I've been wanting to do this for a while, but have been getting mixed reviews from people I know who own dogs about whether or not it's a good idea. Some background: I've never owned a dog before, partly because I've lived in apartments for most of my life and my family has never been keen on taking up such a huge responsibility in a small space. I have had cats since I was 12, so I am aware of how big of a responsibility a pet generally is. I've always loved dogs, and now that I will be on my own soon, I would love to explore the option of finally having one. The only problem is, being a first time owner and also not being the most patient person in the world, I think it would be smart for me to stay away from getting a puppy (despite how much I would love one). I've heard that it's a lot of work, and I'm worried that if I get overwhelmed, then the dog would suffer and I will have to try to find another home for it. With all the unwanted pets out there, this is just a situation I would like to avoid. A lot of my friends and people I know that have dogs have been 100% against the idea of getting an older dog. They say that the dog will never completely trust you and see you the same way they would if you had them at the puppy stage, and this could cause behavioural problems later on. Also, a lot of people have warned me against getting a dog when you don't know his or her history. Anyway, are any of these fears legitimate? Is there any way to overcome them, especially the whole issue of the dog always feeling distanced from you? Where would be the best place to get an older dog? I assume the humane society/local animal rescue, but I'm not sure if there are better places. What is the optimal age that I should be looking at? Are there any other issues I should be aware of before doing this? I would love to hear any advice or experiences.