For the Love of Pets
Breed Matters: Know what puppy is right for you.
This puppy, Macabee, is currently available at the Animal Shelter. Visit our website to learn more about her breed and personality.
Lately we, at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, have been getting a lot of calls from people wanting to adopt a puppy. Sometimes when we ask, “Well, what breed are you looking for?” the general response is “Just a small puppy.” Or “It doesn’t matter, we just want a puppy.” But, here’s the thing. It does matter. Breed matters, because one day, that little puppy is going to grow up into a dog.
I’ve only ever had one puppy. I adopted all my other companions as adults. When I decided to get Stella, I started doing intensive research on her breed mix. I was incredibly worried that I would not be able to keep up with her exercise needs and would end up with a destructive, unhappy dog. Sure, the fact that she would be medium-sized and hardly shed was important to me. But going in, I knew I was going to have a high-energy, smart dog, and I needed to be prepared for that, as her breed mix can live well into their teens.
Once she was old enough, Stella and I started training for sprint triathlons, the Boulder Mountain Tour and a half marathon. I credit her with helping me reach a lot of personal goals I never thought possible. She is always ready for an adventure and when we are done, and I am exhausted, she is ready for round two. I frequently joke that had I not adopted Stella, she probably would have been brought to the Shelter anyway, as her exercise needs surpass even what I was prepared for. It is obvious that a lot of people could have been overwhelmed by her needs.
So, when you are thinking about getting a puppy, think about what kind of dog you want. Try to look past that adorable face with incredible puppy breath and think about the next 10-15 years you will be spending with it. Yes, size, hair coat and looks do matter, but more important is the temperament and energy level of the dog. Don’t get a Border Collie if you are a couch potato and maybe pass on the enormous Mastiff mix if you are looking for a serious running companion. There is a puppy out there for you and by being patient you can end up with a puppy who becomes the best dog you’ve ever had.
Left: Puppies, like this German Shepherd, start out small and adorable, but often grow into BIG dogs with specific needs. Terrific dogs, for the right home. Right: Know what you're getting in advance! Who can resist something so tiny and cuddly as this baby Great Pyrenees? Just don't forget what a Pyrenees can grow into!