Our beautiful lady.
A few months ago, I wrote about adding a feline to your family. This month, the subject is dogs.
Have you ever wondered how dogs came to be such a huge part of our lives? I imagine early humans gathered around a fire when one bold canid stealthily approached, snatching scraps. Or perhaps early humans noticed the wild canines efficient hunting methods and decided to tame a wildling to assist with their own hunting endeavors. Could it be that a child found an orphaned pup, brought it home and integrated it into the tribe? Sometimes I wonder how successful the human race would have been if not for the dogs’ presence…..as guardian, hunting companion and friend.
Since birth, I have been surrounded by dogs (see February 2017 column) and they have been best friends, confidants or a warm snuggle when the world seemed a very cold place. I simply can’t imagine my life without a dog in it!
If you’re thinking of adding a friendly Fido to your life now or in the future, read on! Choosing a dog for your family doesn’t have to be a difficult venture. It means looking past the first pair of pleading brown eyes that say, “Take me home”. It means being smart about the needs of your family. Puppy or adult. Large or small. Short hair or long. Couch potato or jogging companion. Purebred or mix breed.
It just takes careful thought and planning to make the correct decision, after all, this is going to be a family member for (most probably) 10 plus years. Here is a great tool to begin your search, a quiz to match your needs with the dog breed that would best fit your lifestyle. I like this particular test because it asks not only about your dog preferences, but about your feelings, activity level and expectations of dog guardianship.
Keep in mind that this quiz provides information on purebred or popular ‘designer’ breeds. (a designer breed consists of 2 or more particular breeds, ie. Cock-a-poo—cocker spaniel/poodle). If you are looking for mix breeds, go ahead and take the test, then record the list of dogs that would fit your requirements. When starting your search, look for a mix that incorporates one or more of the breeds on your list as mix breed dogs will have some of the characteristics of their purebred ancestors.
That all being said, I’d like to share my dog adoption story with you. Many years ago, I was looking for a companion to keep our dog Suzie company. Suzie was medium-sized, longer haired and super sweet. I was looking for a similar sized, short haired, male dog. When touring the animal shelter, a beautiful large, female collie/shepherd mix caught my eye. Any former plans flew right out the window and Lady came home with me that day. She was one of the best decisions I ever made.
So, as you see, even the best laid plans sometimes go astray……with wonderful outcomes! In other words, you can do all the research in the world but if one certain animal touches your heart and soul, then perhaps that is the dog for you.
Have fun with the Dog Time Match-up test! Next month we’ll look at where you might start your search for the perfect dog. Shelter, rescue, breeder…all have their advantages…it’s just a matter of choosing the one that is right for you.
Welcome to 2018 and be sure to celebrate January’s National Walk Your Dog Month!
See you next month!
- Jeanna Billings
Jeanna Billings is an Animal Communicator serving an international clientele, a Reiki Master and a Certified Crystal Healer. She volunteered for many years with humane societies and animal rescues, serving as a Board Director, Adoption Counselor and Humane Educator. She currently teaches animal communication classes and provides private consultations. She lives in Indiana with her husband, three dachshunds, two cats and a very chatty parakeet. You can find her online at www.ShamansSpirit.net .