When you adopt a dog it isn’t as simple as waltzing into a shelter, pointing out a puppy, and walking away happily ever after. It’s a process, it can sometimes be long, and you want to be absolutely certain of your decision before you bring the dog home. After all, you will be spending the next 10+ years with this animal, so you want to be positive that you’re making the right choice!
Worst Time To Adopt A Dog:
- Right when school is about to start (if you have kids)
- Before you are planning to go away
- Before you have a house guest coming
- Any busy or hectic time in your household
- When you’re doing renovations on your house
- During extremely hot or cold weather
Best Time To Adopt a Dog:
- When everything is calm and settled in your house (many of you are thinking “yeah right, there’s no calm time in our house)
- When you have some time off and are around the home (during summer vacation if you have kids)
Things to Consider:
- How much time you’re able to commit-There are dogs to suit every level of availability, you just need to find them. Be honest with how much time you’ll be able to spend with the dog. If you’re out of the house for long hours and are unable to commit a lot of time to a dog, you may want to consider getting a low-maintenance dog when it comes to energy level, or hiring someone to fulfill the dog’s needs. You may also want to consider getting an older dog, as puppies need more constant attention.
- Physical limitations-If you have a physical limitation, it is important to consider that when choosing a dog. If it is better for you to get a dog that requires less physical activity, so that you can keep up with him, do it! Be realistic about your ability to be able to physically provide for him. Older dogs, and small breed dogs typically require less exercise.
- Financial situation-Dogs cost a lot of money. Be sure to research how much a dog will cost so that you are able to pay the proper amount in order to care for your dog.
- Living situation-Who you live with and what type of home you live in will alter the type of dog you get. Is everyone in the home happy about getting a dog? Is it pet-friendly where you live? You need to be sure that you have enough room, and that the people that you live with will be on board with caring for the dog.
After you have thought about these things, you’ll need to write up a list of your wants, needs, and deal breakers when it comes to a new pet. It helps to physically write this list, because then you can bring the list into the shelter to discuss it with the employees there, so that they may be able to help you find a dog that will check all of the boxes.
In this category you should write down all of the things that you desire in a dog. These things don’t necessarily need to be how the dog turns out, but they are preferences. In other words, write down your ideal dog in this category. In this category you can put particular breeds you’re interested in, the age of the dog, size, personality, etc.
This category is for all of the things that are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL in your new pet. These are the things that you simply won’t budge on. If you have all white couches, you can write “non-shedding” in this category. If you have any physical limitations, you can write “low maintanence physically”. Alternatively, if you live an active lifestyle you can write “must be physically active”. If you have another pet in the house it may be essential to you that they get along. And so on.
This category is for all of the things that you won’t be able to manage in a new pet. This category is great because it can be easy to walk into a shelter and fall in love with the first set of puppy-dog eyes you encounter, ignoring all of the problems that come along with that pup. Some of the common things that people will put in this category is “no barking”, or “must be good with children”. This is likely the most important category, so spend some time considering what is too much for you to handle. It is important to be a little bit lenient in this category. Some rescue dogs can come with a bit of emotional baggage, because in many cases their lives have been traumatic. There is no such things as a perfect dog, so be prepared to deal with some issues while the dog is settling into his new home.
*The content that goes into each of these categories are completely unique to each family situation. Something that may be a want for one person could be considered a need for someone else. I’ve provided examples for each of the categories, but, or course, adjust the content in each category to fit your family.
Knowing all of these things will help you to narrow down your search, and will make it easier to make a judgement based on your needs, as opposed to the infatuation that will come with looking at dogs. It is so easy to walk into a shelter, lock eyes with an adorable dog and ignore all of the warning signs. Having a list, and discussing it with the rescue facilitators, will make the search much smoother for everyone. Once you’ve made your list, it’s time to begin researching shelters and rescues, and meeting with dogs who may be your new family member.