If you want a pet dog, there are a couple of options: you could buy a purebred or you could adopt a dog from a shelter. Then there is a third option – you could adopt a stray and give him or her a home. However there are some precautions you should take before adopting a stray dog; there are also several things you could do if you decide to actually adopt a stray dog.
Here is how you should go about it:
Before adopting a stray dog
Don’t assume that a dog is homeless or abandoned simply because you’ve seen it wandering the street or because he or she has no tag or collar. You should try and find out whether the dog is lost or is a runaway whose family is searching for him or her. You could call the local shelter and find out if there is a missing dog reported. The shelter can also scan the dog to see if there is an embedded microchip with any contact information of the owners.
You could also ask around the neighborhood and do an internet search (Facebook and similar social networking sites are quite useful for this) to find out if someone is missing their pet.
Also find out if there are any local laws or regulations that prohibit you simply taking in a stray. Some local laws may require you to report the stray before opting to adopt, and some local authorities may require waiting for a set period before you can actually adopt a pet.
You also want to ensure that this is not a feral dog that you’re considering adopting. If the dog seems very aggressive and is not easily approachable, seeming to avoid humans, you may consider simply reporting the animal. This may be the safest thing to do, all things considered.
How to adopt a stray dog
See how friendly and approachable the dog is. If he or she seems traumatized and timid, you may want to appear as non-threatening as possible. Offer tidbits and food to see how the dog responds and also to build trust.
When the dog seems comfortable with your and others in your family, you can start to let it into the house. However, do have the dog undergo a thorough checkup from the vet to rule out any communicable disease, parasites, worms or other problems. Also find out whether or not the dog has been neutered or spayed so you know what to expect.