Second Chance: Ready for a Dog?

Second Chance: Ready for a Dog?

Dear Pet Column,

I have never had a dog before and am feeling overwhelmed trying to decide if I am ready for a pet. And then, if I am ready, how to pick the right dog for me.

Please help.

Doggie Dazed



Dear Dazed,

I totally get it. I feel as though I am ready for a home, but not sure how to pick the family. So I designed this interview process to assess candidates before I consider going home with them:

Do you have the time to give me the love and attention I deserve?

Can you provide me 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 – well, not all of us anyway.)

Will I 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: are you prepared to have your life expanded through the love and joy of doggiedom?

And once you pass the basics, my initial dog-readiness screening, you will need to consider if you are the right kind of person for me.

For instance, are you looking for a puppy or an adult (or in between? – at 11 months, I am just getting ready to leave my puppy stage behind)? And you know if you choose a young puppy you need to quadruple the time and attention you have available for a dog, right? To blossom into well-mannered and safe dogs, puppies must be well socialized in different environmental settings: people, children, and other dogs.

Beyond the adult vs. puppy issue there are of course decisions about size and breed. Those should be aligned with your home environment (apartment with no yard vs. house with yard) and lifestyle (couch potato vs. energetic adventurer).

All dogs like to get out to play and run, but some of us need to do that far more often and longer than others. As a Yorkie/Poodle, I am not as high energy as many dogs, but I certainly still will want you to take me out on nice walks everyday.

Many “behavioral issues” are a result of dogs having too much pent up energy we don’t know what to do with. Thus, investigate different breed types and temperaments when making a choice. The staff here at Second Chance can help you find your perfect match.

I would also want to assess your expectations of me. What are you looking for in temperament? A dog that alerts you to threats outside your home like squirrels, strangers and other dogs, or one who is super passive? Do you have children or other threats to a placid life? (Depending on how civil they are, I would likely enjoy young people, but I would have to meet them first and see how comfortable I am with them. What is your tolerance for shedding?  I don’t really shed, but I will expect you to keep me well groomed.

I also will want to have a quality first date before making a commitment. Come and spend some time with me at the Second Chance shelter and bring the whole family. Because I grew up in a place that was not safe, I am a little timid when I first meet people, but once you earn my trust I will show you more love you can imagine. You will need to continue the progress I have made with leash training. I love other dogs, but my priority will be you. And cuddling. My goal is to have a home for Valentine’s Day, so please come meet me soon.


And if a furry feline is more your style April, a beautiful black-and-white, 1.5- year-young girl is promoting herself as a Valentine special.  April claims that cats are way less maintenance than dogs, but she still wants to interview prospective adopters looking for an easy going, friendly explorer, who gets along great with other cats. April’s favorite hobbies are purring, napping and eating.

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 with Cabella & Wilbur

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.

Michelle & Wallowby

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