Dog Advice?

We had a great visit with my mother-in-law and her 3 generation of female descendants this weekend.  And another female tagged along for the ride:  an elderly rescue chiuhuaua. (sp?)  The visit was a lot of fun, but spurred fresh sadness in my almost-8-year-old daughter, missing our own doggie who died almost two years ago.

Hubby and I have been thinking it might be time to get another dog anyway.  This pushed that pondering process further to the front of my wonders.

Do you have strong opinions, advice about a family dog?  We did not do the greatest job of getting Betsy out for frequent walks.  She was a Springer Spaniel mix and probably would have liked them a great deal.  She was a VERY happy dog, being mistaken for a puppy until nearly her last few years.  I remember he tail wag would involve her entire back hip section, in joy to see me come home from work.  I was the “alpha dog” in the family, despite my husband’s more ongoing continuous presence, Betsy seemed to prefer me.  Oh, that expression/prayer, “God let me be half the man my dog believes me to be” – that was sure the truth with me and Betsy!!!

We got Betsy at a no-kill animal shelter as a puppy.  I want to adopt from a shelter again, but I’m not determined to get a puppy this time.  I’m more interested in taking my time to get the right breed (i.e. adult size is hard to predict in mixed breed puppies sometimes!)  Well, anyway, let me spell out some of our family preferences, and see if you can give me your two cents worth?

  • Want to adopt from a shelter.  I don’t care if adult or puppy.  Kids would prefer puppy.  Kids will not be part of selection process til some serious (practical-minded) narrowing down by me.  Probably will leave hubby out of process for same reason!
  • Would prefer low-shedding dog.
  • Would prefer dog with low exercise requirements, but big enough and energetic enough for games of fetch in our reasonably sized city back yard.  We didn’t do the greatest job of walking Betsy as regularly as she would have enjoyed, but boy did that dog love to play fetch, especially with a fleece frisbee or old ratty tennis ball!
  • Would be unhappy with a yappy dog.  NO BEAGLES!!!!!!!!  I don’t know what it is about our family attracting beagles for neighbors…  Let me say it again, no beagles.  Period.
  • We enjoy cuddling a lap dog, or barring that due to size, hugging and petting a medium sized dog.  Betsy was a medium sized dog, who still enjoyed getting up in our laps.  She shed a LOT though.  Lap dogs that shed little would be preferable – and my definition of a lap dog is pretty liberal…just needs to enjoy being cuddled, and (mostly!) fit in a lap.  A little overlap is okay…  <smile>
  • Daughter would prefer a “cute” dog, but since her participation in the selection process will be limited to the end of the process, my preferences above would override cuteness.  And low-maintenance grooming, please!  Poodles or those bichon frise?  Not so much, even though they’re otherwise quite cute.  Some kind of low-shedding short hair breed that will be a lover – that’s the family dog of my dreams!

Thanks for your input!

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