The Cape Codder is delighted to introduce a new monthly column, A Moment of Paws, written by the staff of the Brewster shelter of the Animal Rescue League, ARL. A wide array of pet and adoption-related topics will be addressed, and reader feedback is welcome. Here’s the first installment:


Walking along the National Seashore over the weekend, the sight that made me stop in my tracks wasn’t the waves, dunes, or pre-tourist season tranquility – it was a puppy giddily exploring every single grain of sand on the beach.

Seriously, what’s not to love about puppies?

They’re adorable, loving, lots of fun and come with a “put a smile on your face” guarantee. They’re also untrained, energetic and have been known to chew up that favorite sofa!

While adopting a pet is a wonderful and life-changing experience, remember that a puppy may not be right for every household.

If you are thinking of adopting a puppy, ask yourself these questions first:

* Do you have the time? From multiple daily feedings, to middle of the night potty trips, puppies need constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Don’t forget training and socialization – critical for puppies.

* Does your home allow for dogs? Renters should check their lease for pet restrictions and fees. Homeowners should check their homeowner’s insurance policy for restrictions. Every year thousands of pets are surrendered to animal shelters because of housing restrictions.

* Are you active or sedentary? Some dogs need a lot of exercise, while others do not. Before you adopt a puppy, do your research on the activity level of various breeds.

* Can you afford it? Food, vet visits, vaccinations, training, licensing, and medical emergencies are just a few of the costs to consider.

* Are you thinking long-term? What happens to your puppy if you start a family or have to move? Pets are a lifetime commitment, and these factors need to be considered as your puppy will be with you for the next 10 to 15 years.

* Are there human medical issues to consider? If allergies or other medical conditions could cause issues with pet ownership, consult your doctor before adopting.

* Are you prepared to groom them? Brushing, bathing, and regular attention to teeth, ears and nails must be done on a consistent basis for your pet’s health.

* Why do you want a puppy? If you already have pets in the home, especially senior pets, they may not be crazy about the idea of a furry ball of energy running around. Along with current pets, consider other family members, and who will care for the dog for its entire life – not just its formative years.

We at the Animal Rescue League of Boston are committed to matching adoptable animals with a permanent home. Our conversation-based, application-free adoption process is designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another.

Visit our Animal Care and Adoption Center at 3981 Route 6A in Brewster, or check us out at

Not ready to adopt a pet? Consider becoming an ARL volunteer.

Mike DeFina is ARL’s media relations officer. He grew up in Eastham, and is now a resident of Yarmouth. Readers with pet-related questions can email ARL at