“You have to raise them from a puppy if you want a loyal dog.” My cousin was stubbornly explaining to me why he would never adopt a pet, especially a grown one.
He and his wife have two young kids and wanted a dog that would be loving and gentle toward the children and help protect their home, too.
But he was totally wrong in thinking you have to raise a loyal dog from a pup, or a cat from a kitten. The fact is, if you want an animal with a strong family bond, your local animal shelter or rescue shelter might be the best place to start looking.
Don’t assume that animal shelters and pet rescue shelters are full of dogs and cats abandoned because of bad behavior. Shelter pets for adoption are often the victims of tragic situations or irresponsible owners.
When my wife and I were newlyweds, we adopted an Australian Shepard mix who had been rescued while running in rush-hour traffic on the freeway. I can honestly say I’ve never had a more dedicated friend and protector.
We were pretty poor then and lived in a rough neighborhood, but our dog, Mickey, made us feel a lot safer. We joked that he was our household Head of Security, and he took his job seriously. He performed a patrol of the property every night before bed and was always alert for signs of danger.
I have no doubt that he would have defended us with his life.
Most folks who have adopted a pet will tell a similar story. Dogs or cats who have been uprooted from their homes, or have had difficult beginnings are likely to bond completely and deeply with their new human caretakers.
They’ll consider you a hero, and will probably show their appreciation as long as they live.