“Mommy, can we get a puppy? Pleaseeee?” If you are beginning to wear down to this request, stop and consider adopting a “rescue” or “shelter” dog. Rescue dogs can be puppies, or already grown of various ages. Many communities have a local shelter where they house and feed stray pets. There are also internet sites with pictures and information on each adoptable animal. Before taking the family to the local shelter and falling in love with one of the many cute dogs, consider your family situation and the following questions.
What size dog will work in your home?
Dog breeds range from tiny to extra-large. If you are looking at a puppy, research the breed to find out how large the dog will be when an adult.
Do you have time to housebreak a puppy?
This requires frequent trips outside every two or three hours. Older dogs are often already trained. Shelters will provide any information they have regarding the animal’s habits.
How active are you?
There is also a difference in the activity level of different breeds. High energy dogs, like those in the herding group, require a great deal of exercise to be calm in the home. If you are a couch potato, then choose a dog breed that will match your habits. However, all dogs need to be walked every day, and many dogs end in shelters because the previous owners did not have the time to properly exercise them.
Will you keep the dog inside the house?
Considering the coat and grooming requirements. Also be in touch with your family member’s health issues. A child with asthma may be allergic to any pet you bring into the home unless it is a fish in a tank!
Will you commit to training?
Do you have the time and patience to train your dog manners, and obedience? A properly trained and exercised dog is a joy to have in your home and well worth the effort.
Is it love at first sight?
When you visit the shelter, observe how the dog reacts to you and your family members. It is important to make a good connection. A dog that will not come to you willingly and interact, may not be socialized and not a good match for your family.
If you have worked through the above questions and now feel ready to add a dog to your family, consider adopting a rescue dog. You will give a homeless dog a home and you will gain a loyal companion!