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New to this board and need some help please- looking to adopt a dog

August 15th, 2006, 05:47 PM
Hi everyone...I am a new member, and I was hoping someone more experienced with this site could help me. I do not have any pets, but we are desperately looking for a dog to fit our unique situation. Which forum can I do this in? I definately want to adopt an animal that needs a home, so we are not looking at breeders. Looking forward to chatting with everyone!

August 15th, 2006, 05:49 PM
Definately check out petfinder all you have to do is put in your zip/postal code and it will find pets needing forever homes in your area. Put you in touch with some rescues.

Im so happy that you are looking into a rescue dog!!!:thumbs up

August 15th, 2006, 06:02 PM
Welcome to the board and glad you a looking for a rescue dog. :thumbs up

You could alsocheck out the Rescue/Adopt a Dog Forum on this site. :dog:

August 15th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Petfinder is great. So's the local SPCA. (At least in my area) What part of the country are you from?

August 15th, 2006, 06:54 PM
I am from Fort McMurray, Alberta. Our local SPCA, unfortunately, does not have a dog that fits our needs, which is why I've been searching elsewhere. I've also checked Petfinder, but a lot of the dogs that may suit us are not allowed to go to a home with small kids. I was hoping I may find some sort of contact that would connect us to a dog that would be well suited. My son is 10 years old, and he has autism and is legally blind. I also have a very active 2 1/2 year old daughter. My son was around a friend's golden lab for 3 days, and he seems to have allergies, so we are looking for a dog that may be low allergenic. As a family, we would love a dog if we could find one that will fit in with our family. I don't know if we will ever find one, as we also want a medium-ish size. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to present them. I have been checking the Alberta rescue websites, as well as SPCA, but it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. :) Sorry if this posting was way too long.

August 15th, 2006, 07:06 PM
A bichon is low allergy but it's smallish. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice from others on this forum. :dog: :pawprint:

August 15th, 2006, 07:12 PM
Poodles are about as non allergenic as they come and they come in 3 sizes. Maybe something with a rougher coat such as a terrier - the wire-hair coats seem to fall out less then those fluffier dogs such as goldens.

August 15th, 2006, 07:26 PM
If you can you should try to have your son spend some time with different breeds of dogs to see if something would be non allergic for him. (Agility trials attract dogs of all breeds also any dog shows would provide you with an opportunity to test them out)
It would be traumatic for you and for the puppy if allergies made you unable to keep the dog.
Poodles do seem to be a good choice, but bichons, shih tzus, and other nonshedders could be a good match for you also.
I personally like the Shih Tzu breed. I have two sons ages 10 and 12. The Shih Tzu is very good for them they are a little dog but, sturdy enough to take rough active play.

August 15th, 2006, 07:51 PM
I've been looking up different breeds that may be low allergenic. Many terrier breeds included. Here is one of the links I have been referring to:

I'm finding quite a few poodles on rescue sights, but the problem is that most of them cannot go to a home with small children. Thx.

August 15th, 2006, 07:57 PM
That is a pretty good list! Personally, Airedale Terriers and Cairn Terriers are my favorites on that list.

Stay away from those designer mixes though. Most labradoodle, schnoodles, or whatever poodle mixes they are end up in shelters or rescues are there because someone in the family was allergic.

August 15th, 2006, 08:00 PM
Don't most dogs on that list end up in rescue because somebody is allergic? I mean, the golden doodles and labradoodles are most likely, but no dog is really hypoallergenic. If you want a dog that is on that list, I suggest going around to breeders or people fostering those breeds and staying in the presence of their dogs for a while (especially the adults) to see if there is a reaction.

