Getting a Dog

20131104_103938See this precious puppy? This is our precious Calliope. We found her. Well, she found us. She was running through our property for a week. We caved in and fed her. Then we bathed her. Finally, we took her to the vet and vaccinated her and spayed her. Ok, we haven’t spayed her yet, but the appointment’s made.

Just so you know, before you read any further, I am not a veterinarian. I am not in the dog business in any way. I have no professional credential beyond “dog lover.” (Oh yea, I do love a good shifter story.) We have personally taken in or otherwise found homes for 6 dogs since we moved here 6 years ago. Dogs that were trained. Dogs that are sweet and precious. Dogs that were dumped.

So, I am annoyed. I am annoyed with you, the public, for getting dogs that you won’t take care of. Not only will you not take care of them, you dump them on my street. So that they either terrorize my dog, or I finally feel pity and take care of them myself. If you CAN’T take care of your dog, take it to the pound. Yes, even a kill shelter. It will be better taken care of there – and at least has a chance of finding a home – than it does if you just dump it somewhere out in the country. There are wild animals out here. There are also hunters. With guns. Big guns. That hurt things. So, take care of your dog. Or don’t get it. If circumstances change do ANYthing besides dump it.

Please?

So, in order to help you decide whether or not you are ready to take the plunge and GET a dog. I thought I would share a few dog owning truths with you. So, before you head to the pound (and you ARE planning to rescue, right?) – there are a few things you should know about parenting dogs.

  1. If you want a little dog, buy an adult dog. When you buy a puppy, there is absolutely no guarantee what size the dog is going to grow into. Yes, it might be “small”, but it still might be bigger than you would like. Getting rid of a dog because it is too big is like  . . . well I don’t know. But, it is wrong. WRONG I say.
  2. Puppies are going to pee and poop in your house. They will throw up too. Probably even after you have them house trained. It is the nature of the beast – when you gotta go, you gotta go. And, they get tummy upsets too.
  3. Puppies are noisy. They demand a lot of attention. Don’t expect your new puppy to just sit there and look pretty without interaction with you. They are very social beasts (there is a reason those werewolves always have a pack) and they want to SHARE your life.
  4. Expect to lose sleep with a new puppy. It would be really REALLY nice if that little guy would go to bed right before you do and not need to get up again until – well, until you get home from work. That ain’t gonna happen. In fact, you probably aren’t even going to make it to your alarm. So, expect it. Like with any new baby, this will get better with time, but it will take time.
  5. Expect your life to have much less freedom than it once did. Gone are the carefree days of being away from home all day every day. There is someone at home who expects to be fed and provided company. Don’t let him down – there is a reason they are called ‘puppy dog eyes.’
  6. All dogs, but especially young puppies, need to chew. And, they WILL chew. If you don’t want them to chew up your multi-million dollar Jimmy Choos, well, A) Don’t ever buy any but B) If you do, make sure you put them away. Away somewhere that your new young Houdini cannot open. And, then, invest in a rawhide making factory and purchase lots and LOTS of chew toys. And, then go get more.
  7. If your new boy or girl friend won’t come live with you unless you get rid of your dog, get rid of the boy or girl friend. Let’s face it – if they don’t love your dog, chances are the relationship isn’t going to go the long haul. In fact, it is unlikely to last the age of the dog. Allergies are another story – but find another option. Trust me – you will all be happier.
  8. If you have little kids, test run a dog before you commit to it. If you are thinking about having children (and, I firmly believe that dogs are a great test run for parenting humans), test run your dog on someone else’s children. As much as I sometimes hate it, the kids must come first. Therefore, you want to make sure that dog really doesn’t mind having its tail pulled before you take him home and make him fall in love with you. The kids are gonna pull his tail – maybe not when you are looking, but you can’t always be looking. So, you need a VERY gentle natured dog with those youngins.
  9. It really isn’t the breed, it is the training. But, some breeds take a bit more concern and care than others. (Personally, I lump Chihuahuas in here – we had one that bit every person who entered our house – as they left.) Before you get a dog, make sure the breed isn’t going to cause you to bump up against any restrictions – this might even be size. And what do we say about size? Don’t get a puppy . . .
  10. Owning a dog isn’t cheap. Do your research on vaccines and things like spay/neuter before you commit. Most places do have access to cheaper vet care, but it is limited and will take more due diligence on your part to find them. Vet bills are outrageous. Personally, we eat ramen for weeks when vet bills come due. The love of the dog is worth it. Trust me. And, you can work all that ramen off simply by walking that dog. You knew he was gonna want to be walked, right?

Dogs are the most loyal faithful companions you can ever have. Well, with maybe the slight exception of a sister. They can provide you with companionship and joy in immeasurable bounds. Unlike those children of human descent, they rarely talk back. They deserve protection, dependency and loyalty in return. If you cannot offer that, with all the inconsistencies, financial obligations, and personal inconveniences that I promise are going to abound, one or the other of you is NOT going to be happy. The dog doesn’t have a choice. You do.

And, please don’t come dump it on my street. We are sick and tired of having to care for dogs dumped out in the country because you are too lazy to care for those that you have promised to protect and too ashamed to take to the pound. There are people out there who will help you re-home your pet. In the event that none of these things are an option, please take your pet to the pound. It is really the most humane option.

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