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Having a Dog

Loving and caring for a dog for the rest of his/her life is a big commitment. We strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and ask yourself the following questions. While we are not trying to dissuade anyone from bringing a dog into their life, we know that if the guardians of most rescued dogs had asked themselves these questions, it might have prevented many of them from being abandoned at shelters. Making an informed decision is the first step on the road to a new and wonderful life with your companion animal.

Why do you want a dog?

It’s amazing how many people fail to ask themselves this simple question before they bring an animal into their lives. Adopting a dog because it’s ‘the thing to do’ or the kids have been pining for a puppy usually ends up being a big mistake. Sharing your home with a dog can be one of life’s greatest joys. However, these furry friends require lots of time, affection, exercise, training and money. They develop very strong bonds with their guardians and need to be part of the family.

Are you and your family ready for that responsibility now?

If you do decide to adopt and you have young children or are planning a family, it is important to find the dog with the temperament and personality to do well with young children. Also, if you’re a student, in the military or travel frequently for business (or pleasure), you might want to wait until you are more settled and have more time to spend with your dog. Alternatively, we strongly urge you to consider a dog-walker and/or doggie day care if you have to away for long periods of time.

Do you have time for a dog?

Dogs cannot be ignored just because you’re tired or busy. They require being fed and walked (exercised) on a regular schedule, lots of care and companionship every day of the year and training. Many dogs end up in a shelter because the guardians didn’t realize how much time it took to properly care for their dog. Leaving a dog all day either confined or in a backyard is not the answer. Dogs that are emotionally neglected will show negative behavior. We recognize that dogs are part of the family as dogs are pack animals and have a strong need to belong and to be loved.

Can you afford a dog?

The monetary costs of dog guardianship can be quite high. Estimates range from $500.00 to $2,000.00 a year. Licenses, training classes, veterinary care, flea and heartworm prevention, food, grooming, toys and other expenses add up quickly. If a dog should get sick, costs can add up quickly. You also have to ask yourself if you can afford to have some of your belongings chewed up which often times comes with having a puppy around the house! Our dog trainer is available to help you with behavioral and training questions. We ask that you commit to taking your dog or puppy to training. This helps you to become a good team. If you have kids, we encourage everyone to participate in training so that the dog gets the same message. Dogs that have been well trained and are part of the family are much less likely to end up abandoned at shelters.

Can you have a dog where you live?

Many rental communities don’t allow pets, and those that do often have restrictions. Make sure you know if dogs are allowed where you live and that you have written permission to have the dog you want (e.g., some places won’t allow dogs over a certain weight or allow certain breeds). You will be required to have written permission from your landlord in order to adopt an animal from us.

Do you know where you’ll be living for the next 15 years?

More to the point, can you make the commitment to give a dog a home for life even if you’re unsure where you might move next? Can you commit to holding out until you find a rental that allows dogs, should you have to move? One of the main reasons that dogs end up in shelters is because their guardian moves. We want to avoid this happening to your new pet, so please consider whether you can commit to this. If not, we would love you to become a foster parent. We always have dogs in need of foster homes. Every foster home saves a life and can be a great alternative to adoption. (For information about moving with your pet, please check out our “How to Move with a Pet” page.)

Are your living arrangements suitable for the dog you have in mind?

Choose a dog that will be comfortable in your surroundings. Adopting an energetic dog to share your small apartment may not be a good idea. Your dog will need enough room to move around and play. Giving him/her enough off-site exercise will require quite a bit of time and activity on your part.

Who will care for your dog while you’re away?

If you sometimes travel places where you can’t take your canine buddy with you, you’ll need reliable friends, neighbors and family members, or the money to pay for a good boarding facility or pet-sitting service.

And last, but not least:

Are you prepared to open your home, your heart, and provide care for your new canine family member for the rest of his/her life? If your answer is yes, we would love to work with you to find the dog that will fit in with your lifestyle and needs and bring you joy.

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