As a potential adopter it is important for you to know of the major changes in the animal welfare and sheltering world over the past decade, particularly in the North East . There are many theories as to why our shelters are running out of “adoptable dogs” and why it’s almost impossible to find litters of puppies in the sheltering system here, but the bottom line is that it is happening, and shelters and rescues from all over the North East are pulling their dogs up from the South or over from the Mid-West by the thousands.
What do you need to know when you are looking at adopting a transport dog or a dog that was already transported North:
Vaccination information – Is everything up to date? Dogs over 16 weeks need a Rabies vaccination, and can receive them as early as 12. All puppies should have a completed vaccination series for Distemper before transport- key word here is should. Many rescues don’t finish the series which can start as early as 6 weeks, because they want to get the dogs up here as soon as they can. Foster and shelter space is limited and dogs are killed by the thousands in these shelters. But, Parvovirus is scary. Very scary, and also deadly. If the puppy you are adopting is in the middle of the series, this may be fine, just be diligent and get to the vet for your own check up as soon as you have the pup! Also, until the series is done – please stay away from pet stores and dog parks where other dogs go.
WORMS – All rescues should be deworming their dogs, regardless of where they came from. But, I can tell you now, there are so many types of worms out there. Go get a fecal, and deworm again. And again in 6 months. And probably again. Trust me on this!
Heartworm Tests – More and more dogs are coming up north with Heartworms, which is an incredibly dangerous parasite. In very young and elderly dogs it can be deadly and incredibly painful to go through treatment. Surprising to many adopters, Heartworms that are not fully developed many will not show up on initial testing! That’s correct. Puppies and dogs alike can test negative during their first screening, only to come up as positive six months later, after they’ve been running around the Northeast and possibly infecting other dogs. Always re-test your dog roughly about six months after obtaining your Southern/Midwestern Transport buddy.
Temperament Testing – This is crucial to ask a rescue or shelter. What is their evaluation process? Almost all rescues and even some shelters are volunteer run and don’t have professionals on hand when making decisions about pulling dogs. It takes years of experience to be able to see what behavior suppression looks like or to understand when a dog is being reactive due to stress, but isn’t actually aggressive. Temperament tests are designed for professionals to be able to put pieces of a dog’s actual personality together – not to set dogs up to fail, but to set adopters up for success with their new pup. Ask them – how do they pick the dogs that they pull? What is their definition of aggressive? How do they screen for aggression? If you have questions ask a professional!
Adoption is hands-down one of the most rewarding experience you’ll ever be a part of. And what gets better than saving a life? But, before taking the plunge, educate yourself on the process and be knowledgeable of what is happening behind the curtain before your new pup arrive at your local shelter or transport drop-off location!