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What to consider when adopting a puppy

By Kristi Palma
Boston.com Staff / March 23, 2012
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In honor of National Puppy Day, Boston.com Pets talked to Marianne Gasbarro, the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center manager at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. She offered tips and advice to families considering adopting a puppy.

Q: Is every puppy right for every family?

A: No way (laughs). That's an easy one. Every animal is an individual. Every individual person has their family life and what they are looking for. You have to think about it as match making. It's absolutely match making. You have to think about what you want to do not just with your puppy at the beginning of his life but what you want to do throughout the course of his life.

Q: What is the most popular mistake families make when adopting a puppy?

A: Really, the match. Because some people will come later after the animal is not as cute. It's still a puppy but it's now a big puppy and (they'll) say, "This animal is too much for me." Every animal is going to get bigger. You are looking for the animal you want as an adult.

Q: What puppy is great with kids?

A: It's hard to recommend a set animal that's great with kids because still there are variations in the breed. If you are going to go out and look for a particular breed and you're someone who wants to go to a breeder, then just be diligent on doing your homework. Do they breed for the personality of the dog or do they just breed indiscriminately? There are certainly some breeds that are considered to be family friendly, but you have to do your homework, you have to do your homework on where the animal comes from.

Q: Where should people go to adopt?

A: Certainly people can find puppies in shelters and rescue groups. And purebreds come into shelters. Puppies obviously get scooped up quickly. So if you are looking to adopt a puppy, patience is required. If you start your search today and you want a puppy this weekend, you may not make the best decision.

Q: Everyone says having a puppy is like having a baby in the house because they are so demanding. Is this true?

A: Having had both babies and puppies, I would say it's pretty accurate. There's a lot of work to be done. There's that quick exponential growth...they change really rapidly...You cannot expect a very young puppy to sleep through the night with you as you wouldn't expect a young child to.

Q:What do you want people to know most about puppies?

A:I think the idea of really looking at what you want for your lifestyle. What are you looking for in your life? Because some older dogs can slide in pretty easily and you don't have too much change to your routine. A puppy is going to change your routine, period. There is no getting around that. Just know that a puppy really needs you to put forth an effort so that it develops into a really nice dog.

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