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Picking A Pet

If we're honest, we can all admit we have a “type” as far as what we find attractive — in people and in dogs. Some of us go for big and brawny, others melt over dainty and petite. Maybe we prefer blondes, or curls are a deal-breaker. Whatever your leanings, chances are, you have a perfect “look” in mind. But like Mama always said, don't judge a book by its cover. And that goes for dates and dogs.

When you decide to adopt a dog, try to keep an open mind. You can window shop online to your heart's content, mooning and swooning over every gorgeous furry face that pops up in your Petfinder search. But when it comes to finding the dog of your dreams, it's personality that matters most.

Me? I have husky lust. Those prick ears and pointed muzzle and lush pelt ... that wolfish aura ... and if the eyes happen to be blue, I'm smitten. But when we went to pick out our latest dog a year ago, I knew in my heart that I what I really needed was a dog that loved my rowdy kids and their rambunctious friends, wouldn't stalk and hunt my other five pets, could romp — not rumble — with my neighbors' dogs, would greet guests with zest — not angst — and would love a good nap on the couch as much as a hard workout.

Yes, I wanted a cute dog. But no matter how adorable, a dog who didn't fit that bill wouldn't fit into our lives. The floppy-eared, crew-cut goofball hound mix who rode home smiling in our back seat that day was a far cry from the “look” that normally turns my head. But it turns out it was a match made in heaven.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria has an expert team of matchmakers ready to help you make that love connection and meet The One. Be ready with a list of qualities that are important to you — personality traits that will help your new dog thrive in your family and your home. And get ready to fall in love with a dog with a heart of gold, not just a pretty face

All of the League's adoptable dogs, cats, and small animals can be found online at www.AlexandriaAnimals.org, but to truly get to know your potential pet, take the family to the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter. The shelter is open to the public every day except Wednesday, and adoption hours can be found online.