Truthful Words From a Pet Owner

“I want a puppy so bad!”

This has always been a sentence that triggers something inside of me, deep, deep down, but I’ve always kept quiet. I’m a firm believer that if you get a pet, that pet is yours and yours only until he or she crosses the rainbow bridge, for me, rehoming is not an option unless it’s for dire circumstances. Pets are members of your family and should be treated as such, would you trade in your child because they ripped your couch? No. Would you trade in your child because they scratched your car? No.

I’ve never understood why people get puppies and once they’re seven or eight months old try to rehome them because they ‘don’t have the room’, ‘don’t have the time’ or ‘it got bigger than we thought’. No, just no. So if you are considering getting a puppy or you have ever rehomed a dog read this article very carefully.

Puppies are a lifelong commitment: Your dog will need you from the first night home until his or her heart stops beating and not a second less. You are their family once they leave their litter, this means that they need you for comfort, playtime, socializing, exercise, discipline and everything else that they end up needing in their long lives. Dogs are a lifelong time commitment. Sit down and seriously consider whether you have time and are willing to make time to care for your dog. If you cannot commit everyday your life to a dog, for the next 8-15 years, don’t get one.

Puppies are expensive: Dog food costs money, vet bills cost money, toys cost money, and replacing the things that they ruin in their teething stage costs money. Dogs eat, play, get sick and ruin things, just like a child. These things quickly run up a bill, the average lifelong cost of raising a dog, according to the American Kennel Club is greater than $23 000 (http://www.akc.org/content/dog-care/articles/cost-to-raise-dog/). This really puts things into perspective for most as many people, unless you can afford this amount in addition to any surprise expenses, don’t get a dog.

Research your breed: Before committing to raising a puppy you should do as much research as possible on what breed is best for your lifestyle. Breeds require different levels of exercise, they grow different sizes, they have different demeanors, different health risks, you decision should be based on research not because of the price of the dog. There are many places online that you can look to figure out what breed is right for you and your life. Buying a German Shepard Labrador mix and then rehoming it because you ‘didn’t know how big it was going to get’ is just wrong, if you do any research anywhere you would know that this is not going to be a 2530lb dog. Until you spend a lot of time researching, do not get a dog.

Puppies grow into dogs: This seems to be a very common misconception when it comes to misunderstood and underprepared dog owners. Dogs grow quickly and need daily training from the time they come home. They are only as well trained as the training that they receive. If you don’t take the time to teach your puppy how to behave, they aren’t going to behave as a dog; it’s as simple as that. Don’t expect to wake up one day and your puppy knows not to chew, jump or use the bathroom outside, these things need to be taught. Training a dog is tiring and a lot of work, unless you have the patience and understanding that puppies do not come trained and need to have time and effort put into them, do not get a dog.

Please, if you are considering getting a dog take time to make the right decision for your life. Maybe the timing isn’t right at the moment, be mature and smart enough to realize and don’t get a dog unless you are fully prepared, too many innocent dogs are rehomed due to their owners being unprepared. Unless you are one hundred percent ready, do not get a dog, or any animal that breathes air, please stick to a gold fish or a house plant.

-Shannah

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