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There are a couple of things many of us agree on: All puppies are cute. All dogs are beautiful.

And for those of us who feel like that, we want a pup in our lives. And many of us do that by adopting a dog in need.


If you’ve done any homework, you know it’s a big commitment. And you probably know how important it is to bring home a pup that is a good fit for you, your family and your lifestyle. It’s easy to get pulled in by a ‘pretty face’, but that pretty face may just not be the right choice for you. So before taking this big step, ask yourself some questions and learn a little about different breeds and their characteristics.

Adorable, lovable dogs

Here are a few considerations and recommendations.

Are you looking for a quiet companion?

Do you want a companion to enjoy quiet evenings with, and the occasional stroll around the neighborhood?

You’d do best looking at older dogs in rescues or shelters. They are often overlooked by the average person because they don’t ‘shine bright’ — they’re not the first ones you notice at a shelter or rescue organization because they are generally lounging in the background. More often than not, these dogs already know basic commands and are potty trained. Very often they fit right in without much adjustment.

If you’re like me and just want a soft head to scratch and a snuggly friend, this is a great choice and the one you should be on the hunt for.

Are you looking for energy?

Are you up at the crack of dawn every morning, ready for your run, or packed up bright and early on the weekend for hiking or camping?

First of all, I applaud you! You’re my hero, and you need a companion who’s up to that type of activity too. Look for dogs who are constantly on the move, sniffing and exploring. They want an adventure. 

Labs, pitties, boxers and of course my personal favorite, the mixed breed all fit into this group. You’ll want one on the younger side to match your energy.

Do you want a pup for the kids?

Are you a family of four with kids who are finally at the age where adding a furry friend sounds fun?

This is a great time to consider a puppy. Some of my fondest childhood memories are those of my time with my dogs… they were my whole world. It’s important to think about the stage your children are at and finding a pup that’s a good fit for them. As an example, herding breeds (think Border Collies, Shepherds and Sheepdogs) can be a bit much on young kids — it’s their nature to herd and they can easily and accidentally knock small children down.

Are you ready for special needs?

Are you prepared to take care of a dog that may develop special needs?

Another very important aspect people tend to over look is long term health, so it’s important to do some research. As an example, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are prone to breathing issues which can lead to very expensive surgery. I’m not saying to avoid them (because how can anyone not love those squishy faces?), but it’s important to have a plan in place. You might start a special savings account or get pet insurance so you’ll be prepared for anything that could come up.


Adopting through a rescue organization is a great option for three very important reasons.

First, you are helping a pup who needs it.

Second, a reputable rescue organization has done health screening and made sure the animals in its care have been vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

And third, any rescue organization worth its salt has already done a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ for you regarding research. Dogs from rescue organizations have typically been fostered. And a foster parent does more than just provide a temporary home for a pup. A foster parent evaluates a pup so they already know what type of home is likely to be a good fit. They know if a dog gets along with other dogs; if a dog gets along with cats; if a dog is good around children; and so on. We at Charming Pet Rescue pride ourselves on making good matches that result in good forever homes for the pups that come into our care.

No matter which amazing furry friend you decide on, if that pup is a good fit for you, you’ll be the luckiest human ever — their love and loyalty have no bounds.

Teach your pup what you expect from him, show him routine and stability, socialize him, invest in some basic training and teach him boundaries (it’s cute when they counter surf the very first time…but it’s a bad habit you’ll regret down the road).

If you haven’t gone through a rescue, please make sure your new pet is spayed or neutered! It’s best for their long term health and it also saves us rescues from scrambling to make space for unwanted litters.

Southtown resident Joanne Gallagher is Applications Manager and Puppy Adoption Coordinator for Charming Pet Rescue.

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