SO YOU WANT A DOG?
It’s not like going out and picking out an ideal birthday gift that can be switched off and packed away when the novelty has worn off. It’s not like getting a new article of clothing that can be thrown away or handed to the local charity shop when it’s a few years old and just doesn’t suit your lifestyle anymore.
The only pet adoption routes recommended are through a registered and reputable animal welfare organization (that STERILISES each and every adopted pet) or through a registered and reputable breeder (go and view their premises)
WHERE TO START?
Try answering these questions below and if you have answered ‘yes’ to all of them, you then need to make a decision on what kind of dog to adopt:
- Will there be someone at home to give sufficient quality time to your dog?
- Have you sufficient space for a dog?
- Does your lease/complex allow you to keep a dog?
- Are you prepared to exercise your dog sufficiently?
- Is there open space either near your home or that you are prepared to drive to where you are allowed to exercise your dog if your grounds aren’t big enough?
- Can you afford veterinary fees?
- Are you prepared to give up time to ensure that your dog has the necessary training to socialize and to learn to obey basic commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’.
- Do you know that some types of dogs are noisier or more energetic than others?
- If you decide to adopt a puppy, are you prepared for some damage in your home (“toileting accidents or chewing items, for example”)
- Have you the time to groom a dog properly or can you afford grooming fees?
- Can you afford to feed your dog properly?
- Do you appreciate that dogs, like people, grow old and may need special care and attention later in their lives?
- If you cannot leave your dog with responsible relatives or friends when you go on holiday, can you afford the cost of boarding kennels?
- Are you prepared to love and care for your dog all its life, which is often more than ten years: – and not just when it’s a cuddly puppy
PUREBRD, CROSS BRED OR SPCA SPECIAL?
Adopting a purebred dog means that you will know how big the puppy will grow, what kind of coat it will have, the general temperament to expect etc. But there is no guarantee that you will have the world’s best specimen. Any dog may fall prey to some disease or have social problems although most of the time the latter are caused by inadequate training and irresponsible ownership.
With a purebred dog, a responsible breeder will provide you with sight of the registration papers of the mother and perhaps also the father, showing the ancestry. If the puppy has been registered, you will be able to get a Registration Certificate and Certified Three Generation Pedigree as issued to the breeder by the Kennel Union of South Africa.
A “crossbred” dog is the result of the mating of two distinct recognized breeds (for example, the mother a Border Collie and the father a Labrador.) The crossbred puppy may take the characteristics of either or both parents. You may have a rough idea of how your puppy may grow but there is no guarantee as to size, coat or anything else.
“An SPCA Special” is often taken to mean a mongrel but SPCA’s often have purebred dogs available for adoption. Purebred or not, each dog or puppy adopted from the SPCA must be sterilized. If you take your definition of a SPCA “special” to be a mongrel, then the literal definition is a dog born of parents which already have a mixture of breeds. Mongrels can make ideal pets but, no-one can guarantee anything about size, temperament or coat: – it depends which breeds are dominant.
MALE OR FEMALE?
This decision falls away if the dog or puppy is sterilized, regardless of whether it is male or female. Bitches come into heat, attract males for miles around and can be a nuisance to you as well as to the neighbors. We all know that unneutered males wander – or try to if there is a sniff of a bitch on heat. They also mark their territory.