Maybe you've heard dog owners say, "Having a dog is like having a child who never grows up." This statement often brings skeptical looks from people who have never shared their lives with a dog, but those who have know only too well how true it is.
Like children, dogs are completely dependent on their owners for all their needs -- food, water, medical attention, exercise, shelter and, most important, companionship. But unlike children, dogs will never learn to pour themselves a drink or fix their breakfast. Dogs never learn to look both ways before crossing the street, and they can't stop and ask for directions if they get lost. You can't even send them to the babysitter when you need a night off.
People who decide to open their homes to a dog are making a decision to change their daily lives and routines. For many, the years of companionship and unconditional love and devotion they receive from their dog far outweigh the daily responsibilities, but some lifestyles just make it impossible.
If you decide that a canine would fit perfectly into your family, there are more things to consider...
Always consider the qualities and personality you want, before size and appearance. For example, a large shepherd-mix might do better than a more energetic terrier in an apartment. Think about your lifestyle and habits and determine which breed is best suited to you. Know everything you want in a dog except what the animal looks like. Very often the pet that has the qualities you are looking for will come in an unexpected package.