UPDATED February 27th, 2018

Say your little Jimmy has been begging for a dog for months. Maybe Sally gets all worked up every time she passes that pet store in town. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and if you’re toying with the idea of including a canine in your family, you should definitely consider a rescue dog. Not only would a dog make your kids happy, but there are benefits for you as well. According to the, “Pets can help us relax and focus our attention away from our problems and worries.” But before you drive to the nearest SPCA, there are a few factors to keep in mind.

You may have no control over what breeds are available when you decide to visit the shelter, but you must first consider your current family and housing situation before adopting a pet. If you live in a small space, perhaps a smaller breed (or mix) is better for you. If your children are small, terrier and herding dogs are great alternatives. If you are not very active or outdoorsy, a high-energy breed would not be the right fit you. Choosing the right dog is important because it’s a decision you are making for the rest of their lives. Adopting a dog has no do-over’s—that kind of thinking is how they ended up in shelters in the first place. Here are 14 benefits of owning a dog that should get you thinking.

1.  Safe Makers
One of the greatest things about dogs is that they are natural security guards. A dog is a protector of his home and family, he’ll deter intruders and his bark is a great alarm system.

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