How much is that doggy in the window?
If it's a rescued or shelter pet, chances are that dog is less expensive to bring home and more is known about their temperment and health than dogs who are purchased in pet stores or from "puppy mills".
"Some people might be reluctant to adopt from a shelter, thinking they are getting 'used goods' or that there's something unknown going on with the pets," said Rebecca Guinn, executive director and co-founder of LifeLine Animal Project, "At LifeLine we know the dogs in our Dog House really well and can help match the perfect dog for your situation."
Many shelters and rescues do a full health and personality accessment of the dogs they save, update their vaccinations and spay or neuter them before offering them for adoption. Some place them in foster homes in order to further train them and also see how they interact with people and other pets in a home situation.
Adoption fees at shelters and rescues can range greatly, from $75 and up. Fees charged by non-profit rescue groups rarely cover the cost of veterinary or specialist care, grooming, feeding, housing and often training for each dog as rescuers and staff get them ready for a new home.
"If you think that buying a puppy instead of adopting one is less expensive, then you are sorely mistaken," Guinn said. "When you adopt, it is cheaper and you are saving a life."
Two lives, actually.
When a dog is adopted they are given a brand new life with a new family and their place at the rescue is then freed up to be given to another homeless animal in need.
Local pet mom Blythe Randolph can speak to the benefits of adopting a shelter dog. She and husband Steve adopted a mixed breed named Dylan from LifeLine in the summer of 2010.
"Dylan did not have a good start in life, " she said, "He had been abused and someone had poured acid on his back before LifeLine rescued him. He was skittish and for a long time was overlooked by people looking to adopt. When he came home with us and realized no one was going to hurt him, he settled right in. He made friends with one of our other dogs, Gertie, and he's been just the best and sweetest dog ever."
The Randolphs mourned the death of one of their longtime pets in February of this year.
"Dylan has helped us heal," she said.
There are dogs of every breed and mixture at local rescues and shelters, including purebred canines. Nationwide, 25 percent of all homeless dogs in shelters are pure breeds.
For those who opt to adopt LifeLine has an extensive list on their website of dogs available from their Dog House and other local rescues, including at risk dogs from county shelters.
Go to www.AtlantaPets.org and click on "Adoptable Animals".