How to adopt an Indian street dog

If you’ve made the wonderful decision to open your doors to an indie, congratulations! Your life is about to change for the better! We hope you’re prepared for a lifetime of cuddles, playtime and pure, unconditional love. And even though pet parenting consists of these fun moments, it also requires a certain level of commitment. That brings us to step 1 of the adoption process:

Step 1: Make sure you’re ready for the commitment

A good pet parent is a responsible one. Once you’ve adopted a dog, you are responsible for their well-being. That means taking time out every day to feed, train, exercise and groom them. You will need to take them to the vet when they’re unwell, and also for routine health check-ups, deworming and parasite control procedures. If you live with your family, every member should be aligned about your decision to adopt. And most importantly, it should also be feasible for you financially.

Step 2: Look out for shelters nearby

Stray dogs are a common sight in neighbourhoods across India. You’ve probably crossed paths or even made friends with a few in your vicinity. While you may be tempted to pick a stray dog off the streets, we’d recommend reaching out to a shelter instead. This is because strays that live in communities (particularly gated societies) are often fed and well cared for by animal lovers residing there. So if you choose to adopt this way, make sure to ask the animal lovers in your community if the dog is being cared for, and seek permission from them before you take your furry friend home. If not, make trips to local shelters to meet your potential pet. You could check here for our city-wise list of animal shelters.

Step 3: Spend time with the dogs

An important part of the process is to spend time with the dogs at the shelter to try and establish a friendship. One way to do this is with treats. If you find yourself particularly drawn to a pooch, offer a treat to them and step back. Do this multiple times over a few days until you find the dog approaching the feeding spot on their own. This is when you’ll know you have gained their trust and established a bond with them.

Step 4: Assess the dog you’ve chosen

Assess the dog’s temperament and behaviour with other humans and pets alike. The volunteers will also be able to share their observations. Check if they have been vaccinated and ask about their medical history—be it vaccination certificates, details of medical procedures like sterilization and medical records of past illnesses, injuries or traumas.

Step 5: Complete the adoption formalities

Each shelter will have their own adoption procedure. However, you can expect to submit an adoption form with your details along with a few essential documents for proof of your identity and address. They might also ask a few questions (background check) and offer advice (counselling) on how to look after your new pet.

Step 6: Give your new family member a warm welcome

Make sure your house is prepped with food and water bowls, dog food, a leash and ID tag, a grooming brush and a comfortable bed. You should make a few changes like tucking away loose cables, keeping footwear in a shoe cabinet, securing the dustbin with a lid and keeping medicines, soaps, detergents as well as choking hazards out of reach to ensure the space is dog-friendly. Also, a visit to the vet is absolutely essential within the first few days of your pet being home. Other than that, give your pooch time to adjust to their new family and environment. It can take a few weeks or even a few months, so be patient and shower them with all your love.

Street dogs or shelter dogs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, all with different characters and temperaments. Choosing a dog for adoption is an important step as he/she will soon become an integral part of your family. So some careful thought will help avoid impulsive decisions you may later regret. Ensuring a healthy relationship from the start is key to having a successful and happy adoption. Find out as much as you can from the shelter or community owner about the dog’s behavioural history. And make sure to adopt from a reputed shelter where animal welfare is considered a priority,” advises Dr. Umesh Kallahalli, Director Scientific Affairs, Mars Pet Nutrition Asia Pacific.

When it comes to adopting a furry companion, there’s no better fit than an indie. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually playful, intelligent, friendly, protective and loyal. They are also not as difficult to train. When you adopt, not only are you saving and bettering an indie’s life, but you are also taking a stand against the practice of breeding for profit. And unlike indies, many popular breeds like the Siberian Husky, Saint Bernard, Shih Tzu, etc. don’t do well in the Indian climate.

So now that you’ve understood the adoption process, check out our initiative where you will find more information on indie dogs, contacts of NGOs and shelters in your city as well as a detailed indie care guide.

We wish you the very best! Happy pet parenting!

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