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Lamping: Know what you're getting into when adopting a pet

| Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Andrea Lamping

A human came in to the shelter today ... I think he was definitely part Southwestern Pennsylvanian ... a very loyal breed usually adorned with a smooth black-and-yellow coat, the temperament is usually very admirable, with the exception of sporting events and Kenny Chesney concerts, and the breed's roots hold strong where the three rivers meet.

Commands are normally tricky with the Southwesties. Important ones to remember are 'n'at” and “yinz.” For example, “Yinz stop eating my perogies 'n at!”

This guy showed potential, though. He had a nice steady posture for long walks, a tasty looking pair of shoes and a strong arm for throwing a tennis ball ... What more could a dog ask for?

Now that we know what a dog looks for in an owner, what is it that we should consider when seeking a forever friend?

First, you must consider how much time and resources you have to offer. A young pup requires as much time, care and education as a young child. If your lifestyle doesn't accommodate the needs of a puppy, there are many benefits to adopting an adult dog. There are many shelters, breeders or breed-specific rescues if you have a certain dog in mind that will be more than happy to help you in your search for the perfect companion. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting your new best friend from a reputable breeder if it suits your lifestyle best, but do your research.

There are many establishments that exploit dogs and prospective dog parents at the expense of canine health and welfare. Raising baby puppies is a delicate art and involves neonatal handling and socialization, proper nutrition, meticulous environment management and a working knowledge of canine psychology, ethology and husbandry.

Reputable breeders will not just offer dogs to anyone.

They want to know that their precious babies are going to a responsible and knowledgeable parent.

Many professional trainers offer free pet-selection counseling, which is a huge benefit to individuals searching for a new addition to the family. This can offer you the resources you need to make an informed decision and to avoid puppy mills and back yard breeders.

No matter where you find your new best friend, remember that it is a lifetime commitment. A canine possesses all the greatest qualities that exist in our own humanity without the burden of its flaws. It does not judge or punish. It does not seek perfection, only love and purpose.

Andrea J. Lamping trains dogs in the greater airport area, including Sewickley, Moon and Robinson. She can be reached at 724-984-7829 or visit her website at www.moon-walkers.com.

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