Second Chance: Pick the Proper Pooch

Second Chance: Pick the Proper Pooch

Dear Pet Column,

I am very tempted to come to the Second Chance Shelter to adopt a dog, but have never had a dog before and feel overwhelmed about picking the right one. Please help.


Doggie Dazed



Dear Dazed,

You ask a great question.

Although homeless pets like myself are excited about finding new homes we are quite anxious about having a “failed adoption” (and typically a “failed adoption” means that the people who chose us failed, but we are the ones that get sent back to the shelter) – so please pay attention to the following:

Whether you are a new dog parent or a veteran, I have compiled some important questions to consider before taking the pooch parenting plunge. (Although these questions are dog-centric, they can be applied to any pet.)

Do you have time to give a dog the love and attention we deserve?

Can you provide daily exercise and interaction with people and other dog friends?

Can you afford the costs involved (food, routine vet care, potential extra/emergency medical costs)?

Are your emotional expectations realistic? (A dog is not a furry little person)

Will your dog be living in the house as a valued family member? (We are pack animals and don’t do well living alone outside.)

And my personal favorite reflection: Are you prepared to have your life transformed through the love and joy of doggiedom?

Age of your new dog is an important consideration as well.  Having recently outgrown the majority of my puppiness I can candidly state that puppies are cuter – but the cute factor is balanced by the requiring constant attention factor and should be part of the decision matrix.

Thus, do you have the time to raise and train a puppy (don’t forget about housetraining) and if you are gone for long periods of time during the day can you pay for a puppy-sitter or arrange alternative care?  To blossom into well-mannered and safe dogs, puppies must be well socialized amongst different environmental settings, people, children, and other dogs – so again, consider the time factor.

Additional considerations regard size and breed – which should be aligned with your home environment and lifestyle.  All dogs like to get out and run but some of us need to do so far more often and longer than others.  Many “behavioral issues” are a result of having too much pent up energy that we don’t know what to do with.  Thus, investigate different breed types and temperaments that align with your life.

In summary, do your homework, keep asking questions, and really spend time with a potential dog before adopting. Because they recognize the importance of having a “good fit,” the staff at Second Chance can provide direct guidance to you as you meet potential adoptees. And, Second Chance has doggie manners classes which are a great way to get you and your new pup off on the right paw.

So my name is Finn. If you think a five-month cattle dog/cuddle bug mix would be right for you come meet me today. As I came from a restricted environment, I am looking for a family who will help me become more worldly and confident. I love people.And I love other dogs – particularly bro’s Huck and Sawyer. Just looking for my Mark Twain to complete the story…


Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

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