In the spirit of AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days, I'd like to address those of you who are thinking about getting a dog. The first step to becoming a responsible dog owner is making sure you are actually ready to care for that dog.
I'm sure you've been here: an adorable dog or puppy is up for adoption. He gazes at you with big loving eyes. Why not take him home, you think. I know that if I brought home every adorable canine I saw, I'd be up to my ears in fur! I have plenty of critters now, and one more would be too many. But it is so hard to say no when you love animals and want to give them all homes. However, it is better to say no now than to adopt a dog you cannot keep or care for properly.
A large percentage of dogs are returned or abandoned each year because their owners did not realize what they were getting themselves into. Another large percentage are stuck in homes where they do not get the attention and exercise needed to thrive.? Before you get a dog, there are many important considerations. Make sure you are ready first. When the timing is right, you can share a wonderful life with a priceless canine companion that suits you and your lifestyle.
Photo ? Ryan McVay / Getty Images