Here's how you can get a furry friend ASAP! 🐕
Like so many other people who got stuck inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, my fiancee and I decided to adopt a dog to make the seemingly endless months go by a little quicker.
After hearing so much about high numbers of applications and the difficulty of getting a dog in Toronto, we were prepared for a long wait. However, we were incredibly surprised when we found ourselves bringing our chihuahua Jo March (or Jojo) home with us less than a month after we submitted our initial application.
With that in mind, there are a few things to know about how to best increase your chances of getting a furry friend quickly, and here are seven of them!
Check as many adoption agencies as you can
Working for Narcity, I already follow as many adoption agencies as I can because we write a lot of stories about them. Whether it's Redemption Paws, Peanut Mutter Rescue, The Toronto Humane Society or somewhere a little further out of town — like the Ontario or Niagara SPCA — there is no shortage of dog rescue agencies in town.
Make sure you're following them on social media and checking their pages as much as you can. That's how my fiancee found out that Redemption Paws had a surplus of dogs and had made August 2021 their "Streamlined Adoption Month," meaning the whole process was way quicker than it would have otherwise been.
It was the stroke of good fortune we needed after monitoring those pages for a good 12 months, and we took the opportunity as soon as it was presented to us.
So check out the links above, or you can keep a close eye on Narcity and read the stories we're writing about pups that need new homes!
Pick a dog who needs adopting
Everybody has a different taste in dogs, but there are always certain breeds or types of pups that will have a harder time getting adopted. For us, we knew we didn't want to train a puppy so a senior dog made a lot of sense for us.
There are always going to be more senior dogs in shelters, so you increase your chance of scoring a furry friend by setting your age range just that little bit higher. If you're only holding out for a 7-month-old golden lab, you could be waiting a very, very long time.
Jojo is a 7-year-old, 7-pound chihuahua with no front teeth and a tiny heart murmur, but that stuff is easy enough to look past when you love the dog themselves. As soon as you understand that all puppy love is good love, you'll be a lot happier and able to bring a dog home far sooner!
Pick a dog you know will work for you
My fiancee and I live in a one-bedroom unit in a house near High Park (with two big cats), so while we're in a good location for a dog, we don't have too much space for a dog during the day when we're working.
That's one of the big reasons we decided to go with a small dog! We didn't want to disrupt the cats too much and we knew that everybody — new dog included — would want their own space.
We also both work from home, so we needed a dog that could easily chill out and just relax while we're sitting on our laptops. We didn't have the time (or space) to litter train, either, so a puppy was out of the question.
(Thankfully, Jojo's favourite thing to do is sit next to you and sleep while you do nothing, so she was absolutely perfect for us.)
You'll definitely be asked all these things — living situation, time with dog, litter training — if you have any adoption interviews, so make sure you start by picking a realistic dog that fits your lifestyle and who can you take care of well! Otherwise, you'll be turned down and you'll have to start from scratch (no pun intended).
Have some dog experience
This isn't the most helpful tip in the world if you haven't had dog experience before, but there's no question that it really helps when it comes to getting an adoption. You'll no doubt be asked if you've owned dogs before, what kind of dogs they were and how long you had them.
Having basic experience with dog ownership — even when it comes to knowing exactly what kind of equipment your dog will need — will give you a paw up on the competition when it comes to getting your dream dog.
Live somewhere good for a dog
Our apartment is quite small, so we knew we'd need a small dog, but we're lucky enough to have yard space out back and to live just moments away from High Park, which we already knew Jojo had walked around a bunch.
During the adoption process, we made sure to mention that we'd be able to give her all the walks she could handle (which, for a 7-pound chihuahua, isn't very many).
When it comes to your own adoption application, make sure you're mentioning all the places nearby that'll be good for your dog when it comes to exercising and socializing with other dogs. Yard space is a big plus, but not everyone is lucky enough to have that!
Be prepared to be flexible
When we contacted Redemption Paws to inquire about a dog, we knew who we wanted — Jojo — but we also submitted the names of four to five other dogs that we would've been more than happy to adopt.
As it turns out, Jojo became available after another prospective adopter dropped out, but we knew we'd gotten lucky and we wouldn't have turned down another dog just because they weren't our first choice!
Ultimately, we ended up with Jojo because of great timing and the perfect circumstances, and if we'd tried a month before or a month afterwards we might've had a very different adoption experience.
But there are still plenty of ways to put yourself in the right position — research adoption agencies, get yourself in the right living situation — so that when the moment does happen, you're ready to take full advantage of your own luck.
Good luck, and send pics of the dog you do adopt!
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.