were touched by this thoughtful gesture that really improves the quality of life for these dogs and helps with their enrichment! Every person that comes to donate towels, blankets, toys, and everything else is a godsend! We’re so grateful for the donations and support of our mission. A huge thank you to everyone who supports DAWG! Bringing in old blankets or towels, the little stuff goes a long way to help so much for each dog! Thanks for all you do to help us find all dogs their loving forever homes.

As a non-profit, we operate exclusively off the generosity of our community. We couldn’t provide the love and care we do for our dogs without the support of the amazing people and businesses in our community like The Painted Cabernet, The Inn at East Beach, The Girl Scouts of America, Meghan McCarthy, and The wonderful couple who donated the dog bed car, and dog toy easter baskets! If you’d like to make a donation to DAWG to help us keep the tails wagging, you can make a monetary donation here, or if you’d like to donate food or other items we need please check out our shelter donation wish list.  If you’re a local business who would like to host a fundraiser or adoption event please reach out to us at info@sbdawg.org!

Sid riding in style while helping out in the office. Sid is urgently looking for a foster home! Please give the dog office a call for more information, or reach out by email to adopt@sbdawg.org

Sid riding in style while helping out in the office. Sid is urgently looking for a foster home! Please give the dog office a call for more information, or reach out by email to adopt@sbdawg.org

Keep an eye on our calendar to be aware of upcoming events, and make sure to follow us on social media to see new dogs, training tips, and pictures of cute pups! We also keep the website updated with any new dogs that come in. Remember, every time we adopt out a dog we bring in a new one so we’re always at capacity! We have a number of new dogs to meet right now and we’d like to warmly welcome you to stop by the shelter anytime to say hi to your new best friend, or check them out on our website! If you’re not interested in adoption at the moment, we’re always looking for foster homes for our senior and medical dogs. The more dogs we can put into foster, the more lives we can save!  We’re incredibly blessed to be a part of such a beautiful, supportive community and we want to thank every supporter, donor, volunteer, and advocate for helping us support our mission to reduce the rate of euthanasia in Santa Barbara County!

Top Dogs!


Come Volunteer with us!

We always need help, walking dogs, cleaning kennels and anything in between! We have something for everyone.

We hold a bi-monthly open house on the second Saturday of every month and the fourth saturday of every month! Sign up for the next orientation date online below!


Volunteer News

Volunteer Lucy playing with 6-week-old Puppy Oliver on the DAWG lawn. Oliver is adoptable at DAWG for more information email adopt@sbdawg.org

Volunteer Lucy playing with 6-week-old Puppy Oliver on the DAWG lawn. Oliver is adoptable at DAWG for more information email adopt@sbdawg.org

This month our volunteers of the month are a dynamic duo! Bill and Wendy Rodgers are an amazing couple who come once a week to do everything under the sun at DAWG! Bill does so much maintenance for us, and he’s the first person we call when something needs fixing! He fixes our broken fences, builds rain covers, fixes all the gates, and so much more! Wendy is also a dream to have around! She took on the massive task of organizing our storage space, and it looks incredible! She also walks dogs and helps in the office. We’re so grateful to them for all the work they do to support our mission, and all the time and effort they put in to help these dogs! They’re the dream team!

As a reminder, we added additional spaces to each volunteer orientation! We also added an additional orientation to each month and more dog training class dates. Training classes are now available on Sundays at 10 am and 11 am. We will now offer an orientation on the 4th Saturday of the month at 10 am in addition to the 2nd Saturday of the month at 10 am! You can sign up for an orientation date here, and the training classes here!

We’d also like to remind all our volunteers that we hold a pack walk every week on Wednesday’s at 10:00 am. The pack walks also function as intermediate volunteer training classes, if you’re new to the pack, and still in training! Please join us on Wednesdays for a fun and enriching experience for the dogs.  

DAWG Volunteer Pam Lombardo and Nashville at the adoption event he found his forever home at!

DAWG Volunteer Pam Lombardo and Nashville at the adoption event he found his forever home at!

We’re always looking for volunteers to come and be advocates for our dogs and help us transport them to events! We’re also looking for volunteers to help at adoption events! We have been doing a lot more in recent weeks and have more planned for the future, we’d love to see some new faces join us in our work to get all the dogs into loving homes!

