"October is Adopt-a-Dog Month! Over the past few weeks, I've been providing you with my best tips and advice to prepare you to step up as the pack leader from day one if you decide to adopt this month. Choosing a dog is a decision that should be made with care and deliberation. A dog is not a toy or a clothing accessory; it's a living creature. Too often, a dog is adopted because it is "cute" or "fashionable" rather than based on the merits of its behavior and energy levels. When selecting a dog, it is vitally important to take into account how that dog's energy will harmonize with your own."
The above was written by Cesar Milan ... and no truer words were ever spoken.
All too often, people adopt a dog for the "wrong" reasons. Now, yes, it is commendable that people go to shelters, the pound, or even a local rescue group to save a life. However, just because you feel sorry for the dog, it's just the cutest little thing you've ever seen, or your children fell in love with the puppy, doesn't mean this animal will be a suitable "lifetime" member of your family. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT OWNING A PET IS, INDEED, A "LIFETIME COMMITMENT."
The biggest reason dogs are surrendered to pounds or shelters is because the owner didn't do their homework BEFORE getting the pet.
If you are looking to buy a specific breed ... and only from a reputable breeder (please do not support the Puppy Mill Industry by buying from your local pet store or from a "backyard" breeder), please research the breed and know what is required.
How big is this puppy going to be when it becomes an adult? What type of coat does it have and will it require regular grooming? Dogs that do not shed are great ... however, they do require frequent visits to the grooming salon ... or you're going to have to learn to do it yourself. Do you have the time or money for this?
What kind of a diet does this breed require? A lot of purebred dogs are surrendered when the animal develops skin and stomach issues from feeding a less expensive grocery store brand of food. Can you afford to purchase a higher quality, premium pet food, or even a Vet prescription food?
What kind of health issues are associated with the breed you have chosen? Can you afford the Vet bills to sustain this dog's quality of life should it develop heart problems, thyroid conditions, kidney or bladder issues?
What energy level is this dog .... couch potato or "SPAZ?"
Do you have the time and energy for daily walks after you've been gone all day at work?
Do you have the time and money for obedience classes for this new puppy? Please remember that puppies are like infants ... they do not come fully programmed. Yes, they are going to "wee wee" and "poop" all over your house until properly house-trained. And, let's not forget about the "chewing" stage. Puppies that are teething can devour almost anything in your home .. and often do.
Are you willing to clean up the "mess" and replace damaged furniture, woodwork, carpeting, etc.?
If you decide a Shelter/Pound dog is what you're looking for, please keep in mind that a lot of them do not have the time nor the staff to be efficient when evaluating a prospective adopter to ensure this is a good match. So, it's up to you to make sure the new dog or puppy is going to fit into your lifestyle. Once again, please do your homework as they don't have the necessary means to do it for you.
However, most rescue groups have an advantage over pounds or shelters. We DO have the time to evaluate our prospective adopters and can help guide you through what is required for the particular dog you have chosen.
We are often accused of being "picky," down right "mean" ... and sometimes even "discriminating" against people. This simply is NOT true. We know what type of home the animal needs, and it's our job to see that your home is a "good match" ensuring that YOU are going to be a Happy Pet Parent, and the dog has found it's forever home. After all, that is the goal ... a HAPPY ENDING for both dog and owner.
Also, remember that if you're looking for a specific breed, there are plenty of "breed specific" rescues in your area. They can be very helpful in providing information needed to make a good decision as to whether or not a particular breed will be compatible. If so, they can provide you with exactly what you've been looking for.
Let make this October's "Adopt A Dog Month" the best ever. Do your homework, ask yourself ... as well as everyone else in your household .... are we ready to make that lifetime commitment? If you can do this .... and answer "YES" to all the requirements of owning this particular pet .... then, HAPPY ADOPTION. It is my sincere wish that all of you enjoy a wonderful, happy lifetime with your new family member. If it's the "right" dog, you will never regret saving it's life. You will be rewarded with unconditional love. It just doesn't get any better than that, folks.
My best to all of you,
Jo Ann & "gang"