Ideally, if you're considering getting a pet, you should
find a veterinarian you feel comfortable with, make an appointment and
talk to him or her about what your family life is like, your time schedule,
space -- including whether you have a backyard -- and how many kids you
have. The vet may be able to recommend a suitable breed.
In the case of dogs, you can also ask the vet to recommend
a dog trainer. "Most dog trainers will accompany you to a shelter or kennel
or a rescue organization and help you find a nice, inexpensive, pound puppy
that is a breed or a mix that would fit in your family," Gilchrist says.
And the breed definitely matters, Harrell says. For one thing, pure-breeds
tend to be more high-strung than mutts. And little dogs are often nippier,
she says, adding, "There are some breeds that are absolutely prone to have