Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911


Thursday, November 16th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

I often emphasize the importance of looking at the parents of your potential puppy in order to get a good idea of its future behavior and appearance (size, coat thickness, etc).  Yet, if you adopt from the SPCA (which I strongly encourage too) that opportunity usually is not available.  So, how do you determine which dog will make a good match for you if you have no access to the dog’s family and history?  Very carefully!  I know from handling thousands of dogs here that first impressions are not always accurate and the grooming experience can be unique.  Often, we receive dogs that are great with their owners, friendly toward us and would never bite—until the clippers come out!  Even a slow and easy introduction doesn’t always work.  More likely than not, the dog who is afraid of the vacuum or lawn mower will also be afraid of clippers and blow dryers.

There are so many facets of pet ownership that are critical to consider when adopting.  One SPCA visit probably will not answer all of your questions.  Think about the environment you bring the dog into: 

1)  Do you have a cat?  Does your neighbor?  Will this dog happily share living space with one? 

2)  Do you have children?  Does your neighbor?  Will this dog respect children at all costs? 

3)  Does this dog bark incessantly for different reasons at bad times?  Will he bark and suffer separation anxiety?  Will he bark at night and disturb everyone’s sleep? 

There are many aspects of your home environment which need to be experienced by an adult dog prior to permanent adoption—that’s why the SPCA has a trial period and wonderful counseling services to help prospective owners.  If during that trial period your new family member punches all the right tickets or at least shows a willingness to learn, great! 

But keep in mind, some anxieties may take several hours a day for several months to alter—and that’s not a guarantee.  Do you have the time?  Does your family share your values and determination?A real examination of one’s lifestyle, age, home, etc is needed when assuming the responsibility of pet ownership.  An elderly couple facing retirement whose exercise habits have been sharply curtailed may think twice about selecting a Labrador Retriever—those dogs really want to run and play. 

When you consider adopting a dog, be sure to ask yourself why.  How much of it is for your companionship and what needs are you trying to fulfill?  Consider the needs of the dog and respect them as well.  Is there a match?  If not, someone’s going to be unhappy—possibly for a long, long time.

The CASPCA shares our concern about finding the right dog for the right home so that the whole family can be happy.  You can read about their adoption preparations and requirements on their website:

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