Cindy Laquidara's picture of a man walking his petIt is said that dogs are man’s best friend. The furry beasts have been in the lives of humankind for about 30,000 years, first as hunters and shepherds, now as pets and for some, family. Still, not everyone has a dog or the means, space, energy or otherwise, take care of them. As a result, around 2.4 million dogs and cats reside in shelters across America, with threat of being euthanized each year. Thus, if you’re thinking about adding a dog to your family, consider adoption. For many of you who have already considered that step, the issue may be finding which dog is best for you or your family. I’m here to help.

In a previous blog, I stated the benefits of pet adoption. Here’s a quick recap of things mentioned: you will save the dog’s life by keeping a healthy animal from being “put to sleep;” the animal could save your life, physically, emotionally and psychologically, helping with ailments from stress to arthritis; and, not stated enough, you could save your valuables, considering that many of the dogs in shelter are already housebroken and/or trained. These are priceless benefits and should, no doubt, be factored into your decision.

Yet, knowing and understanding the benefits are only half the battle. It’s important to know which kind of dog is right for you. Jacque Lynn Schultz, Director of Special Projects at the ASPCA, suggests the following things to consider to when making that decision. First, choose a dog that matches your personality type. If you’re outgoing or reserved, friendly or enjoy time alone, select a companion that will complement your personality and the both of you will be happy.

Secondly, determine how active you can or want to be. Dogs, just like people, have different requirements and needs with regard to level of activity. A great dane might be good for someone who is older, lives in an apartment, or simply enjoys walking around the block, whereas a golden retriever maybe more ideal if you’re looking for someone to fetch balls and play with children.

The key takeaway is that there are millions of great dogs out there, just waiting for a home. Do some research, visit a shelter, find a match, and you’ll have the chance to experience real, noticeable change in your life while making a change in the life of your pet.

Also, just in time for the holidays, Zappos is offering free pet adoption, from Black Friday until Cyber Monday. Click the link above for more details.