There are many animal shelters in Massachusetts. But I can only speak about Animal Rescue League of Boston because I used to volunteer there. For three years, I saw their adoption services first-hand. I was, and continue to be, very impressed. I also adopted two cats from ARL, so I have a real soft spot in my heart for them.
If you’re thinking about adoption, take your time. Go there and look around. Get a sense of the place. Canine adoption starts with an initial in-depth counseling session geared to help prospective “parents” clarify their preferences and lifestyle factors. (See my blog on “How much is that doggy in the window?”)
Attached to each cage is a helpful description about each dog’s needs with regard to home environment and whether s/he gets along with other animals and/or children. Don’t be afraid to ask the helpful staff for help. They know an amazing amount about the animals and have a real passion for their work.
It’s affordable. Adoption fees cover all necessary vaccinations, neutering and microchip. And by the time dogs makes it to adoption, they have been thoroughly screened for health, temperament and aggression.
There is also post-adoption counseling to help new parents deal with any behavioral issues that may come up, continued veterinary care (if you choose it), and a variety of canine classes such as agility or obedience training. AND at the end of the day, you also have the satisfaction knowing that you’ve given a good home to an animal that wouldn’t have one without you.