Ideally I'd be seeking out a bigger dog - one that can go running/hiking with me or just play fetch at the park. Really I'd want a dog that fit my lifestyle and that I wouldn't have to leave behind when out in nature. Not that I would rule out a smaller dog out of hand but the ones that come to mind are Labradors or Retrievers and half a million variations of mutts that make for awesome, active dogs.
My plan would to be adopt from one of the shelters in town as those are the dogs most in need of a home - either the Max Fund or Dumb Friends League. My heart just breaks for the dogs in there and would love to help one if I can. Young/old I'm less concerned just so long as I feel like I can connect with the dog and that this will work long-term. I plan to have this dog for the length of its life or mine - I don't plan to return it to the shelter. Cost isn't really a concern either.
However I still have two related concerns:
1) I have no fenced in yard
2) I'm gone for long periods of the day and longer still in busy season
And so I wonder what I will do with the dog during the day. I'd feel awful kenneling it all day. I have a friend with a boxer puppy (now grown) which is kenneled all day long and I just feel horrible for it. A dog with separation anxiety would be a non-starter in this situation...but even one without is bound to be lonely. I'm concerned about my capability to provide a good home for a dog when I'll be gone for long periods of time every day. And I work far enough way that lunchtime visits can't be regular occurrences. This concern goes double considering that I'd be looking at a larger more active dog - not a smaller house dog. I have friends/gf/a neighbor that will occasionally be able to check in on it, the occasional walk, but this won't be regular. For the most part they all work during the day too.
So with the scene set, I have several questions:
1) Is it cruel to adopt this dog without a yard to provide for it and long periods of time where it'll be alone.
2) Is it likely to tear up the house if I don't kennel it?
3) If the above is true, can this be mollified by either obedience school or doggy daycare?
4) Are there breeds I need to stay away from based on my living situation? Moreover are there breeds I should take a longer look at based on the kind of qualities I'm looking for?
5) As someone who's never owned a dog what are the biggest things I need to know? What will I be surprised by?
6) How much do you budget for your dog (i.e. food/pet accessories/vet visits etc.)? Just helps give me a sense of what I need to be prepared for.
Any answers to the above or even better sharing your adoption experience will be greatly appreciated just to give me a sense of what I might be in for and whether this makes sense giving my living situation. Plus, I understand I get evicted from Denver if I remain the last person in this town without a dog... so if we can make this work out that would be fantastic.
Edited by Jaime L, 15 August 2012 - 11:10 PM.