Adding a new dog to your family can be one of the happiest and most rewarding decisions you can ever make. It’s the decision to welcome a new member into your home – a four-legged friend to love you unconditionally and bring years of joy and slobbery kisses.
With that said, it’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to such an important life decision, and you need to make sure you’re choosing the best pet for your situation. Like humans, each dog is an individual. They have different personalities, quirks, needs (and wants), capabilities, and on and on and on. If you adopt a dog that might not be a good fit for your family, the likelihood of the dog being returned is higher. This is sad for you, and for the dog. This week’s post explores just a few of the many considerations to make in finding your soul mutt!
I’m DEFINITELY ready...I think! :)
The first thing to consider is if you’re ready for a dog! Even if you love dogs and you know you would be an awesome pet parent, you need to evaluate your current situation. Do you have holes in your fence that need repaired? Are you taking a long vacation next week? Are you between jobs and having trouble hitting your monthly expenses? You certainly shouldn’t rush into an adoption, and even if you know you’re ready to give a dog a great home, please be absolutely sure.
Can you afford a dog? Look closely at your budget and decide if you can afford food, toys, all needed supplies, cleaning products, scheduled and emergency vet visits, medicine, grooming and boarding, and so on.
Can your space accommodate a dog? Are you living in an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs or only allows small dogs? If you rent your home, you should first talk to your landlord. If you own your home, consider if your home is appropriate for a dog. For example, if you have an active dog, do you have a fenced in yard?
Does a dog fit into my family and lifestyle? Do you have small children, and do the children know how to interact with dogs? Are your current pets going to get along with new pets? Think about your day-to-day life. Now consider if you have time for a dog in your life. Would the dog be alone and in the house for long periods? If you travel a lot, can you afford boarding or dogsitting? Are you able to give them the love and attention they deserve? To be a responsible pet owner, you will need to be willing and able to make some changes to your lifestyle.
What dog is the right fit for you?
Like we mentioned before, no two dogs are alike. Once you’ve decided you’re ready for a dog, it’s time to start considering which dog is ready for you.
What size? Chances are you probably have a preference on if you want a small or large dog, but there are challenges to consider with both. Your self-reflection can really help with this choice. For instance, if you are considering a large dog, think about your space, the size of your family members, and your finances.
How much time do you have for exercise? EVERY dog needs exercise, but it’s no secret that some dogs need more than others. This is often influenced by size, breed, and age. Without the proper level of exercise, behavioral issues will often ensue, so be sure to consider both your time and physical capabilities when it comes to exercise.
Puppy, adult, or senior? Many people want puppies, and for good reason! They’re super cute, and you get to watch them grow up. Puppies do require lots of attention. Not only will they need more exercise, but you’ll need to guide them through the house training process. If you’re not able to spend the time molding them into good pups (and clean up a few messes along the way), you may want to consider an adult dog. If you adopt an adult or senior dog from a shelter, luckily the staff will likely have a pretty good idea of that dog’s needs. And don’t forget about the seniors! Opening up your home to a senior dog is an amazing thing, ensuring they can live their days out in a loving home.
Do you have a breed preference? Many people know which breed they want. Consider things like grooming needs, health needs, and other common characteristics, but also remember that each dog is an individual! Remember to research any breed specific legislation (BSL) that may be present in your area.
Do you connect with the dog? Go and meet your soul mutt! You know the saying…”when you know, you know!” Go to your favorite shelter and see if there’s someone that you fall in love with! Don’t forget to ask the staff questions! They know the dogs better than anyone. Let them get to know your situation, and see if they have any suggestions for dogs that would be a good fit.
So…are you ready to find your soul mutt?
If so, please come visit C.A.R.E.’s adoptables! Our cat and dog adoption centers are located at 1328 W Sunshine Street in Springfield, MO. Our knowledgeable Adoption Counselors will work with you to find the best fit for your family.
If you want to get to know lots of dogs at once, come to our doggy speed dating Find Your Soul Mutt event on Friday, February 8, from 6 to 8 pm at White River Brewing Company! We will have adoptable dogs, snacks, live music, and beer and wine available for purchase! Even if you’re not sure if now’s the right time to add to your family, come have a good time! We hope to see you there!
A special thank you goes out to our Find Your Soul Mutt sponsors: TransFURmations, At Home Real Real Estate Services of Southwest Missouri, Fetch Pet Supplies & Gifts, Pizza House, and White River Brewing Company!