I adopted Gatsby sight-unseen. Was it nerve-wracking making a life-long commitment to a dog I’d never met? Absolutely! But I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world. I wound up with an amazing companion who is 100% pure love and makes me smile every day. Still, especially when adopting a pet, it’s important to ask the right questions before taking the leap and bringing a puppy home. When I was making the decision to adopt Gatsby I probably exchanged over 30 emails back and forth with his foster and rescue advocates. While at times I felt like I might have been annoying them with my constant influx of questions, I’m really glad that I took the time to learn more about Gatsby’s temperament, health, history and personality prior to adopting him. Here are some of the questions I asked prior to adopting, I think it’s a good place to start!

History + Behaviour

  • How did he end up in a shelter or rescue?
  • How old is he?
  • Is there a history of abuse?
  • How is training going so far? Are there any specific commands that he responds to?
  • What is he like when left alone?
  • How is he around other dogs and people?
  • How does he act around children?
  • How does he act at mealtimes?
  • Has he had any practice walking on leash?
  • Does he bark a lot?
  • How does he react to other types of pets? (e.g. cats)


  • Where does he sleep at night? Is he being crate-trained?
  • What are his current weight and measurements? (to allow for purchasing the correct bed and harness prior to arrival)
  • What type of food has he been eating, and on what schedule?
  • Does he cope well with new situations, including car travel?


  • Has he been neutered?
  • Has he received any medications or treatments for parasite prevention so far?
  • What vaccinations has he had so far? (e.g. Leptospirosis)
  • Has he been checked for heart worm infection?
  • Has he been microchipped?


This post was first published on November 25th, 2014.