How to overcome tough decision-making when adopting
I watched my nine-year-old rescue dog, Porsche, delicately, and with great purpose, pick a toy out of her toy basket last week. Porsche has layers of toys in that basket; stuffed animals, balls of different textures, squeaky toys and a few small pillows she has claimed. I was memorized by her gentle movements and I could tell which toys she was rejecting as she nosed her way through the pile. The rejected toys were put on the floor and pushed aside. She was obviously on a mission to find the perfect playmate and I was very impressed by her process.
After watching how Porsche put so much effort into her toy selection, I remembered how my husband put so much time into our decisions when we first brought a dog into our lives. I am not an expert on animal behaviour, nor am I a dog trainer, but I have devoted my life to animal rescue. I am hoping I can offer some sound advice to help you make the right choice.
You will need to decide who will ultimately be in charge of the dog, what energy level of dog will fit into your lifestyle and what size or breed of dog is best. Think about the years of commitment and the costs associated with the pet. Some costs are known; spaying, neutering, microchipping, food, treats, grooming, vaccinations, bedding, leashes, toys and licensing. Some costs will be unknown; emergency surgeries, kennelling while you are away on vacation or business, installing fences and other sur- prise expenses.
Most importantly, I feel you should decide whether you want a puppy or an adult dog. Ask yourself if you have the energy and time to devote to training, socializing and puppy proofing your home. Those sweet smelling, fluffy, clumsy puppies will steal your heart, but they are a lot of work and they will cause many sleepless nights.
An adult dog will most likely come from a rescue or a shelter. Therefore, they will enter your home house trained, socialized and you will already be aware of their personality. You will know how much exercise they require and they will most likely be spayed or neutered beforehand. They will have had their first or even second vaccinations.
I have brought both a puppy and a few adult dogs into my life. To be honest with you, I prefer the adult dogs. An adult dog will only need time to adjust to a new home, neighbourhood and schedule. Once they have settled in, they are quite breezy. As much as I love puppies, adult dogs are just easier.
Nova Scotia shelters and res- cues have many loving adult dogs ranging one year and up, and they are all looking for great forever homes. These same shelters and rescues can also have puppies available, you just need to know which age is best suited for you and your family.
Please be kind to animals.
Porsche with her all-time favourite toy. Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She is a volunteer with Animal Rescue Coalitions of Nova Scotia. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.