My Kid Wants a Puppy – Now What? {The Basics of Pet Adoption}


my kid wants a puppy dog adoption basicsMy kid wants a puppy!!! Now what? Your child watched a movie or saw their classmate with their new furry friend, and now they are begging for a puppy of their own. Many parents hit the point where they face a tough decision — to bring a dog into the family or to wait. 

When your child expresses interest in a pet, you must consider all possible outcomes and understand the adoption process before finding your new best friend. 

Are You Ready?

The first and most important question is, are you ready? Many dogs are in the shelter because their owners don’t ask this question. You may not know what “ready” looks like, but some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you have enough space?
  • Are you financially stable?
  • Do you have the time and patience?
  • Do you and your family have enough energy?
  • Are you ready for this commitment?
  • Are you and your family on the same page?

Posing these questions allows you and your family to reflect on this decision. If you feel confident that you can live a successful and fulfilling life with the addition of a dog, then it is time to find the perfect match. However, it is always vital to remember that owning a dog is a big commitment, and your new furry friend deserves love and attention from you and your family. 

Finding Your Perfect Pet

After deciding to grow your family, it is time to think about the type of dog that will be the perfect companion. The first decision you must make is whether to purchase your animal from a breeder or pet store or go through the adoption process from a local shelter. 

Adoption Over Buying

Adopting a dog from a local shelter benefits your family and your chosen dog. Kentucky reports that in 2023, the number of dog intakes was approximately 2,174 from January to the end of December. 

Though your child may be interested in a specific puppy, you and your family can make the most significant impact by adopting a dog from a shelter in Kentucky. This decision saves a life and opens up a spot for another dog to have the chance to find its forever home. 

Giving a dog a second chance at life is a rewarding experience you cannot match. Adopting reinforces to your family and friends that saving a dog from a life in a shelter is more valuable than spending hundreds of dollars on a puppy.

Pet Adoption Steps

The pet adoption process can vary depending on the state and shelter. In Kentucky, the adoption process is broken down into the following steps:

Finding Your Perfect Match

Visit local shelters to meet and interact with the dogs in person. This allows you and your family to gain exposure to different temperaments and ask shelter employees about the dog you are interested in. 

Shelters typically provide adoption counselors to consult with. They can match your family with a dog that meets your lifestyle and energy. You can ask questions about potential care your dog may need and other essential information.

Application Process

Most dog adoption processes require adopters to fill out an application with the shelter. You may do this before choosing a dog or after finding one to express your interest. Most shelters proceed with the application process once you have decided on a dog and provide valuable insight into your family’s routine. It is vital to provide extensive information and details during this process because some shelters do not have another step to gain more clarification. 

Once your application is submitted and reviewed, the shelter will contact you to schedule a phone interview.

Phone Interview

Shelter workers will ask questions about your application. They will want to know about your yard type, schedule, activity levels, basic lifestyle and home routines. This is vital, as some dogs may need specific environments to live the best life possible.

In some cases, shelters may require a home visit to ensure you can meet the needs of your new addition. Workers will look at the state of your yard and the layout of your home while gaining more information on you and your family. 

Meet and Greet

Meet-and-greets are essential to the success of the adoption process. To finalize the adoption, everyone in your household, including other animals, will visit the shelter to meet your new addition. 

When reaching this step of the adoption process, you and the rest of your family must spend time interacting with the dog, allowing the shelter’s employees and volunteers to gauge how it reacts to different situations and household members. Spend the time playing, petting and taking note of sensitive areas of the animal to see how your potential addition reacts to you. 

This process ensures that the dog you are adopting is comfortable with all members of your home and interacts well with the established animals. Meeting in a neutral environment, such as a visiting room in the shelter, allows you and shelter staff to see the raw reactions of your family to the animal.

Adoption Fee

After you, your family and the shelter staff feel comfortable and confident about the match, the last order of business is to cover the adoption fee. These fees typically vary depending on the type of animal and the shelter you are working with. Adoption fees for puppies and dogs can range from free to $150 and up depending on the shelter you go to, not including licensing or application fees. The adoption fee goes back into the shelter to support more rescue efforts and purchase supplies for the animals waiting for their forever homes. 

Shelters Near You

If you are looking for a place to adopt a dog near the Louisville and Kentuckiana areas, reputable shelters include:

Providing a Furever Home

Now that you have your new furry friend, it is time to adjust to life together. This process will look different for everyone, but the result will be worth it. It may be challenging at times, but the happiness and excitement you and your family will feel will last a lifetime.

Looking for dog-friendly places around Louisville? We’ve got you covered!


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