What to Expect When Adopting a Dog: A Guide to Successful Dog Adoption for Every Family
SOP3 Publishing, 2016
I am, first and foremost, a cat person. I don’t have the temperament to care for a dog, they are too needy for me and not dignified enough. I need an animal that disdains me so when it does show me affection, I know it’s genuine and earned. What that says about me, well…
So when I say to you that Diane Rose-Solomon’s book What to Expect When Adopting a Dog is perhaps the most accessible and useful book for potential dog owners as well as current dog owners know it comes from a place of desperately wanting to see better, happier dogs and owners. Too often dogs bear the brunt of misguided adoption and subsequent abandonment. For every responsible, caring dog owner there are at least ten more that treat animals like mere property to be used and disposed of on a whim.
Rose-Solomon might have written a guide for adopting a dog, but her suggestions, guidelines, and resources ought to be thoughtfully considered by anyone looking to bring an animal into their lives. In fact, the value of the book resides in all the legwork that Rose-Solomon has done for potential dog owners. The plethora of links, references, and personal anecdotes collected ought to satisfy the demands of the most fastidious, anal, and anxious. There is little in the way of preaching going on in What to Expect When Adopting a Dog, this isn’t a book with some agenda, rather simply bald facts about one ought to expect and suggestions for how one should react.
It’s seems odd to me that there are persons out there that need to be told they must buy a leash, food dishes, and shouldn’t simply tie an animal to a tree outside but apparently there are. Thus Rose-Solomon patiently explains that “Adopting a dog means committing yourself to the lifelong care of a dog who for some reason has found himself homeless.” Her prose casts no disparagement to current or potential owners. Although she doesn’t pull punches when discussing puppy mills, specialty breeders (“Many designer dogs…are being relinquished to the shelters because the expectations of that ‘perfect dog’ aren’t met”), or even regions of the country (“dog overpopulation problem is egregious in the South”).
Yet it is through calmly addressing the psychology of would-be pet owners, that Rose-Solomon creates a genuinely uplifting and positive space for people to make room in their hearts and lives for a dog. If “Every homeless dog has a story,” then that story begins when “People often assume adult dogs in the shelter are damaged, or they just want a cute puppy and potentially wonderful dogs are often overlooked.” She uses these opportunities to dispel myths such as shelter dogs being in some way inferior to pet stores or breeders (“there is no difference between a dog adopted from a shelter and a dog purchased from a breeder other than the knowledge of the parents’ lineage. Many purebred dogs from breeders or pet ships can come with behavioral or health issues”) by simply stating plain facts, “While shelter conditions range from squalid to rather decent, they are consistently loud and stressful environments. Many dogs become depressed or anxious from the stress and don’t show their best selves when visitors come by their kennels.”
These stressed dogs will show their true personality through patience and managed expectations creating a loving, lifelong companion for individuals, couples, and families so long as one takes a moment to think through what is being undertaken. “By adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization you are saving a life and making room for another pet in that shelter.” But one of the strengths of Rose-Solomon’s book is that she lays out a clear method for potential pet owners and, what we could call, pet allies, “you’re not ready to commit to adoption, but you still want to help a dog in need, fostering is a great option.”
Overall, What to Expect When Adopting a Dog is a superb resource easily read with pragmatic techniques for finding the dog companion that will compliment as well as complete your family.
After rescuing a puppy 21 years ago, Diane Rose-Solomon became involved in animal rescue and education, serving for years on the board of directors of a small grassroots organization, the Animal Guardian Society. To give back more to the animal community, she became a Certified Humane Education Specialist through Humane Society University in 2009. She then combined her humane and creative interests by publishing her first two books, award-winning JJ the American Street Dog, and How He Came to Live in Our House and the sequel JJ Goes to Puppy Class. Diane enjoys reading her stories to children in schools, libraries and shelter programs. Her goal is to educate children and adults about how compassion extends to all beings, human and animal. To this end, she founded Team Kindness, a program where children, families and teachers learn about and engage in kind and humane educational activities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children and two rescued dogs.
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