As always we’d love to see you come to help walk dogs, help in the office, help with grooming the pups, do maintenance, and give tours and answer questions about our dogs on tours for potential adopters. If you’re interested in any of these volunteer jobs please let the office know! Also, we’re always looking for volunteers to take pictures and videos of the dogs at the shelter and at events! If you’re interested in helping out with photography, please reach out to the office for more information.

It can’t be said enough how grateful we are for our volunteers. The tireless, selfless work that they do in support of our mission to represent the population of all homeless dogs regardless of breed, age, gender, or disability goes above and beyond the call of duty! We cannot thank our volunteers enough for all that they do. If you’d like to join the team, we would love to have you! Our next orientation is at 10 am on Saturday, May 25th, 2019. You can sign up online here, or if you have any questions about volunteering with DAWG please call the office and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. We hope to see you at the shelter soon!


Adoption Highlights

March 2019

We’ve been having amazing luck with finding one of a kind adopters for some of our long term residents! We're blessed by a community that sees a dog in need and responds with, “How can I help?” Below are some of the highlights from our adoptions in March! We hope to keep this energy going for the rest of the year! We had a total of 12 finalized adoptions and 2 dogs go into long term foster homes in March! We took in 10 new dogs as well, so if you’re in the market for a new best friend come by and we’re happy to introduce you! April and May have also shaped up to be spectacular and we’re so excited about our momentum!


Tasha is a very special girl who had been at DAWG since 2014! She is a medical dog with a leaky bladder that makes house training next to impossible. If that wasn’t hard enough, she had behavior issues as well. She was very fearful of new people and felt that she had to protect herself from her perceived threats! She had been fostered by a long time DAWG volunteer and employee, DeAnn Turner who helped her come out of her shell so much and helped teach her that the world isn’t as scary as she thought it was. She’s still working on learning this but her new mom is a truly one of a kind adopter who is willing to take on her challenges and continue to help her progress!

Tasha’s new mom came to DAWG frequently for several weeks to spend time with Tasha and to work with her and DeAnn, and DAWG staff to get Tasha comfortable and to build up a healthy trusting relationship between them. Tasha fell in love as much as her new mom did. After 6 years in the shelter, Tasha had finally found her forever home. There wasn’t a dry eye at the shelter while Tasha took her freedom ride. She finally has her happy tail! Since getting adopted Tasha has been thriving. She’s doing excellent in the home environment, despite having lived at the shelter for years! DAWG Employee DeAnn fostering her on the weekends had already acclimated Tasha to the home environment so her adjustment was a breeze! Here’s what her new Momma had to say about her: Tasha is my world and I'm pretty sure I'm hers. I'm not sure who rescued who!! We take several walks a day  - she is getting a little braver so we can walk further. Her favorite game is chase around the coffee table. She gets so excited, with her little tail wagging and barking at me - she even plays with her toy. She loves to cuddle and we do a lot of that. 

We are very happy and content. We also want to thank everyone at DAWG for all your support.


Bruce is the biggest, sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. He had a serious medical condition called “FCE,” Fibrocartilaginous Embolism; a condition that causes the acute death of part of the spinal cord, caused by the embolus of fibrocartilaginous material. He has trouble walking because of the damage to a portion of his spinal cord. He walks a little funny and hops more than walks but he truly doesn’t let it stop him. He will flop, stumble, and roll his way to wherever he wants to go! He’s 98 pounds of pure love. He came to us from the Santa Maria Shelter where he was adored by the staff and volunteers. His condition is untreatable and is permanent and they were looking for a rescue to take on his needs and find him a home. He won us over with his incredible personality and we took him in! We were looking for a unicorn adopter to take him home, not only is he a Pittie, not only is he 98 pounds, but he is partially handicapped too! Not the easiest dog in the world to find a home for.

He was with us for a few months and was a great addition to DAWG. He was just so happy all the time! He quickly became a staff favorite. His new family came by and saw him and they knew he was the one for them. He was adopted and is happily living with his new family, their kids, and his new dog brother. Here’s what his new family had to say about him: Bruce is an incredible dog!!! We simply can’t believe he was ever at the county shelter or even at DAWG for so many months without someone scooping him up. We feel so very lucky!!! He is a very special family dog for us: He’s smart, loving, extremely gentle, eager to learn and seemingly happy as can be. He has easily settled into the spoiled dog life with his “brother”, Banjo the labradoodle, and all the neighborhood dogs and kids too. He can often be found lying on his back, in the grass, sunbathing with a toy in his mouth, all while sound asleep. We’ve tested him in many ways and he always passes with flying colors. You can take his bone from him, interrupt his dinner, make him wait for treats, introduce him to new dogs.... and he is reliably gentle. He even tolerates our backyard chickens and tortoise with little issue. He fits right into our backyard full of critters with ease and joy. His disability doesn’t slow him down much. I’ll admit I was somewhat expecting a large lap dog. He is a snuggler, but he can also be rambunctious and gets going excitedly like a puppy from time to time. He’s been known to buck like a bronco and can jump over some decent sized boulders and steps when he’s feeling good. Many thanks to DAWG for bringing our family this gentle giant!


