Weatherford Democrat

Lifestyles

February 15, 2008

A family's first dog

Denise Cook, Democrat Columnist

(Continued)



It’s important to carefully consider the breed and temperament of a dog when you bring it into your family. And by the way, I think a good temperament trumps breed any day of the week! Sandy’s temperament was perfect as I cannot remember one incident when she was aggressive towards us.

Sometime when I’m volunteering at the shelter or on off-site adoption events, I have the honor of helping families with small children select their first dog. Often they are immediately drawn to the smallest puppies and I always remind them that as adorable as the baby is, in a few short days the puppy phase will pass, and the adolescent stage will arrive bringing with it chewing, house training and socializing. The brunt of this work usually falls on the mother, and with small children at home it can be quite overwhelming. At any given day there are plenty of young adult dogs at the shelter to choose from that will fit well into the family dynamic.

You will want your children to have a good experience with their first dog because this impression could determine how they react to animals their whole lives. Take your time with this decision. Make sure the dog is child-safe and that the whole family is committed to caring for the dog. An impulse decision can lead to many arguments and a lot of heartache. The right dog will not only be a good and loving companion, but teach caring, responsibility and selflessness while bringing joy, laughter and togetherness to your family.

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Denise Cook is a freelance writer/photographer for the Weatherford Democrat, co-founder of Parker Paws, a non-profit in support of the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter, and a lifetime pet owner. Contact Denise at denise@parkerpaws.org, call (817)597-5784, or visit parkerpaws.org.

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