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Finding and Planning for a Family Dog

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Before you bring home a new dog, it would be prudent to decide who will feed, water, and walk the dog, and where the dog will sleep. Who will keep track of the dog’s care, shots, and medications? Who will do the house-training (good times)? What other rules should you update family members on?

The Humane Society is an excellent place to pick up a “rescue.” For a flat fee (generally a pretty reasonable fee at that), you can secure a dog that has been spayed or neutered and had its first round of injections. You will also have the satisfaction of owning a dog that has been rescued.

The City Pound is another good place to go. The negative aspect of this option is that the dog probably still needs to have all of its shots, to be fixed, and to be checked over by a veterinarian. The positive aspect is that you will have saved an animal from an almost certain death by injection.

Generally you are at somewhat of an advantage when buying an animal through a classified advertisement, as the seller will usually know the breed, age, and disposition of the animal.

If I were buying a dog from advertisements, I would buy an older dog because those seem harder to place. Then again, it would be difficult or impossible to buy an older dog and not wonder about its mortality. I guess that just depends on your level of sensitivity and what you’re looking for in an animal.

When considering breed, consider any experience you’ve had with particular breeds, and any wisdom you can glean from other experienced dog owners. You can also research breeds of interest on the Internet, and talk to reputable dog breeders.

Consider how many children are in the house, and how many children are frequent visitors. Would they try to saddle up a Great Dane, a Rottweiler, or even your poodle? Would they lounge and drool on or attempt to shave Snoopy the weenie dog?

Are there older people in your house, or people with specific sensitivities or even mobility problems? Will they be able to step over a snoring or stretching body?

Different breeds should be considered in relation to your family. The longer-haired or curly-haired breeds (Chow-Chow, Spaniels, Poodles, Labradors, some Dachshund breeds, etc.) can be a hair nightmare. It gets dirty and ends up in clumps on your carpet, your furniture, and sometimes your favorite silk drawers if you’re not willing or able to have the dogs groomed on a weekly basis.

Some people prefer a mutt, thinking that mutts don’t, for the most part, have the inbred-related issues that pure-breeds have. As an adult, I have always owned Chow-Chows. I have owned three of them, and since I lost two of them to cancer and the third had to have pre-cancerous polyps removed, I don’t think I’ll ever own a pure-breed again. I own a beautiful mutt now, and she is one of the smartest, cutest, most special dogs I’ve ever had. We’re definitely “gir’friends to the end!”

She’s a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix with some fuzzy Pancho eyebrows to indicate a Terrier presence. When people ask what kind of dog she is, I tell them that she doesn’t know. So there!

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About Ginae B. McDonald

  • You bring up some wonderful points. I hope you don’t mind if I add a bit more.

    Sometimes local petstores will sponsor weekly/bi-weekly adoption days. Checking around online can be a wonderful jumping off place in finding a new pet too. PennySaver and The Recycler both have pet sections, although some of those seem to be outlets for breeders (and don’t get me started…).

    Once you’ve keyed into a breed that you think will be a good fit for your family, type it’s name with the word ‘rescue’ behind it in your favorite search engine. This is an amazing resource for finding a dog (and it works for other animals as well). These people comb local pounds, shelters, etc. with the specifics of “their” breed and ofttimes the dogs they save have been tagged to be put down within a very short(24-48 hour) period of time.

    A rescue foundation deals in only one type of dog. They are run by people with no other goal than to place their dogs in loving, longterm homes. These people have big hearts and little pocketbooks, they don’t do what they do to make money. They may ask for a donation to complete an adoption but the reasoning is to weed out undesirables. I know of several that will waive the donation if they feel the match is right. They ask you a lot of questions and usually want to see the home where the dog will be living. To insure the fit is right, many offer a two-week trial period. Again, their goal is permanent placement into a kind, loving home.

    Ginae gave some great pointers for things to keep in mind before adoption. Mixed breed or pure, a dog can make a wonderful addition to any family.

  • Thank you. I appreciate you adding to my article 🙂

  • STM

    I have a Border Terrier, an English breed from the border of Scotland and England, the same area Border Collies come from. I bought her because she was offered to us as a pup after our other dog died.

    However, I already knew of the breed as my grandparents and some of our family originally lived in that area of northern England and when I was a boy, and visiting, the two breeds of dog were around the village.

    One of the local farmers had a little pack of BTs, which would lick you to death – unless you were a fox.

    They’re unbelievably friendly dogs, quite large for a terrier but not big, very loyal within a family environment and can’t keep their feet on the ground when you get home from work.

    The advantages: no heavy shedding, they have two coats, a top coat that can be stripped by hand and an undercoat that is the perfect outdoor wear for summer. We get virtually no hair in the house, although sometimes bits of the top coat will come out in a little clump, but it doesn’t spread everywhere.

    They also look like a mutt, which is great if you don’t want to be too ostentatious.

    My wife used to take her to to an enclosed dog park in a quite snooty suburb of Sydney, where all the nice women with their pure-breds and their designer labradoodles completely ignored her, possibly because they thought our girl was a mutt.

    Then one day, an Englishwoman brought her dog to the park, saw our pup and exclaimed: “Oh, what a darling little border terrier!”

    Ah, so now it’s a purebred! … Which then changed the social setting, although my wife has said she might actually have preferred to remain anonymous with her little brown dog.

    The only problem with borders is that because they’re still basically working terriers, they have minds of their own, which means they can’t be walked off leash – or left off leash – unless in an enclosed area.

    I do agree with Ginae’s rescue option though. I think if I were searching for a dog again (and hopefully that won’t be for a very long time), I’d be heading to the pound.

  • Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it!