And I am on it.
Before you read this, trust me that I know people can make their own decisions and will ultimately do what they want. However, the decision I am going to talk about is often more of an emotional one before it is a well-thought out one, so I am hoping I make you think just a little longer this time around.
I am talking about bringing a new family member into your home. Specifically a pup, but this could almost apply to any new family member of the furry (or scaly, I suppose?) variety.
I get it. Puppies are cute. Almost ANY puppy is cute.. even if they grow up to be a not-so-cute adult dog. Do you really think the dog who won "Ugliest" was really an ugly puppy? Hardly. THEY ARE ALL CUTE. For that reason, they will all find a home by someone who really felt they needed to get the puppy because it was so darn cute. That's really the only real good reason to get a puppy. Even then, it's not a solid one.
What would other people say is a good reason? Most lean towards "I want it to bond with me." Have you met my dog Baylie? Seriously? She is glued to me. She knows I am mom. As much as she is willing to run towards any out-stretched hand (heck, don't even put it out there.. just let it lay by your side completely minding its own business), she knows *I* am mom. I also didn't become her mom until her 22nd month of life. So the "bond" excuse doesn't fly.
Maybe the kids want a puppy (why? Because they're cute! See above.), but I can pretty much bet if you adopted a non-puppy, they would quickly forget about wanting a puppy. Especially since it won't pee in their bed when they want it to sleep with them the first night they get it, or it will be less likely to destroy their toys (not completely a for sure thing, but I bet it already knows the word "no!" so it will learn much faster = less toys demolished).
Now let's go into temperament - you pretty much are taking a crapshoot when you get a puppy. There isn't a really good way to determine its personality when they are being sold off at the young age of 8-10 weeks. Yes, you might find places online that give you an idea how to choose, but honestly, it's just a guess. I was told female Goldens were less clingy than males. The two female Goldens I know really well are pretty darn clingy. So nothing is for sure with animals, just as it is with humans. Imagine picking out your spouse when he/she was 2 years old. Egad! But go to a shelter, or a reputable breed-specific rescue and you will have volunteers and fosters who know the dog and can give you a much better idea of what you are committing to for the next decade.
Another thing I want to touch on - and I guess this is even if you are still adamant that you want a puppy - don't just go on looks, please. Research the breed you are interested in. You don't want to get an extremely dense-haired dog or one with a smashed-up looking face if you want this dog to be a running companion. You also don't want a hairy dog if you are concerned about hair in your car or all over your house (which even those "non-shedding" breeds or even short-haired breeds will still get a crapload of hair everywhere - so now that I think about it, if you're anal about hair everywhere, don't get a dog!). Do you want a dog that will be a sense of security for the house? Don't get a Golden! Do you have only so much patience when it comes to training? Little dogs probably aren't good for you and even the super smart dogs require patience because they are almost TOO smart! And if you are gone 8+ hours a day and then go out with your friends or have activities planned most nights and on the weekends, probably not a good idea to get a high energy working or herding breed unless you want to come home to destruction - you want a couch potato - and most older dogs are just that. Do your research.
|My Baylie girl at South Lake Tahoe|
So maybe you think, ok, I'll look into rescue. WHAT THE HECK!?! $350 to adopt a dog?!?! I can get a purebred whatchamacallit for that price!
Ok, so pay that price, then go get shots, spayed/neutered, de-wormed, heartworm test, etc. and you've spent almost twice as much. Your very grateful adoptive friend comes with all that already done.
Again, you'll decide what you want to. Trust me. I want every puppy I see. But I remember the countless months of potty training (which require the dog being let out every 2-3 hours round the clock if you do it right), the constant eye you have to give to watch the pups every move, the chewed up $100 shoes, couch, underwear, etc.. and I am so thankful I just skipped all of that and found the best dog ever.
So before you get that pup, just go visit a shelter. Sometimes when we just aren't aware of the situation or even the fantastic dogs that are available, we just don't GET IT. There are literally thousands just in our area with NOTHING wrong with them ... all wanting a home. Yes, backyard breeders and such will exist whether you make the choice to adopt or not, but the new buddy you took home will be forever grateful you chose him over the "cute puppy."
Where can you find a list of dogs all wanting a loving home? http://www.petfinder.com is a compilation of a ton of different rescues and shelters - start there and narrow it down. If you find a rescue close to home that seems to be the best match, call them up and let them know what you're looking for. They may not have it at the moment, but such a huge commitment as taking care of a dog requires the perfect dog for you - and that is worth the time!