You\u2019ve heard the highly campaigned slogan \u201cAdopt don\u2019t Shop\u201d, aimed to encourage those interested to be furparents to pick up their future pets from animal shelters instead of purchasing them from breeders. Over the past year, since the Covid-19 pandemic started making a foothold in the country, many people began to purchase or adopt dogs to liven up the atmosphere in the home. While purebred dogs are beautiful with characteristics that will tell owners their prospective size, behaviour and health, mixed-breed ones have lower chances of developing genetic health issues. Others also wonder if these dogs, purebred or mixed-breed, will connect with young children and not cause harm to them. Then there is also talk about expenses - how much will it cost to adopt a dog? Image credit: Pexels We sit down with My Forever Doggo\u2019s Jason Chow as he breaks down the all-you-need-to-know about dog adoption and the expenses to expect. MH: How did My Forever Doggo come about? Jason: My Forever Doggo came about when we realised that the number of dogs that need a home is way higher than adoptions. We realise that a lot of people want dogs, and a lot of people wants to adopt as well, but they don\u2019t know how to get started. Also, unlike pet shops, dog shelters are usually far away, not in the shopping mall where purebred dogs are sold. These shelters do not smell good as pet shops because there is no air conditioning, and these dogs up for adoption are not styled to look good. Image credit: Pixabay So that\u2019s where the idea came about. We decided to make the dogs look good because they are pretty too, but many people don\u2019t take notice. They are special, just like the dogs in the pet shop. What we do is we take beautiful pictures of them and market them online. We bring the dogs for adoption from different shelters far away onto a known space - that is Instagram, a centre that catches a lot of eyeballs. MH: Do you think it is suitable for families with young children to adopt dogs? Jason: Yes. Although, when it comes to children, size is important. Of course, one that is not too big like a Great Dane. The dogs that are up for adoption are very suitable because they are not too big or too small. Many people prefer small dogs because they think that small dogs are more suited for children. However, the benefits of getting a small or medium dog are the same. Small or medium-sized dogs will be better because it may be dangerous to put a three-year-old with a large 30kg dog. Image credit: Pexels MH: What are the benefits of having children grow up with dogs at home? Jason: Kids who have dogs have higher self-esteem; they are more passionate towards others because they can learn how to take care of something that depends on them. They are generally happier too. How? Many kids are so comfortable when it comes to talking about their problems, but we have heard people saying that their kids actually talk to dogs. It helps them become expressive and connected to their emotions, and not keep it bottled up. It keeps children healthier physically too as owning a dog includes going for walks or even running around at home. Nowadays, this is something kids are missing out on, especially now. MH: How much does it cost to adopt a dog? Jason: There are a few cases, some dogs are free, but most cost RM80 to RM250 and sometimes more. For example, some shelters request RM250 as a fee, and others make RM250 as an optional donation. They ask for donations because of the cost of feeding the dogs before you adopt, medication, neutering and the stay. For these expenses, some shelters ask for a fee, and some ask for donations. At My Forever Doggo, we do not take public donations as we are privately funded. We take pictures of dogs available for adoption, post them on Instagram so our audience can \u2018shop\u2019 for them. Image credit: My Forever Doggo MH: What does a family who wants to adopt a dog have to do once they bring it home? Jason: Once they adopt the dog from the shelter, it is very important that they bring them to the vet because they don\u2019t know if there are any issues with the dog. Also, do ensure the dogs have their necessary supply like food, dog bone, bed, grooming supplies, and all that. After you make sure they have their supply, you also have to prepare your home for the dog. Give them a safe space where they pee and poop, where they can go when they want to be alone - like a safe space. Once they have a safe space, you can show the dog around because this new home is a very strange place. They might react very differently from being in the shelter and being brought home. So, show the dog around, be very patient and let it explore the space. They will usually sniff everywhere, so let them sniff and go around. It is also very important to introduce your family members to the dog. Image credit: Pixabay MH: You mentioned going to the vet and buying dog essentials. What are the other possible costs others must spend after adopting a dog? Jason: Medication is usually the main expense. There are cases where the dog you adopt is too young to get vaccinated, so the shelter might not have spayed or neutered it yet. If so, you should ensure you have the funds to get your dog spayed and neutered. Spaying usually will cost around RM200 to RM250 for a female and around RM150 to 200 for a male. When we talk about medication, which is usually a sudden expenditure, do remember that it is usually cheaper to care for Malaysian specials - that is what we call dogs up for adoption instead of mongrels. These dogs are pretty strong. Therefore, the medication that they need is usually very common, like fever and an infection. Compared to exotic dogs, if you take a big dog like a Malamute, their large size may cause them to have a hip bone issue. Once the hip bone issue happens, you have to spend thousands and thousands on the dog. In that perspective, I would say that one should prepare, I would say around RM500 to RM1000 under post-adoption costs. Other stuff to get are accessories, like a dog bowl and toys, which you can easily get within RM100. Image credit: My Forever Doggo MH: Then where does My Forever Doggo fit in in the adoption procedure? Jason: We have a heavy operation on Instagram, and when customers reach out, they tell us which one of the dogs they want from what we have posted. Having taken photos of the dogs, we know where the dogs are from. For example, we tell them this dog is from SPCA. So we will pass a form to sign up, then pass it to SPCA. The shelter will contact them within 24 hours. MH: How do you know if a family is ready to adopt a dog? Jason: Shelters usually conduct an interview to gauge the suitability of the dog to the family. But I think a family is ready to adopt a dog when they are sure if they can afford the basic needs like their food, grooming and toys. As for medication cost, RM1,000 bucks sounds scary, but it usually costs lesser. The family also has to ensure who is responsible for the dog. They have to ensure that someone is able to take turns to care for it and is ready for the commitment. Sometimes, people just want a dog because they are cute, but we are talking about a commitment of 10 to 20 years. Image from My Forever Doggo If they know the depth of the commitment, then it\u2019s a good sign that they have time to care and socialise with the dog. A dog is not meant to be tied and left alone or to take care of the house as if it is their job. The last is that they are educated in dog well-fair issue, this is a very important one. You have to be educated on dog welfare issues, meaning that you are responsible to spay and neuter, get the dog vaccinated and not letting it run everywhere outside the confines of your home. Knowing all about ownership will prevent more issues in the future like abandonment or abuse and all that kind of stuff. Are you ready to introduce a dog to your home? Image credit: My Forever Doggo Do a house check, a heart check, a bank check and remember to check with the members of your family if they are keen on introducing a dog into the home. Only when everything is in line do you bring your new family member home. One thing is for sure, your new forever doggo is going to be a source of joy to every member of the family.