|Barked: Mon Dec 11, '06 12:25pm PST |
|Given that you're saving a life either way, as others have covered, I think that what it comes down to is how well you need to know the dog in question.
A shelter is not going to know their dogs very well. They were essentially dumped on them, usually by people who don't care. Or who care just enough to think lying about why they gave up the dog will help. After the dog is in the shelter, for the most part they live in a cell until they're adopted or their time is up. Some are lucky enough to get foster care.
In general, all a shelter can give you in terms of info is general breed characteristics, and how the dog has interacted with them. Nothing about how they are with other dogs, cats, children... people wearing hats, their work drive, their specific exercise needs, if they'll gaurd you, if they'll gaurd from you, and so on. There is not enough time, money or manpower to find out.
A good rescue will spend enough time with their dogs to answer these types of questions. Maybe not every one exactly, but they should have some idea. The biggest issue there is that dogs live differently with everyone, and sometimes a dog who did not exhibit any problems in one home will have them in another (or vice versa... I can't tell you how many Huskys have been given up for "being bad with kids" since a Husky cross a bit a child in Mass. None of them that I have met have had a single problem with a child).
Unfortunately, just as some shelters have fantastic programs going on, some rescues are not-so good. No matter where you go in rescuing a dog, there are always going to be people trying to place as many dogs as possible by any means possible. I have seen rescues and shelters alike sugar-coating to outright lying about everything from breed to temperment. No matter where you go, remember that there is a reason every dog has been given up. The trick is finding a reason that works with your lifestyle.
Edited by author Mon Dec 11, '06 12:26pm PST
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