You walk by the pet shop window and can’t resist the cute faces. You go to your local shelter “just to look”. Before you know it, you and your new friend are heading to the pet supply store to stock up. That’s really the fun part isn’t it?
Okay, back to reality. The decision to bring a puppy into your life is a big one, and should not be made lightly.
Estimates put the number of animals killed in shelters around the U.S. each year, at approximately 4 million. There are many reasons why animals end up there, including treating them as “impulse” items, then not caring for them as they should. Unlike the shoes that can be returned without consequences, the same cannot be said for the animal that gets returned.
If you really want to share your life with a puppy, then the kindest thing you can do for yourself and your new furry friend, is to think long and hard before you act.
There are so many things to consider, here are some tips to help you
- Do you live alone, or do you share your home with others? This matters because if it’s only you, all the responsibility will be on your shoulders. Having said that, the same may be true no matter how many people you live with!
- Make sure that everyone who will be living with this new puppy is on board. Even if you’ll assume all the responsibilities life will become very difficult, very quickly, if your family/roommates are unhappy about the new housemate.
- Do you have the time to care for a puppy? It is a huge amount of work, lots of training, and please don’t underestimate that. Of course the same is true no matter how old!
- Can you afford it? The initial expense of setting up and buying the necessary supplies is quite high, and doesn’t end there. No matter how young or how healthy your new dog is, things always happen and veterinary care can be extremely expensive. You must be prepared for unexpected vet visits, illnesses, injuries and medication. If you’ll be out during the day or travelling, pet sitters and dog walkers will also be part of the picture and must be budgeted for.
- Research the different kinds of animals you could get as pets. Perhaps you will be interested in one you have never considered.
- Make sure you get the right type of pet for your lifestyle. If you work 14 hour days and are off with friends every weekend, perhaps now is not the right time to bring an animal into your life and especially not a dog.
- There are other ways to enjoy the company of animals if you are unable to commit to one at this time. Why not volunteer at a sanctuary or animal shelter? Most are in desperate need of help, and you get to hang out with the animals. It’s a win-win situation.
Are you ready for a puppy – conclusion
I urge you to not make the decision to get a puppy lightly. It is a lifetime commitment, a huge responsibility and one that can restrict your freedom. I don’t say this to discourage you only to help you be realistic about what you will be taking on. I cannot imagine life without my dogs, but they absolutely do limit my ability to just pick up and go whenever I feel the mood hit.