August 15th, 2006, 08:15 PM
I work in the developmental services field and animals can be great for children with autism it can really be a beneficial friend for them to have. however you are going to want too look in to a breed with a great temperment for children. you'll also want to have you children interact with the dog alot before adopting. some dogs can seem fine with children at first however they can start to loose their cool when there is too much. depending on how severe your son's allergies are a labradoodle may be a great choice (some are more allergic than others) .this breed is usually great for children (esp if socialized from a young age) and are fairly tolerant they also come in a variety of sizes (from the poodle's varying sizes). Also depending on your son's needs, there are trainers who specified in helping train dog for those with special needs, not as a walking dog but helping to desensitize the dog to any behaviours that may occur (contact you local CNIB) but i dont know if you'll need that, but obedience training will be a definate must:)
but good luck on your search on finding a new addition to your family :) hopefully you can find a perfect fit to add joy and love to your family

August 16th, 2006, 02:36 PM
One reason the dogs listed below are listed as hypoallergenic is simply because they shed less.

I don't have experience with all the dogs on the list, but the list has cockapoo on it, and one cockapoo can be DRASTICALLY different than another. You can NOT mix 2 different breeds and make them come out the same every time. I've also never seen a cockapoo that doesn't shed.
My cousin has had 3 of them and they were all heavy shedders.
Not to mention less shedding does not necessarily equal smaller allergic reaction.
The only way to knowingly make a less hypoallergenic dog (besides cloning or something) would be by breeding a purebred dog to be less allergenic. You could breed this trait into a dog just like any other trait, which is why poodles tend to shed less and be less allergenic. You can't however make a less allergenic dog by crossing 2 different breeds. A couple of the dogs could turn out how you want but by mixing genetics of 2 different breeds (especially ones that weren't bred with common traits) you can't get the same traits every time.
By mixing dogs like a labrador and a poodle, all you end up with is a set of puppies that could carry some or no traits of either breed.
Labradors shed a lot, poodles don't, so all the puppies could shed a lot, none of them, half of them, 75% of them, 25% of them, get my point? And there's no way to test and see if they're really hypoallergenic until someone buys them and finds out they're allergic.
I would suggest taking your son to meet several types of purebred dogs that are known to cause less allergies in some people, such as poodles (notice I said SOME, a dog can cause allergies in one person and not another) and see if he has a reaction, that's really the only way you can know.

August 16th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Yes you will want to have your dog spend alot of time with the perspective dog to see if he has an allergy to them. you may also want your doctor to do an allergy test to specify what of the dog you son is allergic to. Was this the first time your son had an allergic reaction to a dog? Was their hives, etc or just a stuffy nose. Sometimes ppl devlop a stuffy nose and itchy eyes around dogs because their hair and dander is an irritant, doesnt nessecarily mean you're allergic its a sensitivity, hence having an allergy test would be a good idea, as well as spending a considerable amount of time with the animal. and if a labradoodle or cockapoo (or other mixed breed w/ an non allergic dog) would be something your interested in (although you would need to go to a breeder for this) there are multi-generational labradoodles(and others mentioned) that are non(although no dog is completely non)allergic. they do this by breeding 2 labradoodles that share the same nonallergic genes. However if you are set on a rescue, finding a purebred would be difficult. Most rescues (unless the dog was surrendered w/ paper work) that will guarentee a dog is purebred so you would have no gaurentees about its "allergen producing" background. So if a rescue is what you are set on make sure there is alot of time spent with the animal. although some people have lost their "allergies" over the years a true allergy has more severe reaction over every encounter and can lead to anaphalactic shock. Best of luck to you in you search

August 17th, 2006, 09:55 AM
Have you thought about a Greyhound? I have two and both are great with little kids. They have very gentle temperaments, and they don't shed much which could be good for someone with allergies. The only thing is that they come from a racetrack environment so they have to be slowly introduced to little children because they've often never been with kids before. Mind you, that is the same for any dog. Good luck.

August 17th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Have you thought about a Greyhound? I have two and both are great with little kids. They have very gentle temperaments, and they don't shed much which could be good for someone with allergies. The only thing is that they come from a racetrack environment so they have to be slowly introduced to little children because they've often never been with kids before. Mind you, that is the same for any dog. Good luck.

