Sorry to post this OT thread, but I really didn't feel like signing up for another forum. I know there is a lot of great posters on this site, with a lot of valuable information, so I wanted to ask your opinions on dogs.
I've been going back and forth about getting a dog for the past 2 - 3 years. Every time I think I want to get a dog, I felt the timing wasn't right. But, now I'm starting to feel that the time is right to get one in the near future.
A little background. I'm 29, and I live by myself in a 2,200 sq ft patio home, w/ a small fenced in yard. I recently took out all the grass in the yard and put in flag stones and small pebbles, so I wouldn't have to cut the grass. There are a few areas where the dog would be able to use the bathroom, but its not an ideal backyard for a dog. I work an 8 hr job, and would be away from the house about 9 - 10 hrs a day, so the dog would be inside while I'm gone...either in a crate or fenced in a certain part of the house. I'm active, I like running, biking, hiking and swimming. I know I could take a dog on walk or run in the mornings and evenings, and there are great parks and trails near my house that I could let it run w/o a leash. I've also started to tent camp recently, as well as started to go on hike's and backpacking trips. So, it would be nice to have a companion on those trips.
I feel like I've done a lot of research on a breed of dog I would like to have, as well as to what I would need to do to care for it, but I feel like there is also a lot of unknowns. If I get a dog, it'll definitely be a rescue dog from either the SPCA or Humane Society. I don't need a pure bred, but I would like a dog that would be okay to run with me while I run and/or bike, so it would need to be a breed that can run long distances. The two breeds that have caught my attention has been the Australian Shepherd and a Blue Heeler.
I guess I'm wondering if anyone has experience with any of these two dogs, and what your thoughts are on them. I'm not going to rush in and get the first dog I meet just because it meets the breed I want. I'll make sure I go back a couple of times to make sure we connect.
For dog owners, what do you do if you go on vacation or are gone for an extended period? do you have someone pet-sit, or would you have them go to a place that will board a dog?
I have a lot more questions, but I want to keep this post relatively short.
Thank you for any responses. I have family in town for another week or two, and after that, I'll submit my adoption survey to the SPCA and start looking for a new best friend and gather all the necessities before bringing him/her home.