Sir Duke came to us as a little puppy! He was very loved by his previous owners but he was born with a very serious, and very expensive medical condition. Sir Duke needed OCD Lesion Surgery in both of his front shoulders. He was purchased from a breeder as a puppy and as he was 9 months old when his family reached back out to the breeder about the condition. The breeder was unwilling to help them with the medical costs or take him back. His previous owners paid for the first of the surgeries, but the cost of the second in addition to the following medical treatments and care he would need was too much for them. They reached out to DAWG, and we offered to help them with the cost of the surgery but Sir Duke was also a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy and when they adopted him as a puppy they didn’t realize what it would mean to own a breed with that much energy. They thought that DAWG could find him a home better suited to his needs!

When he came to us, there was absolute puppy fever! There were many fantastic applicants but he could only go home with one family. His new family came by or called every day to check in on him and spend time with him. While he loved everyone, he had a truly special bond with this family. We were looking for an adopter who would foster him through his recovery while we pay for the surgery and the immediate follow-up costs. We found that family and they were absolutely dedicated to getting him healthy and taking him to his numerous veterinary appointments at DAWG and other local veterinary clinics for surgeries, aftercare, and check-ups. They also did an amazing job of providing aftercare. He is very happy with his loving new family. After a four-month process of the surgery and aftercare, he was finally adopted!

We’re so happy for Sir Duke and his new family and it’s fantastic seeing him run and play like he always wanted to! Here’s what they had to say about him: Sir Duke is doing great! He is full-on showcasing his adolescent athletic prowess as a one-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer should. He has made a remarkable recovery from his multiple shoulder surgery operations and recently his surgeon cleared him for normal physical activity. Aside from Sir Duke's natural bird obsession, he loves fetching sticks at the beach on almost a daily basis. He is now able to run for extended periods of time without showing any signs of soreness and is always up for more play time. Sir Duke likes to be independent but when his attention is directed he loves to please and learn new tricks. Overall Sir Duke is finally experiencing his life as he should, pain-free and with plenty of loving and adventure!


In Loving Memory of Scooter

Just this side of heaven is a place called The Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.


Dog Stung by a Bee?

Here’s What You Should Know:

Article orignally posted on the Taste Of the Wild Blog


Bees (and wasps and hornets) are helpful to the environment, which is why we plant bee-friendly gardens replete with nectar-filled blossoms to attract them. But to most dogs, bees are not so helpful! Bees won’t hesitate to sting any pet that noses about, paws at or otherwise disturbs their crucial pollinating work. For pets, especially those dogs who can’t leave well enough alone, it’s a painful way of being told to “buzz off.”

Pain, however, can be the least of the worries for some dogs. Bee stings may lead to a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that can lead to shock and even death. Here’s what you need to know when curiosity stings the pet.

Signs of Trouble

Curious dogs are often stung on the face or in the mouth, resulting in a flurry of yelping and pawing at the muzzle or other affected areas. Other signs can range from mild to severe, depending on the location of the sting, the number of stings, and if your dog has an allergy to the bee venom.

Lucky dogs will get by with just a local reaction: redness, mild swelling, heat and potentially itching at the sting site. This usually goes away on its own within a day or so.

Signs of a potentially serious reaction usually develop within 10 to 30 minutes of the sting and include swelling of the eyes and face, which can lead to difficulty breathing.  Other signs include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and collapsing.

Serious signs can develop quickly, so it’s important to watch your dog and be prepared to seek veterinary care immediately. In rare instances, these signs may occur 12 to 14 hours after the sting.

