Hey all! This weeks blog is going to be a little different. Something happened the other day that upset me & got me thinking that I needed to share my thoughts for what they’re worth. A friend of mine from high school contacted me this week asking if I knew of anyone interested in a puppy. She has a female yellow lab that bred with a St. Bernese Mountain Dog and when it was time to find homes for the puppies a family member told her they “really wanted one” and to please make sure she would save one for them. The puppies were born on Veteran’s Day, last November, and like promised, one of the male puppies was saved for them. Well here we are just starting April and my friend received a call from the family member stating that she was “allergic to the puppy” all of a sudden & could my friend take it back?!
Let me stop here to say becoming allergic to an animal is a valid reason for not being able to care for it anymore, however, in this particular situation this was an excuse & not the truthful reason, which was, she no longer wanted the responsibility of caring for a puppy anymore. In my opinion, this is a totally unacceptable thing to do, as she made a commitment when she asked for the puppy from the beginning when it could have possibly gone to a “forever home” as the rest of the litter did. After hearing the story from my friend I told her I would do everything I could to find a home for the little fella but felt that wasn’t enough & that I could make good use of my job writing this blog to just get people to stop & think very seriously before committing themselves to the very serious job of caring for a dog, let alone a puppy.
I just want to cover some of the basic things you might want to consider when thinking of getting any kind of pet but especially a dog. First off I would always suggest saving an animal from a shelter before going in search of pure breeds. Before sitting down to write this I did some research online and was absolutely shocked at the figures given by the ASPCA on homeless pets (I will put a links at the end of the post for anyone interested in checking them out). Some of this will seem very obvious but I’m going to point things out just in case someone hasn’t thought of it
- If your heart is set on a pure breed dog, please do your research on what that particular breed requires (ie: size of home, amount of exercising, health issues)
- Think ahead – WAY ahead – cats can live to be 20+ years old and certain dogs up to 18 years. This isn’t something that is an in the meantime thing to do, it is a very serious long-term commitment.
- Where do you live? Are you willing & physically able to get up & shovel a path through snow to let your dog outside to do their business? I can’t tell you how many times in Maryland this past winter we have had to do this before we even had time to even truly wake up in the morning. Does it rain alot where you are? If so that means walking in the rain & bringing wet, muddy pawed dogs into your home.
- MONEY – I probably should have put this first but I figure it’s a no brainer. Do you have the financial ability to provide adequate food for your pet. Even when a dog appears healthy, issues arise & sometimes prescription food is necessary which can be pricey over time. Do you have money to have proper vaccinations and other veterinary care for your animal? A basic exam can be $50 then add in shots, heartworm & other medications, blood work, etc. and one vet visit can easily become $400. Preventative care is necessary for the sake of your animal so please do not skip this as a pet parent. Then there are the unforeseen situations requiring an emergency visit, and in our area just to have your pet seen by an ER Vet is $85. Our Toy Fox Terrier was very healthy for a long time but then out of nowhere became diabetic & went blind. Insulin runs around $25 then there are the needles which are $25, the vet visits were every month at the beginning until he we got him stable and even then he needed special food which costs a pretty penny. When our Sophie girl had her eye cut by the cat that was a $1500 surgery and set us back quite a bit. So please remember that young healthy puppy you are thinking of getting will one day more than likely get injured and sadly will not stay a little pup forever.
- Are you physically able to provide adequate exercise for your animal? Like humans, dogs muscles can atrophy if not used so getting them out for a walk in all temps & all types of weather is necessary even when you don’t feel well. If you’re laid up with the flu your dog still needs to go outside and “do their business”.
- Would you like to get away on a vacation if even for a weekend somewhere in the next 20 years? If so, do you have someone reliable to care for your pet while you are gone? Reliable is the key word in that sentence. You can’t just get your neighborhood teenager to come over & let your dog out to potty like you may be able to do if you have to work late perhaps. Pet sitters are fantastic (Jen’s Gentle Pet Sitters being the best obviously 🙂 but they are performing a very important service which, like everything else, requires money. When we took a cruise several years ago I had to not only consider money for the trip but also money for someone to care for 4 dogs & 3 cats while I was away for 7 days on the high seas.
The things I have mentioned above are just a small part of what is necessary to take into mind when you are thinking about getting that cute puppy or kitten someone has available. I’m sure I’ve left out more than a few things but hopefully I’ve at least caused someone to stop & give thought to what is required to be a Pet Parent. It is a HUGE commitment and not one you should enter into lightly. Don’t get me wrong, being a mommy to all of my furry babies is so unbelievably rewarding. No one will ever greet you after a long days work when you have just fought traffic for hours & are mad at the world like your dog will. They give me unconditional love when I’m happy or when I’m sad. They don’t care if you have bed head, morning breath or a bad breakout. You can’t put a price tag on that cute little (or big) face, warm body and wet nose. A pet’s love is without measure and they bring can bring you more joy then you would ever know. Losing one is like losing a family member, sometimes worse (hey, just being honest). I just want people to understand the great undertaking they are getting themselves into when they decide to take in a pet and if I have done that with this blog then I’m pleased. I don’t want anyone to mistake this as a “don’t get a pet” blog as nothing could be farther from how I feel. Please if you are interested in getting an animal do your research and I can’t say this part enough, please consider a shelter animal first before thinking of a brand new puppy or kitten from a breeder. Contrary to the old saying, you actually can teach old dogs new tricks and if you take time & put the effort into giving one a healthy, happy FOREVER home you will be beyond grateful you did.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Sophie will be back with her antics very soon as she has many more stories to share but I wanted to help a friend out this week so I borrowed her blog to do so. If anyone is interested in a precious 5 month old male Yellow Lab/St. Bernese Mountain dog mix that is already completely potty trained, great with people & other animals please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you pics and put you in touch with the person who is looking to find a home for him. Thanks for the idea to write this blog Bubba – we will find you a home you handsome little fella!
This is a great link that I would suggest reading as part of your research on getting a dog:
Here is the link I mentioned earlier with statistics on Homeless Animals in the U.S. It astounded me & made me sad & a bit angry and I’m certain it will you also. Lets all be a small part of a solution to this by spay & neutering all your pets.