How Did You Decide to Get Your First Dog?

As you hop around blog land, you’ll find lots of pet bloggers supporting Petfinder’s Adopt the Internet Day on March 15, 2011. Petfinder has been a great resource for getting the word out about adoptable pets. And they’ve helped innumerable rescues and shelters who could not afford to make a big investment in their own technology.

But Petfinder plays another role. It’s gives you a good way to contemplate getting your first pet, before you make any drastic decisions.

Adopt the Internet Day PetfinderHow do you make big decisions? I spend a long time in contemplation. I imagine different scenarios. I play with the idea in my mind. I see how comfortable it feels to me over time.

Petfinder provides an easy way for people to do that with dogs and cats. You can read about the responsibilities of caring for an animal and learn about the differences between older and younger pets. It’s a way to take a sample, swish it around in your mouth and decide if you’re going to spit it out or swallow.

I adopted my first dogs without the benefit of the internet.

The only way I could “browse” and consider the idea slowly was by going to the Philadelphia SPCA and looking at dogs. Confronting the smells, cacophony of barking, and intimidating cages ensured I was either going to adopt a dog as soon as possible just to save one from his fate or run screaming out the door.

I ended up adopting a puppy (actually two) because I was intimidated by the difficult challenge of finding an adult dog that would be a good fit for our family. I thought getting a puppy could be easier. Boy, did I have a lot to learn!

If I could have considered adult dogs, one at a time, on a website. I might have made a different decision.

So how did you decide to get your first dog? Did your family always have pets when you were a child? Did you spend a lot of time thinking about it or were you more impetuous? Did you use Petfinder or another website to help you decide?

Share your story. And if you’re especially chatty, leave a comment here for your chance to win a bag of By Nature dog treats.

This is a blog hop. So hop on.

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  1. I got my 1st own dog as a child. There’s always been dogs in my family. My 1st dog as an adult was a rottie. I can’t remember why I wanted one. He died from parvo virus when still a pup. Every dog since, has been from the pound. We like mutts, so no breed research to be done. Rufus was an exception. We read lots on malamutes before we got him, just so we’d know what we were getting into. We also called the malamute club and rescue. Then, DESPITE everything, we still got him (entirely my hubbies’ fault :p). We’re pretty methodical. We usually go to all the rescues to have a meet, and check online possibilities as well. That said, Georgia was an impetuous decision. Rufus chose her. I don’t know what guidelines he foliowed.

  2. Sounds like Rufus is a keen judge of character.

  3. I was in college and tagged along with some friends who were going to the humane society shelter to look for a dog. Dog lover that I am, this was a big mistake. lol My friends took home an adorable Jack Russel mix pup. Me? I fell in love with a german shepherd/doberman mix pup 20 weeks old who had 5 days left before euthanasia. I agonized (and had no business getting a dog), and ended up calling the shelter at the “midnight hour” to ask about him. They held euthanasia until I could get there. Bennie was with me for almost 15 years. It was one of the very best, very crazy, things I’ve ever done. Since then my dogs have come from shelters – one via PetFinder – and have been strays that chose me.

    • Your line about “no business getting a dog” is a great reminder that we all have to start somewhere. Sounds like you were very lucky to have Bennie.

      BTW, anyone stopping by here should click on Sue’s name to see some amazing, handmade, dog-themed jewelry.

  4. I was only 15 when I got my first dog (our family had a dog already and one when I was a baby, but this was the first dog that was mine). I don’t think I really chose her. My sister and I were caring for a litter of pups (and the mom) for a neighbor down the street while she and her family were out of town. There was one pup that was looking quite dehydrated and stumbling around like it was dizzy and I realized she was not in good shape. The other puppies had pushed her out of the food chain since she was the runt. So my sister and I brought her home and fed her formula from a bottle. She ended up being quite the hit with my family, but my dad was opposed to getting another dog. My mom told me that if I could pay for her ($50) I could get her (she didn’t think I would get a job). Four days later I had a job at Target, and Alicia came home with me. :) She was an awesome dog too!

  5. No decision involved. The dog adopted me!

  6. I grew up with a dog. My parents spent a lot of careful time researching different breeds and meeting breeders. They eventually decided on a fuzzy little Siberian puppy. Unfortunately, a day before we were going to take him home, the breeders found out he was very sick. It was such a huge disappointment. I think my dad was pretty crushed. Our whole family had been pumped in anticipation. So my parents contacted a different breeder they had liked in hopes there were still puppies left. There was one, the runt of the litter who was too small to make a good show dog. A week later, she was ours.

