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Ask Strays That Can't Pay

Dear STCP, My family and I are thinking about getting a dog. There are so many to choose from. Do you have any advice on how to pick our perfect dog? So, you think you’re ready for a dog. You saw a photo in an ad of a cute little fluff ball.
Ask Strays That Can't Pay - August 7, 2015

Dear STCP,
My family and I are thinking about getting a dog. There are so many to choose from. Do you have any advice on how to pick our perfect dog? So, you think you’re ready for a dog. You saw a photo in an ad of a cute little fluff ball. “Free to a good home.” You think to yourself, “That’s the one!”

Dear Reader,
However, you need to ask yourself some questions. You need to remember that this animal will be with you for the next eight to 15 years, maybe shorter, maybe longer. You need to be aware of how big it might get as an adult. How much grooming are you prepared to do? Or pay a professional to do? Some breeds are easier to maintain than others.

You need to think realistically about how much exercise you are prepared to give your new dog. And please don’t expect children to hold up their end of the bargain as they beg for a puppy. Some breeds are naturally more energetic and therefore require more exercise to keep them healthy, and happy. Yes, your new pet’s happiness depends on exercise as well, not just food and water. A well exercised dog is a better behaved dog.

Do you have time and patience for a puppy? Puppies are A LOT of work! They WILL chew up your expensive new shoes…they WILL chew the vacuum cord…they WILL chew a hole in your couch…have accidents on your new hardwood floor…Or, maybe you should get a mature dog.

Do you want a dog that will lounge in bed with you, or lay quietly by your feet all day? Do you want a running companion; a walking or biking companion? Would you like to take up fly-ball or maybe Frisbee catching? Do you spend a lot of time at the lake?

Different breeds may have inherent health problems. Are you prepared to pay up front for large vet bills due to hip dysplasia or other hereditary health issues? Keep in mind that accidents can certainly happen and sometimes these can cost a lot of money.

Different breeds respond to training in different ways. Some breeds will almost automatically do what you desire. Other breeds will do it because it suits them. Yet other breeds won’t listen at all it seems! Of course time spent training will certainly help, but some breeds are more inclined to be trainable.

Remember, whatever you choose for your next, or maybe first dog, things might not work out the way you planned. Not all breed characteristics are absolutely inherent in every single dog of that breed. With some research and education you can certainly have a good idea. But, in the end, you will have found the only companion on earth that will love you more than it loves itself.

Email or mail your pet-related questions to: straysthatcantpay@gmail.com or Box 252 Elkhorn, MB R0M 0N0. We will do our best to answer questions, referring to trainers, vets and others when needed.


Strays That Can’t Pay is a local registered charity dedicated to helping the people and their pets of surrounding First Nation Communities through education, information, support and guidance with no judgment, no criticism. We are not vets; we are not professional trainers.


Chris Inkster is a STCP board member from the Rivers area. She specializes in fostering puppies in recovery from parvovirus.