Originally published Monday, September 16, 2019 at 09:17p.m.

A few months ago, I wrote a column titled: Do you really want a dog? Because if you are not sure, it might be best to wait until you are sure. But another question may be, do you really want a puppy?

Puppies are wonderful for young families who have lots of energy and lots of time to devote to the training and care of a pup. They also might be great for someone who is a bit older, who might be retired, is home a lot and has the patience to raise and train a puppy.

What about that person who is retired, but does not want the hassle of dealing with a puppy? That perfect person could be fairly active, likes to hike in the woods or just wants a companion: A buddy who will get you up and walking in the morning and encourage other walks and activities during the day. A best friend who would love to be at your side, day and night, willing to protect you and demand your affection and attention in exchange for providing all the affection you might wish for.

Loving rides in the car, in no time at all, that guy would let you know that you are near the courthouse plaza or the dog park or a favorite trail through the woods, and a walk and smell adventure would be most welcome.

The various rescue organizations always have a number of older dogs available who are eager to give and receive lots of love and attention.

Terry Mitchel made a visit to the humane society a few months back and noticed this fellow huddled in the corner. She learned he was deaf and close to 17 years old. She knew that no one would take him, so now you can see Terry and Sly walking happily around the neighborhood. Such a lucky boy!

Older dogs that you might adopt will be housebroken and somewhat leash trained. But generally, some training is needed to help that new resident get acclimated to his new home and surroundings. A training class might be advisable. This would help with the bonding process - and a good opportunity to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you already have a dog or cat in the household, it is very important to make sure that the new family member gets along with the present resident. The shelters can help you with an introduction. If you have had more than one pet and have recently lost one of them, a new older guy might be the perfect answer. Dogs who suddenly become an only dog are usually eager for a new friend.

Along with age, another factor in adopting is size. Some folks like a larger dog while some prefer those tiny cuddly creatures that are most comfortable on your lap. (But don’t be fooled. Those larger guys often would love to cuddle on your lap as well.)

But size is also an important consideration depending on your life style. If you are an active, adventurous person - or if young children are around frequently, you do not want a tiny little dog. Dogs around 20 pounds or more are hardy and will fit comfortably into most living situations.

Another consideration is coat or hair. If someone has allergies to pets or just plain does not want a heavily shedding dog, that is an important factor.

There are lots of dogs of various ages waiting at local shelters for a loving home. Do a little homework, study your wants, needs, schedule and lifestyle, and then make that trip to the shelter. You just might find yourself driving home with a best friend for years to come.

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at cpowerspak@gmail.com.