I am often at odds with myself when asked to give advice to people who are adopting their first dog. On one hand I am a person who strongly believes that bringing a dog into your home is not a casual matter. It should be done with forethought given to the financial, physical, and emotional responsibility we undertake for the life of this animal. I liken it to having a two year old child in your home for a dozen or (hopefully) more years.
On the other hand, I see the plight of so many dogs that are out there in the shelter system. Would they be better off in even a marginal home as compared to their current situation? Does my responsibility first stance prevent dogs from getting a good home because of an overabundance of caution?
I try to frame my advice so that perspective owners see that best outcome for both them and the dog is achieved by responsibility and not by chance. Still, I wonder if I’ve ever prevented an adoption that may have worked out for the best.
How many of you have dealt with these same feelings? Has it changed the way you counsel prospective adopters?