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I may not be purebred, but my heart is!

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Adding a new animal to the family can be a great thing.  While many people are looking for that particular breed, most could find a mixed breed that suits their lifestyle.  

And when that new pet is a rescue, you make it that much better.  Many customers at our shop have rescue pets or foster them, and the stories we hear every day about how wonderful these animals are is inspiring.  

Shelters constantly run over capacity, so every pet that goes home opens room for another pet to be rescued, and can save a pet in the system from having to be euthanized. You might not find the exact breed that you were looking for, but they may have something that is a close fit.  
The animals available from shelters and rescue organizations come from a variety of sources. They are rescues from puppy mills, dog racing, illegal fighting rings or from feral populations on northern reserves.  They could also be surrenders from people who can’t handle the animal due to its size or behaviour, or from homes where things have changed so that the animal can no longer be cared for, such as a death in the family or a move from house to apartment.  

The adoption agency should have a full report on why the animal is there, and what issues it may have, so you can decide if you can handle the specific issue that pet may have.
A great way to see if a rescue dog is for you is to organize a family outing for a Saturday, visiting as many shelters as you can.   Make a list and plot out your trip, and make a day of it.  The four main stops in Winnipeg would be Animal Control, Winnipeg Humane Society, Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter and D’Arcy’s A.R.C.

You can also search using the Internet for breed or size-specific shelters or rescue groups, most of which also have adoption fairs from time to time.  

Once you’ve made the circuit, you can talk about the experience, and see if everyone involved would be on board with trying one of the rescue animals.  Commitments to the needs of these special animals would have to be made as a group.  You really want to make sure it is going to work out, and not put the animal through another change of home.

If, after the trip around, you don’t find the perfect animal to fit your situation, you can keep searching. There are many other shelter groups out there run on a smaller scale that may help you find that perfect fit.    Don’t be in a rush, you will find that perfect fit when the time is right.

After all is said and done, you may end up so happy with your choice that you will want to get involved with one of the shelters in a volunteer capacity. I don’t know of any of the groups that won’t welcome volunteer help of any kind, from fundraising, working in the facility, administration work or even fostering.  And there is nothing more rewarding than helping those that can’t help themselves.

Contact Jeff with your questions or ideas at aardvarkpets@shaw.ca or visit www.aardvarkpets.com

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