I am so tired of seeing all of the dogs in the shelters, especially in this recession. Some people think owning a dog is cool, but when things go sideways, the dogs are the first to go. When I worlked at a shelter, we had "Divorce dogs", "Foreclosure Dogs" and "Yuppie Dogs", whose labels related to the circumstances that led to them being here.
So many people look at a dog as an accessory, but it's an animal, dammit. I knew this one clueless bimbo who used to adopt dogs from the Humane Society, but she never trained them or spent any time with them. Then, when they growled or barked or skooted on the carpet, she would promptly return the offending mutt to the shelter. And then she'd get another dog, until it did something wrong, and then she would return it as well. On top of it, this woman would tell people, "Look at me--I'm the second coming of St. Francis Assisi--my dog is a rescue!" What a charade!
Okay, you have decided that you want a dog. It’s a big decision and tons of responsibility comes along with it, but you’re committed to let a canine into your life. Here are a series of steps to take before making the jump to the doggy side:
1.) Do your research. There are literally thousands of books to read about the 150 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.
2.) When you’re looking at breeds, keep the following factors in mind:
-The size of your house and yard. (If you only have a patio or a small apartment, you don’t want to consider a large dog for obvious reasons.
-The size of your family. (Some dogs all fine with children while some don’t do as well with children.)
-Your budget. (Vet bills, dog accessories and food aren’t cheap. Pure breeds are more expensive and adopting or rescuing dogs is a great low-cost move. Please it’s a karma thing, because you’ll feel better saving a dog’s live.)
-Your time considerations. (If no one is home most of the day, it may not make sense getting a dog. Unattended dogs can develop serious behavior problems down the road.)
-Liability. (If your dog attacks someone, for example, are you okay with the drama and possible legal fees?)
3.) Get Real! Think of all the intangibles and realize the financial ramifications. If your dog starts having seizures and you get a bill for say--$2,000 from your vet? Are you prepared for something like that? Also, do you have kids around all the time and nasty neighbors? Will you kill the animal when it poops on your favorite Indian rug? Will the dog end up causing friction between your significant other when the dog starts peeing on your bed spread? Been there done that! Make sure you and your mate are on the same page about the dog. My wife loves playing with the dogs, but who picks up the poop and does most of the walking? Just take one guess.
If you can answer the questions above and still want a dog, here are some of the most popular breeds to choose from:
-Retrievers (Labrador): Gentle with kids and old folks. Easy to train and very loyal.
-Yorkshire Terriers: Great attitudes but can develop health issues down the road.
-German Shepherds: Smart, but don’t do well without a ton of human interaction. This is not the type of dog you can leave in the backyard.
-Retrievers (Golden): A very friendly breed and ideal for large families.
-Beagles: Fun dogs, but they can quickly develop anger issues. And they’re not all there. I saw a beagle attack itself one time.
-Poodles: Lots of maintenance and tons of time in the hair salon
-Bulldogs: Not ideal for long walks, plus they get fat easily.
-Chihuahuas: They’re very protective of their owners and they will bite! And if it’s a leaper and a biter…watch your package!
-Pomeranians: Small and great for big cities.
-Boston Terriers: Also perfect for metro areas.
-Great Danes: Big dogs need lots of open space.
-Siberian Huskies: Beautiful dogs with attitudes. They look pretty but they’ll bite ya!
-Pitt bulls: This dog may please you, but what about your neighbors and the community in general?
And good luck!