First of all, you must decide whether a dog is right for your family or not. What are some things to think about when deciding on this? Consider the fact that dogs need attention, they cannot go everywhere with you, you have to give them food and water daily, they do get sick and have to go to the veterinarian, they need medicines such as flea medicine and heart worm medicine each month and you have to make sure they get exercise each day, they need to get brushed and bathe regularly and sometimes, you even have to brush their teeth.
On the positive side of the agenda: they are a lot of company, they give unconditional love, they will keep your feet warm when it is cold outside, they will force you to get into that exercise routine (walking), you have been meaning to get started on, they will warn you if anyone comes near your house (in a very loud, threatening manner, you will never need a doorbell again), they are excellent traveling companions, and they will great you happily when you come home at night. They can also help your child to find themselves through their love of their dog.
Once you have determined that a dog is right for you and your family, the next thing you need to do is to determine what type of dog you want and where to get it from. These are important questions that you need to answer. Do you have a small apartment or a large house? Do you have a big yard or just a small one? Do you or your children have allergies? Do you have small children or older ones or is it just you at home? Do you have a lot of money to spend on a dog and its care or is the budget a little tight? Do you want to train a puppy or do you want an older dog that is already trained and possibly spayed or neutered? Can you deal with giving the love and care that a dog with some issues may need in return for a dog that will show you so much appreciation that you will wonder if its little heart is going to burst?
Depending on your answers to the above questions, you might want to consider a rescue dog. You see, there are thousands of dogs out there who have been abandoned, neglected or abused, and have been rescued by one of a number of rescue dog societies or by a caring individual who took it to a shelter. These dogs are looking for a good home where people will care for them and give them love. These dogs are much less expensive to adopt than it would be to outright purchase a puppy. They are usually up to date on their shots and have been spayed or neutered. They are certified to be adoptable before you even see them.
If you decide a rescue dog is right for you, there are several ways you can find the right dog for you. Look in your local phone book for the ASPCA shelter near you and give them a call. Tell them what type of dog you are looking for and they will let you know when one is available for adoption or you can just go in during regular business hours and see if you can find the right dog for you. You can also go online and search for the rescue society of the particular breed you are interested in. There are many rescue societies that specialize in rescuing a particular breed of dog. These rescue societies do put ads in places like Craig’s List or your daily newspaper if they have a dog available.
Once you find out that there is a dog available, the fun begins. You will probably give an opportunity for a short interview where you will be asked what type of house you have, how many people are living in your home and if there are children, how old are they. You will be asked what type of dog you are looking for, such as elderly, adult, adolescent or puppy and whether you want the dog to be active and noisy or inactive and quiet. In other words, they want to find out what type of dog is right for your household so they can determine if they have a dog that is right for you. They are also concerned that the dog is getting a good, loving home especially if that dog has experienced neglect or abuse in its last home.
If the initial interview turns out well, then the rescue society will probably arrange for an in home business, requesting that all members of your family be at home. They will bring the dog to your home so it can see if it likes you and you can see if you like it. If it is a match made in heaven, you will be given some papers to sign and they will contain information about your dog, the type of food to feed it, what shots it may need and any special needs it has. If you accept the dog, you will be given a trial period to determine if you and your dog are a match. The members of the rescue society are available to answer questions and help you along in your relationship between you and the dog.
What one must remember in determining if a rescue dog is right for you is that these dogs have been neglected or abused and may be skittish, afraid, or have problems with eating or other issues. You may give the dog treats, the rescue society will tell you which ones are okay. You will need to reward the dog for good behavior and let it know who is in authority. At first, the dog may be fearful or act out with some sort of bad behavior until it knows what it is that you expect of it. However, if you are patient with the dog and are willing to understand the issues it might have and work to help it overcome those issues, you will never find a more loyal, loving and appreciative dog because you have given it a loving, caring home where it feels safe and is happy.