A Greyhound, might be a good choice. My aunt adopted a Greyhound that used to race but was injured and was taken to a shelter. He is great with the neighborhood kids and is very calm and loving, my uncle has MS and the dog stays constantly by his side, as if he's there in case he would fall. Greyhounds are very good dogs and low allergenic.

August 17th, 2006, 08:36 PM
Due to your family circumstances, it might be easier to find a dog thru a rescue that fosters dogs in home to evaluate than a shelter, a shelter may not know enough about the dog to know how it will fit in a family setting

Is a larger dog out of the question???

A retired racing greyhound is no where near as active as one would think and they come in large range of personalities that one can be found to fit is most home situations. I know here we have place with elderly adults who want a companion but need a dog that is quiet and calm and low on maintaince and exercise needs, with families with babies and with a single wheelchair bound handicapped adult. Some of the race track trainers will take some of their dogs to senior homes for therapy work while they are still racers. I had one foster dog that had some prior therapy work without any training and was requested by an adopter who was interested in therapy work Nitro passed his St John's Ambulance therapay dog training with flying colors only a couple of months after adoption shortly after his 2nd birthday, his brother Matt was adopted a year later by the same person and is also a therapy dog.

A greyhound has a single coat and does not have oily skin so many people that have allergies can do well around greyhounds, because they are a very sensitive calm and gentle breed they make ideal therapy dogs, including using for with children with reading difficulties, or in children therapy settings, many can sense when a person has special needs, a young goofy male tends to be better and more tolerant around very young children. though some females would be fine too, I would not recommend those that are shy, a boisterous child can be very unnerving to a shy dog. Most greyhounds are very people oriented and will come and quietly lean on you when they want to be petted but not demanding or pushy for attention. They are indoor dogs only and must be kept on leash when outside of a fenced enclosure.
The majority are lazy dogs so do not require a lot in the way of exercise. A couple of the adoption groups in Alberta that foster greyhounds so as to know how they will fit into a home and how they will do around children and other animals and can help find the best match for your home, if they don't have one currently that they feel would be a good match they can often check with other adoption groups in the US and bring one in, They can probably arrange to have you and your family meet some greyhound beforehand so as to test for allergic reactions, most greyhound groups offer after adoption support incase problems crop up, whether it is advice on medical, or with behavioural, training or settling in problems or help locating sitters etc.
Because of the age of your youngest child most greyhound groups will recommend that you read “Childproofing Your Dog”
by Brian Kilcommons

This group has more dogs arriving the end of september

The next group is in Idaho but has reps looking after british columbia and alberta

they have one male that I would think would be a great match
Tag No: 4622
Name: Johnny
Registered Name: RN's Forrest Gump
Age: 2
Color: Brindle

They also have an 8 1/2 year female named Prima that loves children and Bella a 5 year old who is on seizure meds

Others may be a possibility but may need to be moved into a foster home with a young child for testing first just to be sure

August 17th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Leane, after reading some of the last few posts, maybe you should really consider a greyhound. Any thoughts about this?

August 18th, 2006, 10:04 PM
Hi Leane
I work also in the field for special needs. I also know of a group in Alta, that does provide a dog, training for kids who do have autism and other physical handicaps.
I will try to find out more.
For a service dog, I would look into a a non-shedding dog and a lab is not one of them.
I watched a show last week on Goldendoodles, and yes it is a designer breed, and the people who breed them here in Canada and the US do not do the nessacary testing before breeding. This show was taped in either New Zealand or Australia and the price of a pup was like 2500 dollars..
ANyway, different topic..
I will try to find out more..Marion

August 18th, 2006, 11:53 PM

You should contact PADS; Pacific Assistance Dog Society. I am going to foster/puppy-raise puppies for them if I can soon. They are not rescue dogs, but are specially trained (like guide dogs for the blind) for helping people be independent. I think because of the extremely unique situation you have, where you need a dog who is hypo-allergenic (though you should have your son allergy-tested because some supposed pet allergies are actually to things the animals track around, like pollen or dust), who can help with the autism and who can help your son get around (ie guide dog). You may not be able to get a dog right away, but I'm sure they'd be willing to help you try to find one.

