Go to the shelter and ask to see adoptable dogs. Someone will show you the dogs that are up for adoption and allow you to interact with dogs you are interested in. They will ask you questions to find out what you're looking for - if you want a particular age, sex, or breed; if you have kids, other dogs, or cats in your house; if you've ever owned a dog before; if your yard is fenced in, etc. - and show you the dogs that match with what you want.
If there is a dog you want, you can fill out an adoption application, and the shelter will look it over. The applications can be pretty extensive - remember that the shelters are trying to find the best homes to make sure the dogs will not be put back in a shelter. The application will probably be processed within a few days and they will call you to tell you whether or not it's been accepted. Many shelters do not hold dogs, so the dog you originally wanted may not still be at the shelter by the time they get back to you, but if it's not you will be able to look at more dogs and your app will always be on file if you want to come back in a few weeks. Adoption fees can be anywhere from $0 - $400.
Most shelters also list on http://www.petfinder.com/ so check there too.
ADD: To what VAL said - do NOT get a puppy from a pet store. They ALL come from puppy mills, no matter what lies the employees tell you.
· 6 years ago