March 23 is National Puppy Day– a day to celebrate puppy adoptions and all things puppy! Having been in the pet industry for nearly 20 years, I often get asked all kinds of questions about adding a new pet to the home. Questions ranging from “when is it the right time” to “what is the right breed for me?” All of these questions come with a wide range of answers and can vary greatly depending upon circumstances.
First I will address timing of adding a new furry family member. Timing is everything but just like having children, you can almost always find a reason why it might not be the right time. In general, it is good to not add a furry family member if you are planning any major life changes. Moves, new babies or major schedule changes are stressful enough without the addition of a new pet to care for in the mix. Find a time when you know you will have the time to commit to helping a new pet settle into your home. Adjustments take time like house training or crate training – and they take patience too! Sometimes people are afraid it is too soon after losing a pet and feel that they might move to quickly adding another pet to their home. I often tell adopters that there is no right amount to wait – no amount of time will bring back your beloved pet, and no amount of time will heal the void they have left. But what will help? Having another pet to comfort you and help you to heal – and there is no better way to honor a beloved pet than to save another in their memory!
Now you have decided it is the right time to add a pet to your family – now to decide on the right breed! Breed characteristics are definitely stereotypes that have merit but they do not mean every dog of that breed will be identical. It is certainly a good place to start when considering what pet will work well in your home but you still need to consider the individual personality of any animal you intend to adopt. For instance, if you are a person that likes to spend your free time curled up on the sofa watching movies – you probably should think twice about adding a border collie to your life. However if you are an active person that loves to hike and would even be interested in participating in agility trials with your pet – then a border collie is a perfect breed to consider. Consider your activity level and what time you have to give to a pet. Everyone loves puppy breath – and they are adorably cute – but puppies require intensive training and like to chew (a lot). There are many benefits to adopting an older pet that is with a shelter or rescue organization. Most rescue organizations use foster homes that can provide valuable information to help match fosters with ideal homes and offer trial periods to make sure the adjustment into your home goes well.
All in all, there is no denying that the companionship of a dog is priceless. At the end of a hard day, they greet you at the door wagging their tail. Pets provide valuable therapy – having been proven to reduce things like blood pressure and anxiety – while offering unconditional companionship. Pets encourage us to exercise more and go outside for fresh air. Celebrate every day that little furry friend (or friends) sitting next to you for all the many things they bring to your life.