If you know me, you know that I am a major dog lover. I love no dog more than mine and my fiance’s dog Chewbacca (also known as Chewie or Beautiful Idiot). She is a half dachshund half…maybe Golden Retriever or Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, that part is to be determined. But we adopted her at the Orange County Animal Shelter location across from the Mall of Millennia. If you or anyone you know in Orlando are looking for a dog, I would highly recommend adopting from here or Pet Alliance which is on the other side of the parking lot. They are both phenomenal organizations with a great selection of sweet dogs and cats available for adoption. The process is also incredibly easy.
While there are several ways to get a dog, each does come with it’s own set of drawbacks. You could visit a breeder who specializes in breeding dogs for puppies in a safe way so the mother’s aren’t over worked and the dogs are loved and have all their medical procedures (shots and snips) done before you take them home. Sadly, breeders can be expensive with some reaching into the thousands of dollars. But you pay for quality right? You could always go to your local pet store to find a dog. It’s like going to Target to find a dog, only the it’s kept in a small confined space with several other puppies with not a lot of room to play, eat or use the restroom so because of that they can become aggressive and everything smells bad. The dog’s usually also come from Puppy Mills which are similar to dog breeders previously mentioned, only they over work the mother’s to birth more dogs than is healthy (so not really like the dog breeders previously mentioned outside of they have dogs who give birth to other dogs).
So that leaves adoption. Which while adoption doesn’t always guarantee that you will find the specific breed that you are looking for, unless it is a Pit Bull because of society’s negative stereotyping of Pit Bulls when in reality they are either super friendly and docile by nature and the sweetest thing or a multi-Platinum record artist who was featured in every song from the years 2011-2014. But what shelters may lack in getting a specific breed, it more than makes up for in more loving dogs per square inch than any other method. Sometimes you may find a pure bred dog (I’ve seen Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers and English Bulldogs come through before), but for the most part you will find Pit Bulls and mutts. But don’t get me wrong, this is 100% not a bad thing. Because as previously mentioned, they are all sweet and looking for a good home.
The process is incredibly easy, after you signing in you can walk to the back to look at the dogs. Each cage is open and measures about 5-6ft. by 20 ft., so it gives them plenty of room to walk around and no more than 2 or 4 dogs are in a pen at a time depending on how big the dogs are. So after walking around a bit, petting the dogs and letting them lick you through the cage fence, you find a dog that you might want to adopt. What you can then do is flag down a volunteer and ask to do a meet and greet with that dog. They’ll then bring the dog out in a yard are for you all to play in. They have toys, tennis balls and all sorts of things to help you and your potential future dog get to know each other and see how well you’ll mesh. Or if you’re like Chewbacca, as soon as you get out there you want to do nothing but jump into my arms and lick my face.
Once you decide you want a dog, you just go to the front and fill out a few sheets of paper and you have yourself one slightly used dog! The best part is that the prices there are unbeatable. Dogs usually run for $40 and cats in the $20 range. But they have several great deals to bring down the cost. First Responders and Veterans have adoption fees waived, cats are buy one get one free, senior dogs are free, theme park employees get $10 dogs and free cats and for the month of October cats and dogs are $10 for everyone.
But the best part of this is that you get to make an impact in not just an animal’s life, but also your own. Nothing is better than coming home after a long day of work or being out in the parks to a happy jumping licking excited to see you dog and/or cat. There are times when I’ve been mad or sad and Chewbacca will come over, cuddle up next to me and start giving me kisses. It is the most relaxing feeling and a major stress reliever. She has helped me in being more responsible, caring and patient. I legitimately understand bumper sticks that say, “Who Rescued Who?”
So if you happen to be on the look out for a dog, please look into adoption. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, then seek out a breeder who practices safe and nonharmful breeding techniques (don’t go to a puppy mill). But if you just want a dog and want to make a difference in a dog’s live and give it a new leash on life (had to), please look in to adoption. Here are some links for both Orange County Animal Services and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
Orange County Animal Services: http://www.orangecountyanimalservicesfl.net/OCASHome.aspx
Pet Alliance of Great Orlando: https://petallianceorlando.org/