Well, I have always been someone that loves to research things, so when I started becoming ill I spent a lot of time researching my illness, medications, treatments, etc....and one of the things that has been said over and over is that pet therapy can be very healing for someone with chronic illnesses. I read study after study of the affects that pets have on their owners, and that sometimes they make the difference between someone wanting to keep fighting and not wanting to. Guide dogs help returning vets with their transition back into civilian life better than anything else, those with inabilities learn to live a fuller and more independent life with service dogs, and therapy pets are brought into hospital settings to bring comfort to those needing something more than medicine can provide.
So, how do you make the decision to bring a pet into your home when your home has been pet free until now? When I broached the subject with Don I knew he wouldn't be too happy with the idea at first, but he was willing to listen to my thoughts and reasons for why I have been thinking about it. Honestly, he really wasn't thrilled with it, but he heard how important it was to me and was willing to keep an open mind. Good! To me that was the biggest step, so without getting Amanda and Brandon too excited I talked to them and asked if they would be willing to help me take care of a dog if we were to get one. Since they are teenagers they understand the responsibility and wholeheartedly agree. So what next?
Getting everyone on board was the first step, and in some ways, the hardest, but just because everyone agrees doesn't make it a good idea. So Don asked me to put together a list of Pros and Cons to getting a dog, which I have been doing for him. If he's willing to have an open mind, the least I can do is put together this list to help us all think it through logically and not just emotionally. So far the list for Pros is twice as long as the list for Cons. So far, so good!!
Now that it looks like we've been successful with the list, the next thing I've been trying to do is research all of the costs involved in bringing a dog home with us. Getting started is an expensive proposition, and we want to make sure that the expense will be a good investment for us. Going to the shelter, picking out a dog may be some of the first steps to narrowing down the costs, but if possible, bring the dog home with you last if you want to ease the transition from the shelter to your home, but at least for now with the research I've done, we have a good idea of the costs involved.
Now is the fun part! With technology what it is nowadays, shelters have plenty of options for showing us what types of dogs (or cats, or any number of other animals) they have available. In my head I think I have an idea of the type of dog that would be a good fit for my family, but you don't really know until you do a little research. It's easy to look through the pictures and details, then do a search online for the breed of dog you're interested in and see if they tell you the kind of temperament that particular breed may have. I've been able to narrow down the list quite significantly that way. In the end, though, no matter how many animals you are able to view online, every animal has such a distinct personality, much like humans, so visiting a shelter and spending time with the ones you are interested in will help you decide if an animal is really a good fit for you and your family.
Well, after all that research, it looks like we've decided to adopt!! Stay tuned for more info on what happens next. Do you have any pets at home? If so, I'd love to hear about them and how you decided that a pet was a good fit for you......