Chapter I


(Choosing the Right Owner

       First you have to learn how to select your owner. Whether you're in a home, a pet store, or as I was in a Humane Society Shelter, it's important to plan your strategy ahead of time. My card read "terrier-cocker" so unless a person looked at my retriever paws they'd think I was going to be a "little brown dog." I was in a pen with a St. Bernard and a German Shepherd. When a likely lookng owner approached, I'd let the other puppies jump all over me and the person would say, "Oh, that[poor little puppy."
     Remember that people have different temperaments, just like dogs. Choose a person as much like yourself as possible. Are you a large, working dog like a Great Dane or Mastiff? Try to pick an owner that talks about the ranch or running or outdoors. You'll need lots of room to run and exercise.
     If you're a Dachsund or Poodle type you'll be happier in a home in the city, even an apartment.
     I know there are 131 purebred varieties of dogs so I can't tell each of you what kind of home you need. But generally you know whcfh of you are good with children - retrievers and terriers, for instance, like to rough house. Those of you with long hair that sheds, like Huskies, Rough Collies, or Chow Chows, be sure to choose someone who will take the time to groom you.
     Listen for a nice voice and watch for a person who smiles a lot. How they dress or how rich they look isn't important. A widow on a pension might feed you better than a wealthy person who lefves you with servants most of the time.
     If you can tell that the person looking through the wire is all wrong for you, the best trick is to hide in the back of the pen and close your eyes. They will think you're sick or retarded.
     Small children think dogs are toys to play with, so if you are a breed that gets nervous easily, like miniatures or Doberman Pinchers, don't pick a family that includse little kids. They expect us to tolerate any abuse without biting back and that is asking too much.
     Actually it's best if your owner doesn't have any children under five orr six years old. Little fingers are too tempting to bite off, especially after they[ve been poked in your eye.
     Looking adorable and longingly at a prospective owner is not hard for most puppies. When you see the right person for you, don't be shy, run right up to the fence and wag your tail a lot. Be lively and play with the other dogs in the pen, even if oyou don't like them. Appear bright and eager.
     Remember you may have to live with this person the rest of your life. Ten to fifteen years with a mean, stingy owner could be intolerable, so choose your owner carefully.

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