An author searches for the perfect dog in The Quest For Dog

A dog shouldn’t be brought into your home on a whim. A successful match between you and your new addition requires research, dedication, and lots of planning. She hopes to bring home the perfect furry companion on her dog-search adventures. On the path to dog ownership, follow her journey as she chronicles her experiences, challenges, and discoveries.

I have always loved dogs since I was a child. A trip to the mall was never complete without a visit to the pet store. In my late 20s, some women my age seem to be baby crazy, but I’m dog crazy. I’m the only dog lover I know who doesn’t own a dog. It seems fitting, however, that I live in Oakville, where we have more vet offices than doctors’ offices. I live with my husband (we’re newlyweds for two more weeks!) in our family size home without any babies or pets.

As a child, I always wanted a dog. In fact, I had never really been around dogs, but I knew I’d love them and wanted one for some reason; maybe it was the third child syndrome. I constantly nagged my parents about getting a dog, promising to walk, feed, and take care of it (I made big promises for a six-year-old). My beloved Roxy, our beagle, was brought home to us on one of the best days of my childhood.

Seeing an advertisement for beagle puppies in the newspaper, my parents went to the farm, picked one out, and took her home. Roxy and her parents didn’t have any paperwork or health clearances, but we had her for 10 happy years, she was healthy, and she was a great dog.

One day, my husband and I would like to get our own dog. Despite that, I’m not convinced we will be able to handle the responsibility of a dog just yet since a pet will totally change our lifestyle. Besides that, we can’t even agree on what breed we both want.

Each dog is unique, with its own set of characteristics. I would be a dog with the personality of “master of research, organization, and planning”. There is so much to consider when it comes to different breeds that I am constantly learning about them. So, I can put them on my yay or nay list and, when the time comes, I’ll have done all my research.

At the moment, time away from the house is our biggest challenge and what keeps us from getting a dog. As a result of working and commuting, our dog would be left home alone for 10 hours a day. Although dogs love to sleep, they also love to see their owners and take bathroom breaks throughout the day. This amount of time alone doesn’t seem fair to a dog, especially a puppy.

It is important to figure out if you have the time to take care of a dog before getting one. Would you have time to walk it in the morning before going to work? Can your dog take a mid-day bathroom break? Would you be able to spend time with it in the evenings and on weekends? It’s not just a couple of times a week; it’s a daily commitment for many years to come. You may set yourself up for a stressful home life with a stressed out dog if you don’t consider these things ahead of time. Roxy taught me that dogs are like kids, children who never become independent. To all parents considering a family pet, don’t believe the promises your six-year-old makes; in fact, few teenagers will volunteer. In this regard, you might as well count down a few helpful hands (or feet).

Start thinking about the financial responsibility of owning a dog once you have considered the time factor. A pure bread dog from a reputable breeder would cost between $900 and $1500, then another few hundred for spaying or neutering – those are the one-time fees! Depending on your budget, you must consider whether you can afford food, toys, training lessons, annual vet visits, and medications if your dog requires them. If an unexpected pet expense arises, are you willing to sacrifice something for yourself? I don’t want to sound overboard, but if you love your pet and treat it well, then like children, your life isn’t all about you.

The next step is to think about breeds you like. Let’s start with size; do you prefer small or large breeds? Is everyone involved in taking care of your dog on the same page? Are you able to accommodate a large dog (if that’s what you prefer)? When it comes to dogs, my husband and I both prefer medium to large breeds (that’s one check mark for us). If it were totally up to my husband, we’d have a Bernese Mountain dog or a Newfoundland, and a house full of long black fur; not my style.

Check out a pet magazine, research on, and ask your neighbors what type of dog theirs is (if you think it’s cute). A park with off-leash dog areas is another great place to see a variety of breeds to help you start your research. Basically, if I see a cute dog, I look it up! All puppies are cute, so it’s important to look at both puppies and full-grown pictures of the breeds. Start putting them on your own yay and nay list based on their appearance and size. As soon as you have this going, you need to learn everything you can about the yay list, and find breeds that are a good match for your personality and lifestyle.

I hope to continue sharing with you what I consider about a dog’s personality, as well as vice versa. I would also love to hear from dog owners who are willing to share information about their own dogs.

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