Is your family ready to welcome a dog?

Are you considering adopting a dog for your family?

If so, we think that’s great… but before you rush to your local dog shelter, rescue group, or online adoption site, consider whether your family is fully prepared to accept the lifelong responsibility of dog protection.

And then take a moment to consider what type of dog will best suit the lifestyle of the family or person who will be the guardian of the dog.

For example, puppies need a lot of attention in terms of care, nutrition, potty training, socialization and exercise.

If your family is busy or you care for small children at the same time, consider adopting an older dog who may already be potty trained and not require the same care as a puppy.

Are you looking for a dog as companion for your father or mother or another senior? Then consider a senior dog. Older dogs can be great companions for seniors. They are perhaps very gentle and sweet in nature and the fact that they are in their golden years in terms of life expectancy may best suit a senior who is unable to care for a puppy now and for 15 years or more.

Do you know a special child or adult who may have a physical or other challenge? Some of the most beautiful experiences on record are those of disabled dogs interacting with children and adults who have problems. It seems that a special bond develops between humans and dogs as they tap into each other’s strengths and journey through life’s joys and support each other.

What about the cost of caring for a dog?

Bringing in a new dog is bringing in a new family member. If you have any qualms with that concept, don’t buy a dog, buy a toy. Dogs need love plus nutritious food, a warm and comfortable place to sleep in your home (not in your garage or yard), toys, vitamins, veterinary checks, dental care and grooming. If you live in a cold climate, many dogs need a coat when going outside in bad weather. This is just a start.

We have 2 small dogs and spend about $300. month on their nutrition, supplements and veterinary health insurance. If more is needed, we would gladly spend it, even if we have to sacrifice elsewhere.

Do you give Fido your time?

Puppies to older dogs all need your time and attention to varying degrees. Puppies need the most time, but even an older dog needs exercise, playtime and attention. If you think a bowl of food and water is all your dog needs to be happy, put yourself in his paws. Want to have some food placed in front of you and then be ignored?

I’ve seen too many families adopt a dog, leave the dog in the yard or garage all day without exercise or attention, and then wonder why behavior problems manifest

See also  Antique Farmhouses: A Great Family Heritage to Discover - Part III

Unfortunately, I have seen small dogs left alone to drown in a backyard fountain. Large dogs that rip up cushions in a garage may be returned to the shelter as incorrigible (they are often the first to be euthanized) and others left chained for their own good, as the owners call it. None of these people should have a dog.

If you’re considering getting a new dog, you’ll know you’re ready when you’re not only excited, but committed to the well-being of your new family member.

If you’re concerned about the quality of the food he eats, the veterinary care he receives, the training, grooming, exercise and time that only you and your family can provide, you’re ready for a dog.

My wife and I took our dogs on our honeymoon to California wine country. Why? Because they are part of our family. No one else would make sure their medicines and care are handled as well as we do. And most importantly, we wanted them with us. We stayed in a beautiful lodge and found fantastic dog friendly dining options and activities everywhere.