    This kind of long, drawn-out decision making is in my blood as well. It took me a year to decide I was ready to add a dog to our home. If the man had has his way we would have adopted so much sooner, but I knew it was important to wait for the right time. I had research to do, books on training to read. I wanted to be fully armed with as many tools as I could. So we waited a year, I decided I was ready, we got pre-approved at the shelter, and I stalked Petfinder on an hourly basis. For a while it seemed we were always too late. Everytime I was interested in a dog, by the time we got there, the dog was already adopted. It was kind of depressing. I think one of the reasons I caved to my husband’s pleas to decide on Shiva was because she was still there. I knew if we waited one more day, she would probably be gone. In a lot of ways Shiva seemed like an impulsive find to me. But maybe that’s how it always is. Despite all the planning and all the knowledge, you just never know quite what you are going to get.

    • Yep, no matter how much you try to make a rational decision, eventually you just have to take a leap of faith (sorry, Kierkegaard).

      I too like to contemplate and research for a long time before making a decision. But in a sense, once you make a decision, it becomes the right one because you have to deal with it.

      I think you got a good deal in Shiva.

  7. My mom brought Charlie home when I was 13, though we had had dogs before. Emma was the first animal I brought into my life as an “adult” (ugh it’s hard to believe I’m an adult already) and I made the decision primarily for Charlie. I went to lots and lots of shelters with Charlie and we looked for the “perfect” dog with a certain set of criteria, and we found her!

    • You must be a very committed person to seek out just the right dog for you. Many people would cave after visiting one or two shelters.

  8. Nice post. I adopted Molly from a local Humane Society (before Petfinder). She was in a cage set up in front of a chain drug store. Here she is:
    I’ll be sharing a funny story about her on my blog next week for Adopt the Internet day.

  9. We grew up with dogs. I have always had them. My husband and I had been talking about getting a puppy to go with our older dog Alex who was given to us. We didn’t go searching, when my husband saw an ad at the gas station for Husky/Lab puppies. He came home to tell me and we ran out the door and brought home Silver. The rest is history.

  10. My brother and I both were found on Petfinder!

    Licks & Puppy Kisses,
    Kylie & Jimmy

  11. I’m actually writing a whole series (“The Winding Path to Dog Ownership”) on my blog about how we came to own Our Best Friend– I’m up to part 6 or something, I’m kinda losing track. But long story EXTREMELY short, he had too many issues and the rescue org couldn’t place him, so… he ended up staying!

  12. We always had dogs growing up (and cats and turtles), so it was just a natural step for me when I moved out on my own. Most of our dogs were mutts – we’d take them when neighbors moved so that they didn’t end up at the pound, or we’d end up taking in a stray or a dog that its owners didn’t want anymore. I did use Petfinder to find Ms. Bella… it was a great resource!

    • Seems there’s no shortage of dogs you could bring home with you.

      Bella is a beautiful poster dog for petfinder, btw.

  13. Petfinder has been around for awhile and “Adopt the Internet” supports a great cause. It is important for your Visitors to know about – The Pet Search Engine.™ as well.

    aKeKee is the first vertical search engine for pets and offers animal lovers the convenience of a simple Google-like interface, customized search filters and the ability to sign up for email alerts to stay informed of the latest postings. aKeKee is a free resource providing animal lovers easy access to hundreds of thousands of pet postings from dogs and cats to alpacas.

    Simply put, aKeKee is Petfinder and more. – The Pet Search Engine.™

  14. George is my first dog. I’ve always loved them and dreamt of having one as a child, but it was never the right moment or circumstance: my mum is allergic to dog hair, and then we lived in a flat until a few years ago.
    Three years ago, we moved into a house with a garden, our daughter turned 5 and our home-based business got more established. It just seemed like the perfect time to get a dog as a companion both for us and for our little girl.
    We researched all the breeds that were known to be good with kids, and we reduced it two options: a whippet or a collie. In the end, the sweet nature and lovely curves of the whippet won us over.
    We found George’s breeder through the Kennel Club and other breeder’s recommendations, and made a 3 hour trip to see and bring him home. We never regretted that day, he was a dream puppy and has turned into a wonderful family dog. He’s everything we wanted him to be and more. I could write volumes about him, but I guess I’ve got my blog for that. :)