How to over­come tough de­ci­sion-mak­ing when adopt­ing

South Shore Breaker - - Wheels - TRACY JESSIMAN RE­CY­CLED LOVE re­cy­cledlove@east­

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.

Tracy Jessiman

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.

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