I have been a pet owner nearly all of my life and a veterinarian for almost half of my life, so I have seen my fair share of animals and animal owners. One of the biggest things I hate is to see people jump into the decision of buying a dog without taking time to think through the decision. When the decision to get a dog as a pet is made without care, the owners and the dog suffer equally from it.
Before you run out and purchase a dog, take time to carefully consider your decision. Think about your current lifestyle. How would bringing a new dog into the picture affect things? Do you have enough time, energy and money to adequately support bringing a dog into your family? Sure, the idea sounds great now, but is it a wise choice?
If you are sure that you can handle bringing a dog into your home and you are sure that you have what it takes to really care for your dog, then move ahead with caution and begin to research what kind of dog might be best for you. A dog is not a dog is not a dog. I hate hearing people talk about not really caring about what kind of dog they get. Each variety of dog is different and requires vastly different care. Learn what you can about the dogs you are interested in before making a purchase.
It is great to visit people who own the kinds of dogs you are interested in. See what their lives are really like with a dog in the picture. The more research you do, the better off you will be when you finally bring a dog into your home. Learn all you can from other dog owners and get their wisdom for you. I guarentee you that having a dog as a pet is a wonderful but hard thing.
Prepare your family before bringing a dog into your home. Talk honestly about the responsibilities that bringing a dog into your home will mean. Divide up those responsibilities so that everyone feels like they have an important part to play. A family will always do better with a dog when they have a right understanding of the work and commitment it will take to keep the dog alive and well.
I love seeing families bring a dog into their homes. I am insistent, however, on seeing the process done well. Please use caution and wisdom as you seek to make a dog part of your family.