Our LA are great, even sent round a specialist dog expert who did an assessment with the dog, coverd most things. pooch passed , suggest you look at the breed, something small that don't mault or slaver etc. enquire if LA do a similar scheme. get some one other than yourself too enquire regards their views and required standards etc. Could get a trained dog or get the dog trained.
Our dog was our child substitute - no question about that. But we took a sensible approach - we showed that we had researched dogs and adoptions. The BAAF had a publication that we purchased and presented to our SW as part of her home study. We also thought about how we would introduce pooch to DD. he attends doggie daycare (don't ask!) so we were able to show that he would not be around all the time, introductions could be gradually increased etc. Our SW was fine about it all, being a dog owner herself and seeing quite clearly was a huge softie our dog is. DD's SW was not as laid back.
We had to make sure during intros week that DD and dog met, to ensure she was okay, not allergic etc. We did have to say that we would rehome him if necessary.
Agree with Moomoomie - dogs and children can be great together. As it was it think it helped DD settle in, and pooch realises he is further down the pecking order but appreciates the extra titbits he gets.
Having a dog does not rule you out to adopt. What the SW wants to see is a well behaved dog that is treated as a dog and not as a baby substitute. They will also want to know that you will always put the children first and rehome the dog if necessary rather than disrupt the adoption. There was a thread on adoptions the other day about dogs, it may well be worth searching for.
Personally I think animals are important for children. We had two dogs when our eldest children came home. We are no dog less and I still feel we are not complete ( on the dog front, we have three dc, so complete there. )
My partner and I are planning to put in an application for adoption summer 2014 in Cumbria. We're at a crossroads at the moment regarding pets as we're both big animal lovers and would normally never be without a dog, but obviously having a family trumps that!
I lost my old dog a little while ago and now his dog is very old too, so we'd normally get another one - but will this complicate or hinder our application? We could either not get a dog and be dogless (and a bit sad I'd have to admit) until we hopefully get some children (we plan on school age kids) or get a rescue dog or get a puppy and raise it from scratch....really don't know what to do!!