It's true! Benji (the current one starring in Benji: Off The Leash) was adopted from the Humane Society of South Miss after being found abandoned on the streets of Gulfport.
Now, granted, not every dog that is rescued will go on to fame and fortune, but; even if they don't whoever rescues them will generally be very happy they did so. There are thousands and thousands of animals in shelters all over the United States; and most of them would make a great pet.
Just because a dog ends up in a shelter doesn't mean that it's a poor choice for a pet; there are several valid reasons why the previous owner was not able to keep the dog. They may not have done their homework ahead of time, and found that the dog was not what they wanted; they may not have realized how much work a dog can be; or something as simple as having to relocate and not being able to take their dog with them.
There are three main reasons why a rescue dog should be your first choice when looking for a dog.
One, the shelters across the country is flooded with animals just looking for a home and you adopting a dog from the shelter frees up space so they can take another dog in.
Two, its a lot less expensive to adopt an animal from a shelter than from a pet store. For example, the Humane Society lists fees to adopt a dog from 45 to 160, depending on the size, breed, age and other factors. These fees include spaying/neutering, vaccinations and basic veterinarian care they receive at the shelter. To Contrast one website visited had puppies starting at 300 going up to 1600 for a bulldog puppy! 160 or less for a pet sounds much better than 300 or more.
Third, by adopting a rescue dog, you are saving that dogs life! It's a sad fact that the shelters just do not have the money to feed, or the space to board all the abandoned animals they take in. So, if a dog goes too long without being adopted the dog is destroyed to make room for another animal.
Now, those are three of the biggest Pro's to adopting a rescue dog. Unfortunately, there are some negatives. There are two main areas of concern, physical and behavioral.
First, there are physical ailments. The dog may have medical problems that are un-noticed at first, but gradually become noticeable. For example, Hip Dysplasia, which is a form of arthritis that affects dogs in the spine and can cause an animal severe pain if pushed or touched there. The pain can cause an animal to bite if hurt, which is a concern for parents of small children, who could fall on the animal and end up bitten. There are also skin ailments and external parasites to contend with, but they are treatable.
The more serious concern is behavioral issues because it takes patience and understanding in dealing with problems caused by something that happened before you brought the dog home. Some of the key concerns have to do with malnutrition. If a dog is malnourished as a puppy and young dog, it may develop a very possessive reaction to it's food, even its food dish and toys, and react badly to anyone coming close when it is eating.
Also, dogs that have been neglected may have difficulty being housetrained, simply because their prior owners did not allow them in the house, so anywhere was a good spot to 'do their business'. This is especially a concern where all the adults in the house work, and no one is there to let the dog out when needed.
As mentioned these behavioral problems can be adapted to, and addressed, as long as a new owner is aware the problem may arise.
There are several places where you can find dogs to rescue, starting with your local Humane Society, or ASPCA. You can also do a Google search if you are looking for a specific breed of dog to adopt, i.e. Greyhound or a Labrador retriever. You are sure to find plenty of places to pick up a new member of your family. That is what you are doing is adding a new family member.