Adopting a dog can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. In addition to gaining a loyal friend who will bring endless joy and companionship to your life, by adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group, you are directly saving a life. When you bring home a rescue dog, you free up space for another animal who might otherwise languish in a shelter. You also support the fight against over-population.
Of course, the biggest reward of adopting a dog is the dog! But how do you know if it’s the right time for you to bring home a new best friend? Read on for the 10 signs you’re ready to adopt a dog.
You’re a responsible adult
Responsibility looks different to different people, but a good guideline is that if you can take care of yourself and your living space, you’re ready to take care of a dog.
Dogs are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of work. It’s important to be prepared and realistic about the commitment. A little bit of money helps, too; you certainly don’t have to be rich to have a dog, but you should be financially responsible enough to take on the care of another living being. There are vet bills, routine food costs, and occasional pet care needs with any dog—including daycare for puppies, who need a lot of attention and stimulation!
You want to make your house a home
For dog people, “home” isn’t complete without a four-legged best friend. If you’re settled in a new place, whether as a buyer or a renter, it might be time to welcome a dog into your life.
Of course, if you’re renting, you’ll need to clear it with your management company or landlord first. But if you’re a brand new home owner, congratulations: the place is yours to do with as you please, and nothing makes a house a home like a dog!
The bed is feeling a little too big
Whether you’re sleeping alone or with a human partner, it’s hard to resist the comfort of curling up with a dog on a cold winter’s night. Petting a dog has been proven to lower stress, lower blood pressure, and improve general well-being. And nothing beats waking up to a gentle lick on the face (okay, and sometimes an obnoxious snore).
You weren’t using that extra pillow anyhow, were you?
You want a guaranteed smile
Companion animals make life a whole lot better. Studies show that pet people have better social skills, higher self esteem, better physical health, and tend to live longer than people without pets.
If you experience loneliness or depression, adopting a dog can be a true lifesaver. You’ll gain a built-in buddy, a go-to cuddler, and a walking buddy to help you get out of the house.
Studies show that pet people have better social skills, higher self esteem, better physical health, and tend to live longer than people without pets.
Of course, if you’re experiencing serious depression you should consult a professional, and make taking care of yourself a priority. A dog won’t solve all your problems, but it might give you a fresh perspective, in addition to a loyal friend.
Your adopted cat wants a friend
It’s a common misconception that cats and dogs don’t mix, but those of us with inter-species experience know that the right dog with the right cat can be a match made in heaven. If you have a brave, busy feline friend at home, maybe it’s time to mix things up with a canine companion.
The right dog with the right cat can be a match made in heaven.
Just make sure to take your time finding a cat-compatible pooch, and be sure to take introductions nice and slow.
You can’t stop asking strangers, “Can I pet your dog?”
It’s all well and good to meet new dog pals around the neighborhood, but be honest with yourself: If you’re non-stop gawking at dogs on the street, and approaching total strangers to ask if you can be friends with their pets, maybe it’s time to become a leash-holder yourself.
You’re ready to commit to a serious relationship
It’s easy to fall in love with a dog, but committing to a life together is next-level. Adopting a dog means taking on the responsibility for another living creature that fully depends on you, and promising to care for her for the duration of her life. For some people, that level of commitment feels like too much. But those of us with dogs know how fulfilling it is to really, truly commit.
Adopting a dog means taking on the responsibility for another living creature that fully depends on you, and promising to care for her for the duration of her life.
If your heart swells at the thought of sharing your life with a dog (and being on the receiving end of some seriously adoring looks), and you’re ready for the serious responsibility of being a pet parent, then what are you waiting for? Adopt a dog!
Your BFF called you out for Instagramming her dog too much
It’s fine to love a friend’s dog—in fact, that’s one of the best things about dogs: they’re infinitely lovable! But if you find yourself cuddling up to your friend’s rescue mutt a little too often, and “borrowing” her for Instagram pics, it’s maybe time to adopt a dog of your own.
Thankfully, you’ll have built-in support from your dog-loving best friend. And nothing beats long walks with your human and canine besties.
You already have a dog
After all, a two-dog household means double the fun…and double the responsibility, of course. The decision to adopt a second dog shouldn’t be made lightly, so before you commit, consider your current dog’s personality and play style, and whether a buddy would make their life better.
If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to start searching for your best friend’s new best friend. After all, what’s better than a dog curled up beside you on the couch? Two dogs curled up beside you on the couch!
You’re just ready. It’s as simple as that
How do you know you’re ready to adopt a dog? You just know. For me, I knew I was ready to adopt a dog of my own when I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months on end. My brain was a constant loop of “Dog. Dog. Dog. Dog. Dogdogdogdogdog!” I was still figuring out my own plans for life, but once I admitted to myself how badly I wanted a dog, I started looking for one right away.
Adopting a dog is a personal decision, and you should take your time to consider whether or not it’s the right one for you at this time. But if you’re reading this list, you may already know the answer. So start searching Petfinder, hit up the local animal shelter, and good luck in the search for your new best friend!