Dog (Help) Needed

It’s almost time, folks. By which I mean I’m going to marry my best friend, fly to Italy for two weeks and—wait for it—adopt a dog!

Or two.

I’m pushing for two.

The way I see it, adopting a dog is like going camping: it’s just as much work to pack for one night as it is for two. And besides, if we get two mutts, they can keep each other company and we can take great Christmas card photos.

dog xmas

In fact, I’m going to be sure to put that on our application:

Dear Nice People of the ASPCA:

We would like two dogs please, and we would prefer dogs that look nice in Christmas photos. Preferably one very large dog and one very small dog, because we already have several holiday tableaus in mind and we feel that these proportions would be the most aesthetically pleasing.

Thank you.

PS: We are still upset that the photo we submitted for the cutest pet photo contest at your fundraiser last month did not win but we will not hold this against you (especially because we DID win that rather lovely wine bottle gift basket in the Silent Auction). We will, however, be more likely to find forgiveness in our hearts for this gross error of judgment on your part if you see to it that we get two nice looking dogs this time around.

… Then again maybe not.

I wouldn’t want them flagging us as unfit dog parents.

In all seriousness though, we do need some advice.

In a city like Philadelphia, most of the shelters are full of pit bulls and while I have nothing against pit bulls (contrary to popular opinion, they can be really sweet), I’ve been warned that some of them have been bread with a bit of a mean streak that can come out especially around children and babies.

And seeing as we’re intended to have plenty of children and babies in our future, I know we need to be careful in considering the type of dog we get so that we can commit to providing a loving and stable home for the long haul.

Also? We live in a city. And although we have a small fenced in patio, we don’t have a proper yard. So we need a dog who is content to go for walks to the park instead of having a big grassy space to romp around in.

Since I generally work from home during the day and PIC is usually home at night while I’m teaching, we’ll be able to provide our dog with plenty of attention and people time so that won’t be an issue. But since PIC has never had a dog before and puppies are a ton of work, I know that we’d be better suited to bringing a slightly more mature dog into our home.

I think that about covers it: everything you need to know to about PIC and me in order to make your very best recommendation for the type of dog(s) we should get!

For local readers, I’d also be interested to know if you’ve had experiences with any particular shelters or rescues. There are quite a few options but I get sad if I spend too long researching the various websites…

Thank you!

11 Responses to “Dog (Help) Needed”

  1. wendy13fh

    When we got our dog, I had a few criteria as well…
    no hounds (we lived in an apartment, I was convinced they barked too much)
    no puppies
    and I know this sounds weird, but I really wanted an ugly dog with a face only dog parents could love

    What I ended up with…
    21 week old hound mix that is so stupidly handsome people pull over to ask “what kind of dog” he is.

    You’re willing to put the time an work in, you’ll know when you have the right dog.

    We also went with a rescue that had adoption coordinators. They’re volunteers, but they’re pretty honest about how the dog will fit into your life if you’re honest on the questionnaire.

  2. Wendy

    Go to pet finder. Or go to All paws. I would stay away from very big dogs because of typically shorter life span and the frequency of problems like hip dysplasia. Pit bulls are wonderful dogs. The only problem is they are super protective. They also need a ton of exercise and attention to keep them happy and healthy. This is the case with a lot of larger dogs. I think you must choose solely on cuteness scale though. That is the best method! And you know we drove 8 hours each way for our last five pound holy terror!

    • Kat Richter

      Haha! Yeah the cuteness scale is a big factor. I think we’re gonna do all this research and have our ideal dog all mapped out and then just fall in love with the first one we see…

  3. jill

    I whole heartedly agree with the first commenter. We, meaning various combinations of the family went to the local humane society several times. I especially wanted their experts to meet my whack job third child. We were brutally honest on the questionnaire. We knew we couldn’t fall in love with a dog that wouldn’t be suited to our family, so we didn’t. We accepted their advice when they said a dog wasn’t a good fit for us. When I suspected we were on to the right dog I brought the toughest family member to meet him first. He passed the Lilia test, so everyone else got to meet him too. I didn’t want a long haired dog, but he was the right one and that’s the hair he came with so I got a better vacuum. Take your time, don’t rush and your dog (s) will find you. And so many good wishes to you, in every endeavor. May all good things and much happiness be yours.

  4. Leah

    I’m a dog sitter and dog walker, not a dog owner, and I’m pretty short on advice regarding breeds. I do want to congratulate you for going the rescue route, and I will encourage you to make sure you have plenty of time to train the new members of your household and to learn how to be good dog trainers.

    What I know is that most dogs thrive on consistency, routine, and discipline. Tire them out, give them love, and put in the time and effort they deserve, and you will be rewarded.

    Good luck!

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, I was watching some of those “Cesar, the Dog Whisperer” shows and he always says “exercise, obedience, then affection” in that order.

        • Kat Richter

          Yeah, puppies are irresistible. Which is why we’re not going to get one. This will be PICs first dog and as cute as puppies are, they are also a lot of work so we figured out first dog should be a bit easier to handle.

  5. Grace @ Cultural Life

    A lot of people have preferences for certain breeds/types of dog, and mine is for spaniels. I think they’re great — I’m considering getting one myself (a Cavalier King Charles — there are two in the photo in your post), and I’ve done a lot of research on them.

    Personally, I’d steer clear of terriers. They can be lovely, but they can be yappy (my neighbour has two and when they’re in the garden, they never shut up) and they can also be a bit of a handful.

    From my experience, the sporting group (retrievers, spaniels, Labradors etc.) has some of the types of dog with the best temperaments — gentle, good with children, easygoing and a great family dog. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule. But on the whole, that’s the type of dog I would be looking for.

    By the way, don’t be put off by the category “sporting group” — that’s just the formal category that the Kennel Club uses based on the history of these breeds, and all of these dogs can be kept as non-working pets.

    It’s so exciting that you’re getting a dog…can’t wait to hear what you get! 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      Good advice- thank you! While small dogs would be a better fit for our small house and small yard, we don’t want any little yappers. PIC is partial to the sporting/working breeds so I think a mid sized mutt may be just the ticket.

  6. becky119

    We found our adorable puppy at He was actually rescued from a shelter in Tennessee! When we adopted him, he was already 10 months old. I wouldn’t recommend going any younger than that.
    Since we do not have a big yard, we opted for a smaller breed. Ranger is a dachshund/terrier. Once we have a bigger place, we plan to get him a medium-sized brother. 🙂

    Good luck!!


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