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Do Empty Nest Parents, Downsize Their Dogs When They Downsize Their House?

This June, my youngest son will graduate from high school. As he walks down the aisle, I'm sure like all parents before me I will have memories of his first day of school, chicken pox and all the peanut butter sandwiches I've made over the last 14 years. However, being my youngest and last to graduate, I also will be faced with an empty nest and what to do with all the extra time on my hands and extra space left in his wake as he departs for college in the fall.

This brings me to my ultimate quandry. Do empty nest parents who downsize after the little ones are on their own, also downsize their dog as well? This question has been on my mind for some time.

For the past 23 years I have been surrounded by St Bernards, German Shepherds, Labs and Collie mixes. Always, I told myself for their family watchdog qualities. I never had to worry about the kids in the yard by themselves or being home alone while hubby worked the midnight shift.

But those days are gone, and like the kids who will all be on their own and off to college in the fall, all our big dogs have crossed the rainbow bridge. Leaving me now with not only an empty house and empty heart, but a decision on filling it with a new furry family member. The thought is daunting!

Question is: should I adopt a big dog? Or should I go for a lapdog? Should I work with a breeder or a shelter/rescue society? Should I get a puppy or adult? Purebred or mutt? Each certainly has its pros and cons, and for the next couple installments I'll be sharing my journey for the perfect family member, and asking for your input, dear readers, in hopes there are also empty nesters out there going through the same thing!