Brady is my college graduation present.
My mother was going to get me a pair of diamond stud earrings, but we were walking past an adoption even and I found him and asked for him instead. Somehow I convinced her.
He is a handful, so much more than I expected, but he’s wonderful.
I can’t stress enough the importance of really analyzing what you’re prepared to handle; the amount of time you’re willing to commit (both on a daily basis and in the long term for vacations, etc. and especially the years you will have the pet), the realistic costs of a dog (especially a large breed dog), the adjustments you are willing to make in your life for the addition of a pet, etc.
Using these considerations in your choice of breed,and being sure of the personality of the individual dog you choose to bring home are also critical. Personality plays as much into it as breed characteristics.
Brady, for example, was supposedly a German Shepherd/Husky cross. Yeah, nope. He’s Belgian Malinois. Though Malinois are cousins of the German Shepherd, their temperament as a breed is drastically different. They are even smarter than Shepherds, very high energy, and without enough stimulation, can get very destructive very quickly.
I was prepared for a Shepherd, which I’ve had before, but a Malinois was a little out of my realm of expectation and experience.
So we’re working through it, but it’s definitely been a learning curve for me.
In my family, a pet is a member of the clan. They have just as much importance as the humans do (more sometimes), so when I brought Brady home it was for the long haul.
That’s something else to consider before you get a dog: Why are you getting one? Companionship, security, sport, hunting, what? Because whatever the reason, it’s a commitment, and it’s something you have to be sure you’re prepared for before you enter into it.
Best of luck—heaven knows some days, I need it, too!