Is a Dog Right for You?

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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...

What are you looking for in a dog?

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.

You May Be the Perfect Dog Owner if You . . .

  • Believe caring for a dog for 15 years does not seem like a lifetime.
  • Look forward to big, wet kisses when you come home each day.
  • Like sharing your house with someone who sheds, tracks dirt occasionally and possibly drools.
  • Don't mind sharing your house with someone who will never clean up after him or herself.
  • Want to take care of someone every day.
  • Love a playmate who likes to chase balls and drag off shoes.
  • Don't mind a playmate who likes to slobber on balls and toys.
  • Would like to spend your extra money on pet food, toys, veterinary care, chew bones and more chew bones.
  • Want someone to adore you even on a bad hair day.
  • Believe that spaying and neutering pets will help solve the pet overpopulation problem.
  • Can't imagine leaving your devoted pet behind when you move.
  • Want to keep an ID tag on your pets, so they can always get back to you no matter what.
  • Enjoy unconditional love and constant companionship  

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