If you feel an unbelievable urge to pet every dog that passes you by, or miss green lights when a pooch in the car next to you is wagging his tail in a loving “hello,” it might be time to adopt one of your own. Darling wants to help you in the process in deciding if it’s the right time to invite a new member of the canine family into your home. Some of this advice comes from Alli Lange and Julia Pennington from A Dog’s Life Rescue, in Los Angeles, CA. They helped me clear up some misconceptions many of us have about getting a pet. Being aware of the responsibilities is the first step we should take in pet adoption.

You want a puppy? 

Mind you puppies are so adorable, and huggable, and lovable and affectionate and…okay I’m done. Really, who doesn’t like puppies? So it’s natural that we all want to have one first off, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that they also come with a lot of energy. Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend and you want someone to love you unconditionally, but before getting a dog we must examine our emotional motives. Yes, dogs can fulfill an emotional need but they are a long-term commitment. Your dog will love you when you come home, but will you be willing to pick up after him/her, feed them, and bathe them for the extent of their life? Not only do puppies have a lot of energy, but also they require much more training than an older canine. They have to be walked more because their bladders are the size of a peanut, and require a little more TLC. Maybe you already have a dog, and you want to bring another one in to the home; Julia from the rescue center says, “other dogs need to meet to meet the new dog, or later you will have a dog who will be dog aggressive.” So, if you decide that you want to have a puppy, make sure that you are have the time and energy to care for them. With this relationship the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

You want a rescue?

We all know that the shelters in our communities are overflowing with animals who just need a home. Rescue dogs come with some risks because they have abandonment and behavioral issues. Some of them come with medical problems that have to be constantly treated. Although this can be difficult, the benefits of saving a dog from being euthanized are endless. If you are unsure about just walking into an animal shelter, then maybe working through an adoption shelter might suit you. Alli from A Dog’s Life shares: “With many adoption shelters, they take you through an application process. The longer the application, the more they know their dogs, and that enables them to pair the pooch with the best family.” There are so many places and options for people who want to adopt; just make sure to do some research on a company before you work with them. The Humane Society is a great start!

You want a dog that is well behaved?

Out of all the rugs in your apartment, why does your friend’s dog find your only designer rug? We have all experienced a misbehaved pooch. Be prepared to lose a favorite pair of shoes or your childhood teddy bear you had safely tucked away. Knowing what your dog’s personality might be is like picking lotto numbers. There are a few breeds that seem a little “well-mannered” than others such as Shiba Inus or Hounds, but most likely you will get one that is full of his own quirks. I know you want a cute dog, but you want to make sure that their personalities fits yours–much like picking a mate. Thank God there are dog training classes and books on your specific breed of dog. No matter where you decide to pick up your pet, it’s best to pick up a few guides to help you along as well.

You want to know how much it costs to have a dog?

Having a pet is like having a small child. They will need food, baths, exercise, toys, and quality time. If you decide to board your pet while you are away at work or vacation, prices are not so cute. When you first get your dog, you have to pay to have it vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and even micro chipped (in case it gets lost). Next, you have to pay for the insurance (please get this as it will save you money in the long run), plus the veterinarian costs–all in all it can cost up to $2,000 a year to have a dog. It is a financial commitment but the return on investment is priceless.

You want to change your mind?

Please don’t be afraid of getting a dog, just be smart about it. Having a dog is an amazing experience both for the pet and the owner. Maybe you know you aren’t ready for a dog. Maybe try having a cat–since they have more independent spirits, they are perfect if you work long hours. Try maybe something even smaller like a hamster, or bird, or fish. There are many cats and other animals who need rescuing as well. Now is not my time to adopt, so in the meantime, I have managed my feelings by watching a lot of Animal planet and reading books like “Jack the Dog” or “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” These are good resources if you want to deal with your hankerings. Don’t forget that you can also volunteer at an animal shelter. A dog is truly a man’s best friend, and you always want to be careful with the friends you choose.


Photo Credit: http://paris2london.tumblr.com/post/15318566319