Part I: Finding the Right Breed
Now that you have decided upon the right breed, your next step is finding the right friend for you. One major factor into your will be if you want a puppy versus a grown dog. Petfinder.com is a great source for finding a pet. You put in search criteria including breed, zip code and any other preferences and it comes up with a lists of pets that match your criteria. They show pictures of the pets along with any contact information on the agency holding the pet. Many Rescue groups will list what shots the pet has received, adoption fee and any known information. This is all very helpful because it will help cost estimation. Remember, even if you are looking for a purebreed, almost 40% of dogs in rescues or shelters are purebreed dogs. I would recommend working with a breed specific rescue group. A google search will put you in contact with any in your area or surrounding area. I highly recommend rescue groups. If you are scared that you will adopt a problem dog, remember many rescue groups work with poor behavior prior to putting the dog up for adoption. Many of the animals have been in a foster home, where the foster parent will let you know about known behaviors. It is also a great way to find out if the dog is good with children. Don't assume that because you adopt a puppy,you will bypass these issues. As you can tell I am very passionate about rescue groups and working with shelters.
If you do insist upon having a purebreed from a breeder, a good starting place is also google. There are some rules to look for when adopting from a breeder. First, don't ever agree to meet them off site. Always insist on meeting them on site with the mother. This will help you see what conditions the puppy has been raised in and legitimate breeders will always agree to this condition. Ask the breeder for recommendations from other customers. Once again, this is a sign of a legitimate breeder, which is very important. As with the rescue groups find out what shots have been given and any other medical history.
Before you start looking into adopting a pet find a vet in your area. Find out the costs a regular office visit along with shots and any other services like pet medication. Many vets also offering boarding and grooming. If your pet is going to need fur trims or nail trims that you don't feel comfortable doing yourself get a cost estimate. This will help you plan for any expenses with your pet. Ask neighbors,co-workers, church members and friends for recommendations, this is the best way to find one in your area. Or look for low cost shot clinics that you can use for the more common ones like rabies and bordetella. Many of the low cost clinics are done by certified vets. Also, if you are going to neuter or spay your pet, find out if there are any rescue groups selling certificates at a reduced cost. This is a great way to save money on the costs associated with it. Another thing to consider is if you are going to microchip your pet. These are all things you should take into account along with the adoption costs.
A break down
1. Adoption Fee
-find out if this fee includes shots or other medical services.
2. Medical Costs
-shots(bordetella, rabies, etc), worm tests, overall vet exam(if needed)
3. County Registration
-Many areas have a pet license fee, find out what it is in your area and what records you need to send in with it. Ask for a copy at the time of adoption
-Find out if the microchip has a lifetime or yearly registration and if any fees go along with it.
5. House Supplies
-Food, bowl, leash and collar
In Part III, I'll talk about how to save money on costs once you bring your pet home like food, training and treats.