Bees, Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets

Are all stings the same? Not exactly. Bees have a barbed stinger that detaches from the bee and remains in the pet’s skin. For several minutes after the sting, the venom sac on the stinger can continue to pulsate, injecting venom into the area. Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets (which are specific types of wasps), however, don’t have barbed stingers. They retain theirs and can sting multiple times. This can be especially problematic if your dog uncovers a wasp nest in the ground, because the stings can increase exponentially in number.

Treating Mild Cases

For bee stings, if you can find the implanted stinger, remove it by scraping a credit card along the skin. Avoid using tweezers, because you could inadvertently squeeze the venom sac, forcing more venom into the skin.

For both types of sting, help reduce swelling by applying a cool compress to the area, made by wrapping a towel around ice or a bag of frozen vegetables. You can also mix baking soda with water to create a paste that can be applied to the skin to help neutralize the acidic venom. If possible, bandage the area to prevent your dog from licking the paste.

Do not give your dog any medication without consulting your veterinarian first. If you’re concerned about your pet, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Severe Allergic Reactions

If your dog experiences more severe signs, such as facial swelling or difficulty breathing, it’s important to get to the veterinarian as soon as possible.  Depending on your dog’s condition, your pet may need to be hospitalized and the veterinarian may administer medications such as antihistamines, steroids and epinephrine as well as intravenous fluids and oxygen.

Future Stings

For pets that have a history of severe allergic reactions to bee stings, your veterinarian may recommend keeping an EpiPen (an epinephrine automatic injector) on hand. However, an EpiPen must be properly dosed to the size of your pet. Although the EpiPen Jr. delivers a smaller dose, it may still be too much for small dogs and cats. Talk to your veterinarian about options for your pet.


Training Corner


Dog Training Classes!

The Santa Barbara Humane Society offers a huge range of dog training courses. Some of the classes they offer are Puppy training, Basic Manners, a Tricks Class, and more! They also offer dog socials and socialization classes. It’s an incredible resource in the community, as they have a number of wonderful postive reinforcement, certified dog trainers that can answer questions as well as provide 1 on 1 training. For more information, click the button below.


Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?


Contributor Zach David, Originally Published on Beyond The Treat.com

Adopting a shelter dog is easily the best way that you can go about acquiring a new best friend. However, there are quite a few misconceptions about shelter dogs that may turn people away from giving these loving pups a second chance at life. So, this post will cover 21 facts about shelter dogs that will hopefully help you answer the question of: Should I adopt a shelter dog?

This comprehensive article will take a look at 3 main areas to help inform you about adopting from dog shelters. Those topics are helpful statistics, myths and facts, and more reasons why you should be adopting a dog.

Additionally, we've included a section providing more resources to further your education regarding shelters, how they work, and the benefits that they bring.

Helpful Dog Shelter Statistics

First thing's first -- let's cover some statistical information about dog shelters within the united states. Understanding these numbers may help to put things in perspective, such as how many people are helping dogs get a new chance at life and how many dogs are looking for a home.

You should note that shelters are decentralized entities, meaning that they aren't required to report to one organization and report information. Therefore, the statistics below may be slightly different from the real numbers.

1.6 Million Dogs Are Adopted Annually

To being the statistics, this is an extremely uplifting number. Even more uplifting is that adoption rates are going up at quite a significant rate. This is largely due to quite a few outreach programs being created to help shelters have more of a presence in their communities.

These programs do many different things to serve their community and ensure that pet owners are prepared to make the right decisions for their pets.

  • Shelter Outreach - Initiatives to move dogs from overpopulated shelters to shelters with more availability. This opens up more space to bring more dogs in and make them available for adoption.

  • Rehabilitation Services - These programs utilize training programs to help train dogs with behavioral issues that are a result of abuse and overall neglect. This helps dogs become fit for adoption and also educates people about the fact that training is what results in well-behaved dogs.

  • Disaster Preparedness - Programs to educate shelters about how to handle natural disasters in a way that's beneficial for existing and incoming shelter dogs.

    3.3 Million Dogs Enter Shelters Annually

    While it may be nice to see that 1.6 million dogs are being adopted every year, more than double that number is entering shelters yearly according to the ASPCA. Since 2011, the number of dogs has decreased from 3.9 million to 3.3 million, but there's still a long way to go to fill in the gap.

    The percentage of shelter animals that are dogs varies quite a bit by region, but it's generally around 25-50%. Differences in population largely depend on the feral cat population in an area -- a factor that can overwhelm the capacity of a shelter.

