I happen to agree that dogs are a man's best friend, however, that does not mean you should go running out to get one today. There are a lot of factors that should be considered when deciding to bring a four-legged friend into your life. First, I highly recommend checking out the shelters in your area; visit more than one, meet more than one dog. Not only does the SPCA save dogs that may have otherwise been put down, they also microchip your dog, give s/he a vet evaluation, and keep s/he clean and fed.
Maybe I am just a sap, but I believe the dog picks the human. I knew right away that Gonzo was going to be my main man, but I did my due diligence and explored other shelters, and met many other dogs before returning to pick him up. I knew that I did not have the space for a very energetic dog, and I did not have the time to train a young puppy. He had been at the pound longer than any other dog, had a couple of chipped and broken teeth, and a hairless butt from scratching at fleas (he had that taken care of at the SPCA, too!). He is an American Pitbull Terrier/Mastiff mix, so he is thought to be intimidating.
Though Gonzo is not perfect, he is house trained, likes to nap, and gets me up to go running in the morning. In a new neighborhood, living on my own, he makes me feel safe when we are exploring our surroundings. Though my mother said that I was predictable, "now that Laura has her own place, the next thing you know she will be getting a dog." I am glad I have taken on the responsibility.
Things to keep in mind if you do the same:
-Dogs need exercise, without it they will go crazy and ruin your home.
-Dogs are expensive, remember to factor in trips to the vet and food to your budget. Don't forget about dog sitting costs for time away.
-Dogs need mental stimulation - they like to learn, so teach them tricks, play fetch, or just be silly with your pooch.
-You have to pick up their poop.
-You will have a new best friend.