Choose a Dog that Fits Your Life Stage and Style

June 16, 2016

WEB.PICS2 Dogs are wonderful companions and make our lives so much better. But choosing the wrong breed or size or temperament could create a nightmare instead of a loving pet, and it won’t be the dog’s fault. Sometimes, people see a particular breed of dog and immediately want to own one.  They don’t always think about the consequences that could go along with that animal. For example when the movie, “101 Dalmations” was re-issued by Disney, everyone wanted a Dalmation.  Dalmations are lovely dogs but not for everyone.  Same with Chihuahuas. Cute dogs but they can be snappy with children and children could play too rough with such a small animal.  People adopt trendy animals and when they eventually realize that particular breed doesn’t really work for their lifestyle, the poor animal ends up in a shelter.

What about grooming needs. Do you mind the hassle of taking your dog to a groomer every 2-3 weeks? Can you take care of the trimming yourself?  Be sure you can afford to invest in quality grooming tools before you choose a breed such as the Poodle that requires such specialty grooming.

Our family always owned large dogs. We had 6 children, 4 of them active, athletic boys.  A small dog would not have stood a chance in our house.  Over the years, we were blessed with 3 Great Danes, all of whom were wonderful pets with active children.  Yes, we could have chosen a somewhat smaller breed but families with children should think twice before bringing home a feisty, snappy breed of dog.

Danes are also good house dogs, if properly raised. However, as my husband and I grew older, we realized that such large animals require a lot of physical effort to raise, train and control. We made the decision not to get another giant breed when our Coby died at age 7 from bone cancer.  It only took a month before my then daughter-in-law gifted me with an adorable Weimaraner puppy. Weimaraners are generally medium-sized dogs, but our Gator grew to be the size of a female Great Dane!  We learned that as wonderful as our pet was, he presented a handful for two people approaching 60.

Large dogs may also cost more to leave with a kennel while you are on vacation.  Oh, it will go with you?  Can you truly see that Great Dane sharing a car for many miles?  Will airlines carry such a large animal or do they have height and weight requirements?

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Before choosing your next dog, give serious thought to what type of pet would best fit your family and lifestyle.  If your family is young with children, choose a breed known to love kids.  A dog that is not to0 large but not tiny either might work best.  An animal known for good temperament is important for noisy, active children.

On the other hand, if your family is past the young child stage and you understand and are ok with the fact that large dogs could be more difficult to bathe and cost more in food, supplies and veterinary care, perhaps a giant breed would be the perfect pet for your family.

Do you want a lap dog?  Obviously, a smaller breed would be most suitable for that purpose. One of our Great Danes thought she was a lap dog and while that was funny, it quickly became uncomfortable, and Ginny had to learn there were places she could not go.

If you are older, consider the weight of a larger breed. Will you find weekly baths to be painful for you? Will the process of training a larger dog be too much?  Can you afford the expenses involved? Small dogs are easier to care for and don’t cost as much to feed.

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How about exercise?  Are you able to provide the exercise an active pup needs?  For some breeds, like Australian Shepherds, a daily walk about the block may not be enough.  Consider the exercise needs of your breed of choice.

Once you have decided on the type of dog you want, know that this is a commitment for the life of the animal. It should become an important part of your family, never to be abandoned for any reason.

Just a Dog

By Maggie Digiovanni

You said I was “just a dog.”
Do you know what that means?
It means you think my feelings
are less than other creatures.
It means my needs do not
matter as much as yours.

I cannot ever think of you
as “just a human.”
You are my human of all
the humans in the world.
You are my friend above
all other friends I may have.

To be “just a dog” lessens
me in your and other people’s eyes.
It takes away my individuality
and the joy I have in loving you.
It sets me aside in your life
instead of making me a vital part.

No matter what I might feel
or think or do, you are special.
You are not “just a….” anything.
You are my reason for living.
You are extraordinary to me
in every possible way.

Please, do not make our
friendship less, dear human.
Please make me your dog
and let others know my place
in your life is to be closer
than any other animal.

Please, dear human, always
know I am and will always be
your dog, your friend, your
protector, your playmate,
yours in good times and bad,
because that is what I do and am.

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