    Quite a few programs and initiatives are taking place to deal with the immense demand for shelter space, including relocation between shelters.


There Are Around 3,500 Shelters in the U.S.

The Humane Society states that as of 2014, there were about 3,500 shelters and 10,000 rescue groups/sanctuaries in the U.S. It's logical to believe that those numbers have increased quite a bit in the years following 2014.

This massive amount of shelters does wonders in providing the necessary space to take in and find homes for the 3.3 million dogs entering shelters annually.

With this many shelters and rescue groups, there is a plethora of different locations you can go to to either find a dog for yourself or volunteer your time to help out. Supporting these shelters in any way that you can will potentially help dozens of dogs down the road.

3 Million Shelter Animals Are Euthanized Annually

Out of that amount, about 670,000 of them are dogs.

There are many reasons why an animal would be euthanized. Some of the most popular reasons are because of old age, serious medical conditions, or behavioral issues that make them not suitable for adoption. However, 2.4 of the 3 million euthanized animals were adoption-ready.

Fortunately, this number seems to be decreasing significantly since 2011. This decrease is due to many things, including the increasing frequency of microchipping, fewer surrenders, and an overall higher adoption rate. Websites that allow you to browse a shelter's available animals have also made the process of adopting a lot easier for many people.

56% of Dogs in Shelters are Euthanized

There are quite a few different numbers when it comes to the frequency of euthanasia, but the American Humane Society has estimated the percentage to be around 56%.

This essentially means that when a dog enters a shelter, there's a higher probability that they'll never find another owner. This number is even higher for older dogs or breeds such as pit bulls.

When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you're saving them from a lonely fate that no dog deserves to be subjected to.

Around 25% of Shelter Dogs Are Purebred

The Humane Society estimates that around a quarter of all dogs in shelters are purebred as opposed to mixed-breed. These purebred pups are frequently rescued from puppy mills or surrendered by families that purchased a pure-bred dog for whatever reason.

Therefore, this dispels the myth that it's not possible to find a purebred dog if that's what you're looking for.

We can't recommend enough that you give mixed-breed dogs a shot, though. These dogs are just as capable at providing you with unconditional love and affection; they just combine several breeds into one pup.

Most Dogs Entering Shelters Are Still Young

A very common myth about shelter dogs is that they're all old and on their last legs. This couldn't be further from the case! The MSPCA stated that an overwhelming portion of the dogs that they take in every year are 1 year old or younger, and this is a case for most other shelters.

Shelters get a large amount of young dogs because of accidental puppies, and also because of families that purchase puppies and don't realize what they're getting into.

When you go to a shelter, you're able to have your pick of a large amount of young dogs that are ready to live out the rest of their very long lives with you.

Statistics About Where Dogs Are Obtained as Pets

Everyone gets their dog from somewhere... Have you every wondered where that is, exactly? Fortunately, the APPA has researched where it is that people obtain their dogs from.


Where are Dogs Obtained as Pets

Courtesy of the APPA, The information below was gathered from a multi-response question, resulting in a total percentage over 100%

Dog Shelter Myths Debunked

There is an absurd amount of myths regarding dog shelters that are absolutely harming adoption rates and the dogs looking for forever homes.

Because of this, we're going to look at and debunk several of the most prominent myths regarding shelter dogs.

MYTH: Shelters are made up of mostly problematic dogs

FACT: "Problematic" dogs are mostly caused by irresponsible owners

There have been many studies that show that people that don't take the time to properly train their dogs are more likely to surrender their dog to a shelter.

Of all of the dogs that have found themselves in shelters for behavioral issues, a good portion of those dogs were likely just living with an owner that didn't know how to properly train their dog. This issue has spawned a lot of in-house training programs for shelters to help housetrain dogs and give them the abilities they lack due to a negligent owner.

Additionally, some shelters offer training classes to help new dog owners gain the skills necessary to properly train and care for their dog.

So, if a dog comes into a shelter as a "problem" dog, there's a very good chance that they were subject to a problem owner.

Contact your local shelter to learn more about their training process or about training resources near you.

MYTH: You have to jump through hoops to bring home a shelter dog

FACT: Precautionary measures and checks are taken, but it's not complex

A shelter's #1 objective is finding a forever home for every single one of their animals. One of their worst fears is placing a dog in a home and then having that dog come back to them in the future. Therefore, they do everything that they can to avoid that from happening.

