Advice on adopting a dog from a shelter.
There are some things you need to consider before bringing a dog into your life. Here are some important thoughts and/or questions you should have in your mind before you go out and bring home your new dog.
Firstly, and most importantly, you must be aware that owning a dog requires a lot of time, work, responsibility, and significant costs. This new dog will be with you for the next 10 to 15 years at least, and you must be prepared for these responsibilities from day-one. The rewards from having a faithful companion are many, but they do come at a cost. It is the failure of people to fully appreciate these responsibilities that results in so many dogs ending up in shelters.
Keep in mind that a dog is not a toy for your kids, it is a very demanding member of the family, and no matter what plans you make now with your family, odds-on you will be the one having to go walkies and do all the work!
There are many breeds and types of dogs to choose from, and choosing the right one for your situation is important. With a little thought, you can narrow down the selections and find the most suitable dog by discussing your situation with the shelter staff. Not only are they familiar with the varying needs of the different breeds and types of dogs, but also with the individual traits of the dogs under their care.
It is essential that your new friend is as best suited to your circumstances as possible to maximise the chances of a successful adoption. Issues that should be considered against your situation include the dog's size, activity level, need for attention, temperament, ability to coexist with existing pets, and any health or well-being requirements specific to the breed or type of dog.
Talk everything over with the shelter staff, spend some time at the shelter with the dogs you are considering, let them meet any other dogs you may already have, and you should be able to find a suitable new addition to your family.
A parting tip: don't limit your choice to pure-bred dogs. There are many health and temperament advantages to be had with cross-breed dogs simply due to the mechanics of genetics and inheritance. Often there is more choice with the cross-breed dogs too because more people go for the pure breeds.