Adopting a dog?

Adopting a Dog

Bringing a Dog Into Your Life

What dog is best for you? Where will you find the dog you want? Now that you know you want a dog, it’s time to decide where you should go to start your search.

Choosing a Dog

Some people looking for a specific breed may want to go to a breeder, or check with their local shelter, which may have a surprising number of purebred dogs on the adoption floor. If you're looking for a dog based on personality, you have many options. You could visit a shelter, a rescue organization or a foster home if you want to rescue a pet, or visit a breeder.

Adopting a Dog

There are many systems in place that often work together to help all kinds of dogs find a lasting home. If you want to start looking for a pet right away, visit Petfinder or, and explore the pets that may be waiting for you.

Still deciding where to go to find your new dog? Here are some of your options:

Visit a Shelter

A shelter is a housing facility for surrendered or stray animals operated by an organization dedicated to pet welfare, like a humane society, or by a municipal or county government.  Shelters often have a wide variety of dogs to choose from, many of which have already acquired basic house training and cooperative skills.

Rescue a Dog

A rescue organization, like a shelter, is dedicated to pet welfare but may not be a formally incorporated charitable organization or have tax exempt status. For the most part, rescue organizations care for a relatively small number of animals through a network of private foster homes, rather than in a shelter.

Visit a Foster Home

Foster homes provide temporary, in-home care for one or more animals through the auspices of an animal shelter or animal rescue organization. Foster caregivers may be either volunteers or staff members of pet welfare organizations or a municipal/county shelter, and may foster pets for a number of different reasons. For example, foster homes are often needed for pets that are not yet ready for adoption (sick, injured, recovering from surgery, not yet weaned, needing socialization or other behavior modification, etc.) or pets for whom there is not enough space in the shelter. Some rescue groups operate completely through a network of foster homes.

Pet Welfare and Purina

Purina works closely with pet welfare organizations, investing over $30 million in pet welfare and pet communities in 2011 and working actively to change the perceptions of shelters and shelter pets. Learn about Purina's pet welfare efforts.

Did You Know?

Purina celebrates the many different breeds of dogs in the world by sponsoring the Westminster Dog Show, the International Kennel Club and other organizations that champion some of the world's most amazing pets.  

Wherever you choose to get your dog, we hope we've helped you find a companion that will make your life richer, more loving, and more adventurous.

Print Icon
Email Icon
Related Articles
Factor in your lifestyle, costs, family roles, and more before taking the plunge
Discover all the ways dogs can enrich your life and the life of your family
Learn how dogs promote responsibility and nurturing—crucial to child development