To avoid bad placement, shelters will want to know information regarding you and the environment that your potential dog will be living in. They may also perform a home visit to ensure everything is in order and safe for a dog.

That's the extent of the "hoops" for the most part, though. Shelter dogs have already been spayed, neutered, medicated, and microchipped, so the hoops have already been jumped through for you. Just remember that shelters care for their dogs and will take action to ensure that they're given a great home.

Also note that every shelter has different screening processes. If the shelter that you're working with isn't treating you properly, try another shelter.


MYTH: If you're looking for a specific breed or type, you're out of luck

FACT: Mixed breeds are a great option, and there's also breed-specific rescues

Before anything else, it's important to say that many adopters don't necessarily find exactly what they're looking for, but they still end up happy at the end of the day. Frequently, people will walk into a shelter looking for a particular dog, but they end up leaving with a totally different dog that makes them extremely happy.

Mixed breeds are just as capable of providing a loving companion as a purebred dog -- they just look a little different. Also, if you can't choose between two breeds, a mixed breed dog will be the best of both worlds!

However, if you absolutely have your heart set on a particular breed, there are many different breed-specific rescues out there for greyhounds, pit bulls, dachshunds, and any other breed you can think of.

MYTH: Shelter dogs come with a lot of health problems

FACT: Shelter dogs go through quite a few tests by veterinarians

75% of shelter dogs are mixed-breed, and these dogs have quite a bit of genetic diversity. This diversity helps shelter dogs to stay much healthier throughout their lives as they avoid serious genetic problems present in purebreds.

Additionally, when you adopt from a shelter, there's a very good chance that the dog you're adopting has been seen and thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian. If a problem is identified in a dog, it will either be dealt with at the shelter or will be made very known by the shelter itself.

All dogs will develop illnesses or problems during their lifetimes. However, adopting a dog from a shelter is actually one of the safest ways to get a dog since they've been inspected -- not just raised and sold like puppy mill dogs.

MYTH: Adoption fees are too expensive

FACT: Adoption fees are extremely small for the value that you're getting

When you're paying the adoption fee for a dog, you're actually getting quite an amazing deal! The fact that the shelter acquired the dog for free and is then charging you to take it may be a bit concerning, but it makes total sense.

Animal shelters are mostly run by volunteers, meaning that they're able to get services for much cheaper than you'd be able to get them at a local veterinarian. Highlighting benefits that your adoption fee brings usually puts things into a good perspective.

  • Spay / neuter

  • Medications for existing problems

  • Necessary medications

  • Microchipping

  • Housing, food, and the volunteer's time

Adoption fees are a mutually-beneficial thing. You're helping keep the shelter running, and they're giving you a dog that's fully cared for. In fact, adopting a dog from a shelter is the smart financial decision to make!


MYTH: Purebreds are more of a "sure-fire" thing -- shelter dogs are a gamble

FACT: Training mostly determines a dog's temperament regardless of breed

This point has been mentioned a few times in this post already, but it's worth addressing this myth again. This idea can be summed up by saying that well-behaved dogs are created, not born.

The breed of a dog does partially play into several characteristics of a dog, such as their energy levels and pack drive, but it's absolutely not a certain thing. Properly training your dog is the only way to guarantee that you'll have a good companion.

When you're at a shelter looking for a dog, don't rush through it. Spend some time getting to know the dogs, playing with them, and seeing what they're truly like. You can only learn so much about a dog from a glance through a chain-link fence.

Also note that there is a little bit of chance when it comes to bringing home a new dog, as dogs will act differently once they're out of a shelter environment.

Regardless, once you find a dog that you must adopt, take it to training classes and spend time getting to know it so that it has the best chance of behaving well.

MYTH: Shelter dogs will require extensive rehabilitation and training

FACT: Many shelter dogs are already decently trained from their previous home

One of the benefits of adopting a shelter dog is that they've already had experience with people! Many shelter dogs come with basic housetraining from their previous home, laying a very good groundwork for further training that you pursue.

As mentioned in a previous myth, some dogs that enter shelters are given special training to ensure that they're ready for adoption.

Both of these scenarios put shelter dogs way above puppy mill dogs in terms of training and behavior as they've actually had exposure to people and real world training before.

If you absolutely don't want to spend time training a dog on the basics, you can make this known to shelter staff so that they can point you in the direction of dogs that are very well-behaved and trained.

