The gift of the pre-owned dog

The best treasures unrecognized

At 6:30 a.m.the alarms goes are dressed for school or are carted off to the sitter, and work begins at 8 a.m.. The work day ends at 5 p.m. (hopefully), and then it's time to pick up the kids and take them to gymnastics, basketball,soccer, cheerleading or whatever practice. Parent-teacher meetings on Thursday, Friday the in-laws are visiting and the next thing you know this week is done. So who has time for a puppy?

But everyone wants a puppy to complete the picture perfect family. A puppy is viewed as special, one that can grow up bonded to the family, will romp in the backyard with the kids. And life goes on happily ever after.

But happily ever after it isn't, unless the proper time is spent with the puppy. The time and money spent can snowball as the unsupervised puppy destroys rugs, furniture, cabinets, doorframes shoes and what not. Puppies growing up without rules can be obnoxious, unruly,maybe aggressive at times, or may become unwanted. If the family has no time for training, perhaps a puppy is not the best choice.

An adult dog given all the basics — time, training, vaccinations — may be the ticket. The older dog has a great deal to offer a busy family. Selecting the right older dog can offer a destruction-free house, house-breaking accomplished, vaccinations current, and an adult temperament able to be evaluated. Obedience training may even be part of the package. With all this to offer, adult dogs are still considered to be throw aways, second-hand, used.

Young adult dogs from nine months to five or six years old become available for new homes fairly often. Many reasons account for their transitions. Some of the more positive reasons may include someone in the home having allergies, divorce, job loss, kids lost interest, parents travel too much or any one of a number of other legitimate reasons. These dogs maybe purebred or mixed, with papers of registration, already spayed or neutered.

Spending the time getting to know the new dog, feeding and spending a reasonable amount of time playing and getting acquainted is usually enough to develop a bond between the family and the dog. Within a couple of weeks the dog will fit in like he has always been there. Within two or three months, he probably won't even respond to his old family. Mission accomplished.

But where does one go for such a dog? Ask the vets, groomers, boarding kennels and training centers in your area. Contact rescue organizations, visit animal shelters, look in the newspaper. A trial period may be available from a private individual or rescue organization to insure everyones is happy and getting along.

And what should one pay for such an animal? Should you expect it for free? What would you pay for a puppy at eight weeks of age? You should not be adverse to paying the same price for a already trained, vaccinated young adult dog whose temperament has developed to be exactly “what you see is what you get.” If you were prepared to spend $300-500 for a puppy without training then actually the price for a trained adult should be much more. But to most people, finding the right family for their dog is more important than cashing in on the time and money already spent. In other words, they usually ask for the original puppy price or less. Quite a bargain!

More on adopting older dogs:

[Purebreed rescue is a source of older pets; Rescue groups: Canine 911.]

[Shelters: another source; Adopt a dog, save a life.]

Melody Greba

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