By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When you’re ready to add another canine member to your family, first think about stopping by your local animal shelter for a visit. Not only are there always a wide variety of various dog breeds, ages and sizes, but also you’ll have the unique opportunity to meet your perfect match, meaning the perfect fit for you, your family and the dog.

You should first figure out your typical family routines and your overall family lifestyle. Are you an active family? Do you exercise on a routine basis? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors in good weather? Or are you more low-key overall? Do you and your family find that you spend a lot of time at home? Do you spend more time indoors? What is the energy level like in the household? Is there a lot of activity, or are things quiet? What are the temperaments of the members of your household? Energy level plays a major role for your dog and is highly underestimated.

These are all factors that can determine your perfect canine companion. Research your family’s interests and routines first and share this with the volunteers at the animal shelter. In this way, he or she will be able to try to match you with the most suitable canine companion there to fit right into your family. That’s extremely important because, it greatly decreases the possibility of the dog being returned to the shelter.

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