5 More Benefits Of Shelter Dogs

When you bring a dog into your life from a shelter, there are quite a few things that are happening beyond the basic concept of "acquiring a new companion".

It's important to think about these other benefits that come with shelter adoption as it may push you more in the direction of supporting shelters.


Supporting shelters fights against animal cruelty

Many animal shelters do so much more than just finding homes for lost and abandoned animals. Different rescue organizations have worked to pass legislation to stop people from profiting off of horrible practices such as dog fighting and puppy mills.

Lots of shelters work with local animal control to take in and rehabilitate the animals that are rescued from these operations. They also take tips that people may have regarding animal abuse and help get the correct people involved.

By supporting shelters, you're not only giving your new adopted dog a second chance at life, but you're indirectly supporting the lives of hundreds of other dogs that the shelter will assist with.

Shelter dogs are grateful for you

Although it's not possible to read a dog's mind (although we'd absolutely love to), it's clear that rescue dogs are aware of what their new adoptive owners have done for them. If you ask any home with a rescue dog, they'll likely say the same thing.

Dogs are social animals that, in the wild, would thrive in packs. Domesticated dogs have a new pack, and that's you. You provide your dog with food, water, shelter, and security -- all things that they recognize the importance of.

Although there are many shelters out there that are spacious, clean, and provide a great atmosphere for the dogs in them, they don't come without issues for dogs. Being taken from their home and being placed into a shelter with other confused dogs is a very stressful experience for any dog.

Taking a dog out of that environment and bringing them into your home where things are calm, safe, and loving will instantly transform their lives for the better, and they recognize that.

As someone that's owned rescue dogs for his entire life, I haven't owned a dog that hasn't shown this kind of gratitude and affection.

You're helping to prevent pet overpopulation

Pet overpopulation is one of the major issues that communities face, and it isn't always due to negligence. Many lower-income families want to have a pet, but they simply don't have the means to get them spayed or neutered, resulting in an overpopulation problem that arises quite quickly.

Fortunately, many shelters partner with vets and other organizations to fight this problem by providing free or low-cost spaying and neutering for low-income households. They also work to provide basic vaccinations and even supply people with pet food and supplies.

When you pay your adoption fee to a shelter, you're helping them provide these services to many different people. This allows them to keep their pet, ensures the health of that pet, and prevents new animals from being born and entering the shelter system.

Shelters always spay and neuter their dogs before putting them up for adoption, too. So, when you adopt a shelter dog, you're ensuring that you yourself never contribute to the overpopulation problem.

Decreasing demand from puppy mills

Puppy mills are a rampant problem in the pet world that need to be stopped as soon as possible. The most effective way of getting rid of these puppy mills is by simply not purchasing their dogs.

When the process of raising and selling puppies is no longer a profitable venture, only those that truly love dogs will remain in the business. These are the people that you want to be supporting.

If you're not getting a dog from a shelter or responsible breeder, you really have no idea where the dog came from. Avoid pet store dogs, puppy stores, and buying a dog online to avoid the possibility of supporting puppy mills.


You're giving a dog a second chance at life

Whether you're moved by the information above or not, there's one thing that's absolutely for certain when you adopt a shelter dog: You're directly saving a life.

Even if the shelter that you're adopting from is a no-kill shelter, you're still providing that dog with a second chance of finding a loving and safe home and making room for one more dog to be saved at that shelter.

Purchasing a dog from a breeder doesn't have this benefit because those dogs essentially have no chance that they'll end up without a home.

Every dog is capable of unconditional love and affection when brought into the right house, so why not make that dog one that hasn't had the best luck up until meeting you?

Additional Resources

One issue regarding the information in this post is that the information is gathered from many different sources and is governed by different standards. This can result in some discrepancies between statistics.

We tried to provide the most accurate information regarding shelter animals in this post, but even the most accurate information can be slightly off from the real data.

An organization that puts a large amount of effort into data collection and analysis regarding shelter animals is Shelter Animals Count. Their studies provide very diverse and accurate statistics including geographical differences and changes over time.

Additionally, the Center for Shelter Dogs at Tufts University recognizes the importance of shelters in dog behavior and well-being, putting a lot of effort into ensuring shelters are fully-equipped to house, train, and rehabilitate the dogs that come through their doors.

Rescue organizations such as the ASPCA and The Humane Society provided most of the information in this post and are great resources if you wish to further your education.


Santa Barbara DAWG