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One Family’s Journey to Find and Raise the Perfect Dog

Bella – Our black puppy who turned gray

Our daughter had been asking for a dog since she was 6 years old. We originally told her she needed to wait until she was older. However she kept pushing until she was given a definition of what older was. So we told her she needed to wait until she was at least 10.

Why this age?

We picked this age because we thought she would be old enough to help take care of the dog. We also needed time for my husband and I to get over the death of our English Springer Spaniel, Molly. Molly had died the year before at almost 15 years of age. Watching her deteriorate the last two years was really hard. We just were not ready to take on the emotional, financial and time commitment required for a dog.

Deciding to bring a dog into your life is a big commitment. To help you decide if you are ready for a dog, ask yourself the 6 questions outlined in Are You Ready for a Dog?

Fast forward to my daughter turning 8 1/2

As time passed we started to realize that maybe waiting to the age of ten was a little too long. We wanted our kids to be young enough to enjoy the wonders of having a dog, maybe even a puppy. So we started to research dogs to find one that would best fit our family. We also looked at our options on where we could get a dog.

As it turns out that getting a dog in a responsible manner was much harder than we thought. We spent hours researching about puppy mills, pet stores, backyard breeders, contract laws, prices, hobby breeders, shelters, rescues, etc. The list went on and on and on.

What we found is that there are a lot of scammers in the pet world. If you don’t want to be taken advantage of, you need to do your homework.

To learn more about the various scams you need to watch out for read Dog Adoption – Finding Your Perfect Pup. Here we outlined some of the scams we came across during our search and ways to protect yourself.

Bella About us
Bella at 9 weeks old

After about 6 months of searching and many failed attempts, we found Bella on She was a cute 9 week old Poodle/rat terrier mix. Although we really didn’t want a black dog due to my concerns over black deer ticks, we decided to try to adopt her. (It is hard to see black deer ticks,which is common where we live, on a black dog.)

We filled out the paper work and called the shelter to let them know we were interested in adopting her. They had a first come, first serve policy so we pulled the kids out of school the next day and headed to the shelter which was a two hour drive away. We arrived about three hours before the place opened and camped out at their front door. Unlike our other attempts of adopting a dog, this time we didn’t fail. Now we were on to our next journey of raising and training a puppy.

Please join us as we share our successes, disappointments and challenges of finding a puppy and caring for her.

We hope that through this site we can help the next person with their journey of dog parenting.