I appreciate your search to find one in a shelter or rescue environment, but I think in this case, you'd be better suited to getting a specially trained dog who can help your son adapt to life and be independent.

The PADS website (with all the contact info) is at

Please also check into the allergy tests. If he *is* allergic to dogs (or just certain breeds), you can probably find some medication that helps with the allergies; I personally think that all blind people should have a guide dog, and many many studies have shown how well autistic children respond to dogs, so the fact that your son is blind and autistic, in my mind, means he would benefit *a ton* from having an assistance/guide dog.

You should also contact Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind ( or the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind ( though both say they only give dogs to those over 16--you may be able to convince them that your son needs a service dog *now*. I would personally lean toward PADS, though. Oh, I just found this, and it will *certainly* help you:
Here is a quote from the page:
A letter from a 4 Paws Mom regarding Autism Assistance Dogs:

Tyler didn't talk at that age either. In fact the 'experts' told me when he was about 4 1/2 that I should not expect to ever be verbal. At about 5 he began to speak more than one word at a time. He could run a computer at 3, but said nothing. He used the PECS boards, sign language and PC to communicate when forced to. Otherwise he much preferred his own company. Never give up on the verbal thing no matter what they tell you.
The friend issue didn't really come up until about age 9 when it dawned on him that his year older brothers friends were just that...'his brother's friends'...not his. He is smart enough to know he is different and know he has no friends of his own. By age 10, this knowledge coupled with a nightmare of a special ed teacher had Tyler suicidal and thus the Psychiatrist prescribed a service dog for him. It has done the world for Tyler. He now has a BEST friend who is nonjudgmental and incessantly forgiving. My son literally began living again for that dog. Scooby Doo has opened many new worlds for Tyler. The other kids (neighborhood/school) are quite cruel by around the age 6 with 'different' kids, but now some of those same kids are so amazed and drawn to Scooby that they often overlook a lot of Tyler's eccentric behaviors. Naturally, some kids are still beastly, but it is easier for Tyler because he is so proud to have his best friend. When we first thought of getting a service dog, I did not know exactly what to expect either. I am not disappointed. He has helped Tyler grow in ways I could not even have guessed. Tyler feeds him, brushes him, takes him out and is overall much more responsible. He has even developed a bit of empathy which does not come easily for our children. I don't think he would have been ready for Scooby as young as 3, but the search and rescue aspect would have been a Godsend. Tyler was a wanderer as well. If Jules wanders, I hope you are getting this training. Wandering seems to be a typical aspect of young autistic children since they have no inhibition. He hated the feeling of clothes so often he would strip and leave. We had 3 sets of locks on the doors to try to prevent him, but his gross motor skills were always way advanced and he could climb with the best of them so he did escape time to time. No matter what anyone says, you just cant watch them every second of the day and that is all it takes. Maybe if children with autism are given service dogs as young as Jules, they won't have to go through the depression and void of friends like Tyler did. Every child deserves a best friend even if it is furry and has 4 paws.
Edited to add; should you get approval from the 4Paws people to raise funds to get a dog (it's cool, they are a rescue organization, too!), I'd send money to help in your fundraising! I'm sure others in this board would offer as well.

I wish you all the best and I hope that you find the dog you are looking for.


August 19th, 2006, 11:50 AM
We are getting a Goldendoodle its a golden retriever mixed with a standard poodle, they are great for people with allergies. They shed little to no hair maybe look into those!

August 19th, 2006, 12:07 PM
If you are getting a goldendoodle I hope it's from a rescue and not a BYB.

These dogs are just mutts and the people that breed them are only looking to make money by coming up with a cute designer name. :mad:

They are not hypoallergenic and it's pet dander that causes allergies not fur. ;)

Angies Man
August 19th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Great post Melissa! :thumbs up

I'm the poodle guy here, I guess. And they do have some special benefits (other than generally being very nice, gentle, extremely intelligent creatures.) They do not shed for one thing. They lose a little hair but no major piles of dog hair on the furniture, clothes, etc. And they are a very low odor dog. As far as being hypo allergenic, they are lower probably because they don't have fur (it's hair!), they need to be periodically groomed (washed, dried, and clipped,) and very few of them are other than house dogs. They are very clean dogs.

