Nervous About Getting a New Dog

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“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.” —Gilda Radner

Photo by Mdk572

Other than maybe your spouse, a pet is the only chance you have to choose the personality being introduced into your family. And even then it’s just an educated guess. So it’s natural to be nervous about getting a new dog. Will he be gentle with small children? Will she have a favorite person and ignore the rest of the family? Will this new dog fill the footprints of the old dog, who will be soon leaving?

While some questions can only be answered in time, thorough homework will go a long way toward easing your concerns. Choosing a breed with traits that fit your family and lifestyle is a good place to start.

Once you have chosen a breed, remember that within litters—as within any family—there are differences as well. If you are bringing home a puppy, spend some time with the litter first. You will be amazed at the unique personalities you will be able to identify.

One last reminder—brace yourself for puppyhood. If you’ve got a senior dog in the house, it’s quite possible you’ve forgotten how crazy, curious and innocently destructive these furry little bundles can be. You may find yourself defending your old dog from your new dog.

That was the position Rob Pasick, author and psychologist, found himself in when his family brought Ruby, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, home to their 13-year-old Yellow Labrador Lucy. Lucy, who had always been quick to roll over for a belly rub, suddenly became much more guarded—as if afraid the puppy might do some damage if she left herself vulnerable. Rob’s book, Conversations With My Old Dog, came out of that observation and many others. It is a collection of gentle lessons Lucy taught him by example, on topics of trust, family, aging gracefully and death.

Conversations With My Old Dog makes a lovely gift for any dog lover, and a thoughtful consolation for someone whose beloved pet has recently passed. Conversations With My Old Dog can be purchased through this web site or through

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