Bonnie Kreitler
4 min readJul 20, 2022


Animals| Dog Rescue | Relationship

Wait! Before You Rescue That Pup…

Here are five questions to ask before you get emotionally attached to a cute face.

Photo by Jacob Curtis on Unsplash

There’s no guaranteed way to choose the perfect dog as a companion for the next decade or so of your life.

Puppies are easy to love. Curious, cuddly, and brimming with youthful energy, their appeal is nearly universal.

But not every puppy is destined to grow into the adult dog of your dreams.

And an adult dog might fit your companionship needs better than a puppy.

You can increase the odds of finding a good match, however. How? BEFORE you meet and greet puppies at a rescue event or start searching the internet, do some planning.

Here are five elements to help create your perfect puppy plan.

1 — Why do you want a dog?

When you’ve just lost a canine companion, you tend to want a similar dog. But it’s not likely you will find a dog exactly like the one you loved even if you choose one of the same breed, even one from the same breeder.

Before you jump into search mode, sit down and make a list of the things you’d like in a new companion.

Think of every detail that’s important to you. Size? Color? Activity level? Personality? Potential health issues? Protection? Good with kids? Take some time to think about this.

Is it important that your dog be a strong hiker or swimmer? Do couch potatoes and lapdogs appeal to you?

If your list is long, rank the characteristics you’ve identified as important. Focus on the top three as you start your search. Use the others to continue winnowing the likely prospects.

This list is the basic roadmap to getting a dog you’ll love.

2 — How Much Time Do You Have?

Potty training and socializing a puppy consumes a lot of time. Weeks, in fact. Dogs need exercise, and different dogs need different amounts of it.

Many folks sought animal companionship during COVID lockdowns. Then — oops — what to do with the dog when the boss calls them back to the office. Is the dog of your choice more likely to snooze while you’re away or tear up the couch cushions?

How many hours a day can you schedule for your new companion?

3 — How Much Space Do You Have?

Think indoors and outdoors here.

Where will your dog live indoors? Is there space for a suitably sized crate or bed — or both? If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, will you need beds in different locations? If the kids rumble with the pup and throw toys, how’s that gonna work in your space?

Your dog will need outdoor exercise. Do you have a yard? Is it fenced? How far is it to places to walk the dog or allow it to swim? Romp off leash safely? Again, how much exercise is your roadmap dog likely to need?

Will your home space suit the dog you have in mind both physically and mentally?

4 — Will Your Beagle Be Legal?

The two legal basics of dog ownership are rabies vaccination and local licensing. Check the specific requirements in your state and town or county.

Check any pet restrictions that might apply to your situation before you choose a dog. Does your locale have ordinances that exclude certain breeds of dogs? If you rent or live in an association community, are there rules about the size or breed of dog allowed?

People can argue about whether such rules are reasonable or unreasonable. But rules are rules. It’s as simple as that. Avoid complications.

Check for dog ownership requirements or restrictions in your town or association before you choose a pup.

5 — Who Ya Gonna Call?

If you’ve had dogs before, you have a ballpark idea about ownership costs.

There will be food bills. Consider a pet’s size here, maybe even special dietary needs.

There will be vet bills. If you’ve never had a pet, ask friends with dogs how they like their veterinarians. Call a few with high marks to ask about basic annual checkup and vaccination costs. Can you budget an amount for emergencies? Afford pet insurance for surprise surgeries or pricy treatment of an illness?

There will be times you need help caring for your pet. Make another list now. Ask friends for recommendations about pet sitters and dog walkers (and are those friends open to doggy daycare or vacation swaps?). Visit dog daycare and boarding businesses ahead of time to see the facilities. Ask about vaccinations or other health care requirements you need to check off before you can leave your dog there.

Some advance research about your dog’s care providers will save you headaches later. And each party you talk to may provide you with other promising leads.

Researching a list of helpers before picking a pup will pay off in an easy transition of a new dog into your life and lifestyle.

Your Personal Perfect Pup Plan — Or Not

If you stop to do a bit of planning before the picking, the odds get better that you’ll choose a dog that will be a companion that fits well into your life and lifestyle.

But don’t fret if it turns out you didn’t pick that “perfect” dog.

The dog you choose may not turn out to be the dog of your dreams. But, given time and attention, it can become that good enough dog you love, and that loves you back.

Start your list, then start your search. Happy hunting!

© Bonnie Kreitler 2022. All rights reserved

Writer Bonnie Kreitler creates content to help fellow animal addicts build rewarding relationships with the critters in their lives. See more at



Bonnie Kreitler

Author, journalist, animal addict, observer, and explorer creating connections between our critter relationships and life lessons at