Grooming can be expensive, your son's dog could use some sponsors to help on this. Grooming doesn't have to be fancy--my last poodle looked spectacular with a utility cut--but it has to be done on a regular basis and by a gentle groomer. I know a poodle that gets a 'tune up' once a week, but realistically every 4 to 6 weeks is okay--and a winter cut is a lot different from a summer cut.

If you're looking for a poodle for a service dog, you will need to get a Standard Poodle. They run about 50 to 60 pounds, about 25 to 28 inches at the shoulders. Standards and Minatures (shorter than 15 inches at the shoulder) are very comparable in intelligence, ease of training, and personality. A Standard Poodle would be large enough to work as a guide dog.

Poodles tend to go into a business mode when in their training collar or harness. Very attentive, pretty decent concentration. But like lots of breed, when not in business mode, they are real goofs.

To tell the truth, I've never seen a Std. Poodle guide dog--never heard of one, either. But the breed would be well suited by temperment. Poodles were tried by the military during WW2, as guard dogs, trackers, cadaver dogs, etc. They could do the work, but didn't do well in the military scheme--they are gluttons for attention and affection. :angel:

If you decide to get a Poodle for a service dog, you need to let the training agency help you find it. They need to screen and evaluate the puppy. Poodles personalities can range from very calm to very rambunctious. And the rambunctious ones tend to snap (my last poodle was a snappish male and bit me a couple of times, while I tried to groom him.) You want a puppy from the calmer end of the spectrum. Prospective service poodles should be no younger than 12 weeks when they are evaluated. Really young puppies don't have their personality at all developed. At 12 to 16 weeks, they LOOK like young dogs, and their adult personality is beginning to show--and training can start at 12 weeks. I would strongly suggest a female, get her spayed after her first estrus and have gastroplexy (sutures the stomach to the body cavity wall) done to help protect her from gastric torsion (GDV) which can kill her. If you get a male, have him altered in his first year, and have the gastroplexy.

I know you want to get a rescue dog, I think I'd prefer you get a really good puppy from a great breeder. There are some wonderful ones out there who will sell you a suitable, non show quality pup. Probably at reduced or no cost. (The great breeders tend to be pretty decent people.) And YOU and your children need to meet the puppy's parents. They are the best indicator what the puppy will be like when she grows up. You might be able to find a suitable rescue Poodle, but it may be a difficult and slow process. And having a dog trained as a service dog is going to take time. Also, tho, rescue dogs can come with baggage (sorry rescue people.) It'd be best to start with as blank a slate as possible--and you definitely don't want a dog that's been neglected or abused.

I think this is very important. Take your time, do your homework, and be extremely careful. This dog is going to have to do triple duty, be a family companion, a service dog for an autistic child, and a guide dog (we hope.) :dog:

Angies Man
August 19th, 2006, 01:00 PM
We are getting a Goldendoodle its a golden retriever mixed with a standard poodle, they are great for people with allergies. They shed little to no hair maybe look into those!

Folks here tend to take a dim view of "designer" hybrids. Poodle/Retriever crosses may get the poodle type hair. But they may alternatively get the retriever type fur. Genetics are funny that way. With a poodle, you know what you're getting--with a mix, it's a gamble. You may get a hybrid that combines the best of both breeds (hybrid vigor) or you may get a ticking timebomb with health problems.

Goldendoodle is a cute name--sounds a lot beter than a Golden Repoo.

Nothing against your puppy, but the generally expressed opinion here is that GoldenDoodle "breeders" are profiteers. (Profiteering is not being considered a nice thing.) That they charge pretty outrageous prices for dogs that are basically mongrels. (Pekipoos, terripoos, beagleboxs, etc. are all mixed breeds.)