Can an adopted dog be loyal?
We’ve been thinking about adopting a dog from the shelter. I don’t think we’re prepared for a puppy, but I worry about an older dog. Will they bond to my family? Is it better to get a puppy? Does it upset a dog to get a new family? Will they ever learn to be loyal to me and my family?
That’s a very interesting question and one that many folks who are thinking about adopting a dog ask themselves. The answer is a resounding YES. Dogs are very resilient. Yes, they are loyal to their family, but they are also very adaptable – thousands of years of domestication make them perfectly suited to “love the one they’re with”.
When we rescued Jack five years ago, he had been with several families. He had been in the shelter for a year, although had previously been adopted and returned, so we know he had at least two families. When I went to visit him the first time, he seemed very bonded to the woman from the rescue. He stayed close to her side and seemed to listen to her. This same woman brought Jack to our house for a visit. Once again, he seemed bonded to her and I worried how I was going to manage this huge 105lb dog who had a mind of his own. Whenever I took the leash, he just wanted to go back to her.
But, once she left and it was just Jack and me…he immediately transferred his loyalties to me and became the biggest (both literally and figuratively) velcro dog I’ve ever had.
I think all dogs are different, and some may not be quite as fickle with their affection as Jack – but dogs adapt, it’s what they do, they live in the moment, love in the moment and are happy to be with someone who returns that love.