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Dogs, Dogs, Dogs: Five Ways to Find a Pet to Love

Adding a pet to the family is a big leap. Once you've made the decision to open your home to a dog, you're faced with another decision - where do you find a dog to bring into your family? The answer to the question depends a great deal on your family's needs and what you have to offer a dog. Your search for a new pet will take you in a very different direction if you want to adopt a puppy than if you decide you want to take in an older dog. Think carefully about the kind of dogs that will be a good fit for your family, and explore the many options available for finding a dog before making your final choice.


If you want a purebred dog, your best option is to find a dog breeder who specializes in breeding the dogs you want. The Internet makes it fairly easy to find reputable breeders in any part of the country - but it's a double-edged sword. If you choose a local breeder, you'll have a chance to visit his facilities and perhaps even to get to know the puppy you'll be taking home before the big day comes. On the other hand, it may be difficult to find just the dog you want unless you're willing to look further afield. Always check the dog breeder's credentials and reputation before deciding to do business with him or her.

A dog breeder is also one of your best choices if you want to adopt a puppy and train him yourself from the start. There are a lot of advantages to choosing a puppy, as well as a lot of responsibility. Any new dog requires a high level of attention and commitment, but the time and attention needs of new puppies are legendary. Choosing a puppy from reputable dog breeders ensures that the puppy you bring home to your family will be healthy and generally have all of his first required shots.

Pet Shops

You can also often find puppies at pet shops. If you choose to go the pet shop route, always do your research to make sure that the shop is careful about the dogs it sells. Shops can be extremely stressful on dogs and puppies. They're held in cages, exposed to a constant stream of people and may be mishandled. In addition, there's a much higher likelihood of buying a dog bred in a puppy mill with uncertain ancestry and may have been exposed to dangerous and unsanitary practices. This isn't to say that all pet shops are bad places to buy a puppy or dog. It's just that the risks are higher.

Shelter Dogs

Every year, thousands of older dogs and puppies are abandoned or handed over to shelters for various reasons. Adopting a dog from a dog shelter can be a risky proposition - but it can also be highly gratifying. Many of the dogs that end up in shelters are loving, well-trained dogs whose owners are no longer capable of caring for them. Others may have been abused and mistreated. Still others may be strays or puppies from litters whose owners can't keep and care for them all. In most shelters, the staff is committed to finding the best homes for their charges and will be happy to help you determine if a dog is a good fit for your household.

Rescue Dogs

Dog rescue is yet another way to adopt an older dog. The most popular rescue dog programs are those that find loving homes for greyhound racing dogs, but there are many other rescue shelters that handle many breeds of dog. A rescue dog generally requires a very special kind of commitment. Many of them have been rescued from abusive homes or have lived their lives in kennels with little real human contact.

Private Sales

Newspaper ads and classified ads on pet websites are a final way to find a dog to adopt. Sales by private owners are a mixed bag. In most cases, the owners are seeking to find a new home for a loved family member that they can no longer care for, but there are unscrupulous puppy mills that sell through sight-unseen ads as well.

Deciding to bring a new dog into your home is a loving decision. Choosing your dog from the best environment will help ensure that your experience is a good one.

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