Owning and caring for a dog is a lot of work. Deciding to adopt a dog is a big choice, and one with a lot of consequences. Adopting a dog can be a wonderful experience, but it’s a decision you need to think a lot about – it’s important to find the right dog for you and your family.

  • Do you remember what energy level you are? What kind of dog should a person with your energy level adopt?

Remember, if you visit a shelter it may be hard to determine the energy level of a dog in a cage. Dogs left in cages may become frustrated (does anyone share that feeling?) and more (or less) energetic. So be sure to ask staff about the dog and how it usually behaves on walks and while playing with other staff and animals. Most shelters will allow you to take a dog for a walk or into a special playroom so you can spend some time getting to know each other. Taking a shelter dog for a walk is a great way to see how you may work together; using some of a dog’s energy (particularly the energy left over/built up from sitting in a cage) will help you get a better understanding of what the dog’s personality/characteristics are really like. It’s also helpful to ask shelter staff about any pet you are interested in. Shelter staff spend a lot of time with the animals living there and are committed to finding each a good, permanent home. Try to select a dog that is a good match for you and your family, not just a dog you find cute or charming. Strong relationships aren’t based primarily on looks, and you want this one to last a long time!

  • What else is important to think about when adopting a dog?
  • What kind of qualities would you look for in a dog?


Children will think about what is involved in adopting a dog, particularly determining the match between pet and owner. Considering the interrelationship between pets and people will foster children’s sense of caring, empathy, and social responsibility.

Vocabulary Words to Highlight:

Consequence(s), Adopt, Shelter, Personality