During the holidays, it seems like we start seeing many new puppies and kittens at our office. I’ve touched on the cautions about getting a new pet at Christmas (see last year’s December issue). However, during this season of giving, pets are still a popular gift. If you have been considering getting a new four-legged family member, there are many things to think about before making your choice. Especially when considering getting a new dog, there are many choices- puppy or adult, purebred or mix, purchase from a breeder or adopt a stray.
The decision you make should be based on your home and family. You need to consider how much time you can spend with your pet. Puppies are cute and lovable, but they also need to be housebroken, they like to chew things and they need lots of attention. If you have the time to devote to a puppy, they certainly bring a lot of joy. But, puppies are not for everyone. If your time (or patience!) is more limited, getting an adult dog may be for you. Many adult dogs have the advantage of being housebroken already and past the chewing/destructiveness stage. You also will get to see what his mature personality is like.
Where you decide to get a dog from will partially depend on what kind of dog you want. There are 147 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club alone. Their website www.AKC.org lists and describes them as well as other breeds that do not have AKC recognition. They also list breeders and rescue services. You do need to remember, however, that the AKC is not in control of the quality of the pets or breeders. An “AKC-registered dog” is a purebred of that breed, but that does not necessarily mean it is a high-quality pet. You need to do your own research when looking for a breeder. We’d be happy to help guide you in your search. The breed rescue services usually focus on a certain breed and are run by volunteers who have a special love of that breed and want to adopt the dogs out into a good home.
Of course, a great way to get your pet is through a shelter or adoption service. Hard-working volunteers spend hours finding, caring for and adopting out dogs and cats, but unfortunately, between three and four million dogs and cats were euthanized in animal shelters last year because they were not adopted. Many shelters are “no-kill”, but they can’t take an unlimited numbers of animals. We work with several wonderful local adoption agencies, so if you are interested, please let us know.
We hope you have a joyous Holiday Season and we look forward to seeing you in 2008!