Adopting a Dog in Delaware, Something to Bark About

Have you noticed how many dogs there are in southern Delaware?On the beach, the boardwalks, the trails, at this dog park or that one, in pet-friendly restsaurants across the area…. they’re EVERYWHERE!!! Chances are, one (or many more than one) of the pooches you’ve petted have been adopted from local shelters or private rescue organizations. 

Delaware is hands-down one of most dog friendly states in the country. Did you know that it is the first and only designated a No-Kill state? And that has a lot to do with the adoption culture so prevalent here. Many of the dogs that end up in Delaware shelters are actually from other states! 

As you consider joining this noteworthy trend, here are your adoption options? The two largest local shelters are Delaware Humane Society (DHA), and Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA). Both offer similar services: all dogs are spayed/neutered, microchipped in case they get lost, receive vaccines and veterinary care before they are released for adoption. 

At DHA, several services are offered, such as vaccination clinics, dog licenses at a reduced rate for seniors, a food pantry, behavior training and more. (In 2018, President-Elect and Dr. Jill Biden adopted ‘Major’, a large German Shepherd mix from DHA!) BVSPCA provides similar services. In addition, they operate a veterinary clinic on-site.  

The first step towards adoption is to either visit the shelter in person, where you can see the dogs firsthand and take them outside for some quality time while you decide which might be your match. Or, you can start your search on the DHA / BVSPCA websites, where they have photos and stats about the dog (breed, age, temperament, etc.). Then click to request a visit with that particular dog. 

Before you make a decision, ask questions of the adoption coordinator or kennel attendant. Is the dog child-friendly or dog-friendly? Does it need to be the sole pet in the home? Is it good on the leash and house-trained (most except puppies are)? Many of the dogs available are senior dogs who have unfortunately lost their owners, so you may want to consider a dog that is already well-behaved, making the transition easier. 

If you are not yet ready to adopt, you can also foster a dog temporarily, which is a rewarding experience, and truly helps the shelter make room for new dogs. Many people experience “foster fail,” meaning they fell in love with their foster and ended up adopting. You just have to be prepared for a (good) goodbye should a family be interested in your foster. 

Join the dog movement in Delaware! A canine companion is like no other friend in the world. Consider adoption so your new pal can find its “furever” home. 

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