My husband and I decided to add a puppy or dog to our household. Now that big decision has been resolved, there are several more to make before bringing our new pet home.

We both agree to adopt from an animal shelter or humane society. You won't find many pure blooded breeds at the animal shelter, but you will find many puppies and dogs that would make great pets and desperately need homes. The cost are minimal and include neutering or spaying, worming and often vacinations.

Rescue foundations are great if you are interested in a particular breed, want adult dog, and don't mind the adoption process. The fees usually range from $150.00 - $500.00 depending on the breed and the facility. You will be required to have your home inspected and be required to sign an agreement that you will return the dog to the facility if you can not keep it. While I can understand wanting to place the dog in a "proper" environment, I feel any enviroment where the dog is loved and cared for is better than the alternative. For example, if you rent an apartment you may not be a suitable candidate because you don't have a fenced yard for the dog.

Now that we agree to get a pet and get it from our local humane society, the question remains: a puppy or an adult dog? Maybe a kitten or a cat? Oh, I won't be too greedy.....

Adult dogs are difficult for shelters to find homes for. Today I was at the shelter and saw several lovely and sweet older dogs I wanted to take home. One of the advantages of adoting an adult dog is bypassing the puppy stages. Yeah, yeah, puppies are cute, but they are active and require a lot of hands- on attention twenty -four hours a day until they are old enough to be left alone for periods of time. If you don't want to raise "another child" but want the companionship and love of a dog, an adult or senior dog may well be your best choice.

One draw back of mature dogs, is that their personality and habits are fixed. They may also have issues resulting from previous abuses or behavior problems. However, all dogs respond to love and food and most will quickly adapt to your ways. You might consider consulting or hiring a professional trainer to help you and your new adult dog adapt to each other.

Puppies, on the other hand, are just chubby bundles of cuteness and energy. They need to be with their new owner almost constantly until settled in. They will need to be house broken and potty trained if kept indoors. They will need puppy vacinations, regular worming, and training. The training should begin the day you bring it home.

Another question to answer is what breed to get. Animal shelters don't usually offer many selections. Normally, you can choose from small, medium and large. Fortunaltely, mixed breeds usually make nice pets. With the money saved by adopting from a shelter instead of a breeder you can buy lots of chew toys, a crate, and obedience traing classes!!