Josh Billings once said that a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. Many dog owners will agree with this. If your dog can give you all the love in the world and show the deepest admiration for your personality even if you are the meanest of persons, you have to take on your responsibilities and make sure you are able to take care of your dog properly.
It is great that you are considering adopting a dog, but before you go through with it, take into account these 7 things you need to know. This is a commitment so don’t make any rash decisions.
1. Choose the Right Dog For Yourself
Different breeds have different personalities. Some are outdoorsy and active, while others are true couch-potatoes. You should definitely consider your lifestyle and habits before choosing a breed. If you are not much into sports and outdoor activities, you don’t want a dog that needs long walks and regular exercise.
Moreover, choose the right pet for yourself. Maybe a dog is not the best option for you. Like Winston Churchill used to say “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
2. Consider Adopting a Dog From an Animal Shelter
You can always buy a dog, but adopting one from a shelter is a great thing to do. It’s noble and you’ll feel like you did something right. In this case, money can buy you love, but you can also get it for free. This does not mean that you should treat this marvelous gift with less respect. Remember, your dog is the most valuable thing you’ll ever own.
3. Can You Afford a Pet?
Pet care costs money. Owning a pet is also a financial responsibility. Make sure you have sufficient annual funds available for pet care. If you can’t afford having a dog, but you still feel that you have a lot of love to give, maybe you should choose a smaller “low- maintenance” pet.
4. Are You Thinking Long Term?
Bear in mind that having a dog is not only a commitment; it’s a long term commitment. The dog you adopted will not stay a cute little puppy forever. They age and they start developing health issues. Over time, they start craving more and more love and affection. Like in that famous Beatles’ song, if your dog could speak, it would ask you “will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?”
The average lifespan of a dog is in the neighborhood of 13 years. Some even live long enough to see their 20th birthday. If you are not ready for a long term commitment, don’t adopt a dog.
5. When It Comes to Dogs There’s No Transfer of Responsibility
A dog can have only one owner. The concept of a family dog is only about divided responsibility. Even a family dog can recognize only one owner. It relates to other family members from the point of view of its human.
So, if you adopt your dog, you will be the one responsible for it. Yes, your family members can take on some responsibility, but not full control. The dog’s human will not be the person who bought it, but the person who takes care of it.
6. A Dog is Not a Roommate
When comparing an animal to a person, we tend to compare pets to children. This is potentially wrong. A dog is nothing like a child. We shouldn’t confuse nor compare the two just because dogs are also incapable of living independently.
On the other hand, dogs are not your roomies who will make themselves disappear when your new boyfriend is coming over. Take into consideration that a dog owner has a slightly different lifestyle than other people who don not have pets. If you are not ready to let your dog change your life (for the better) then maybe it’s not the right time for you to adopt one.
Groucho Marx used to joke “Just give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.” Needless to say, you will not get the dog to go some place else and read.
7. Do You Really Want a Dog?
You have to realize that a dog is not a fashion accessory. It’s not just a cute little lap thingy you can carry around because its collar matches your outfit. It becomes an equal member of your household and you should bear that in mind before making a decision to adopt.
A dog is a living creature with its nasty habits, health problems, dirty paws and odor. It loves, aches, gets annoyed, suffers, feels sad and feels happy. You should also be aware of the fact that, at some point in time, you will have to cope with the loss of your dog.
Having a dog is a major responsibility and it’s not as simple as it may seem. However, when you come home from a long day at work, and apart from your family, another special creature welcomes you full of excitement, the only thing that will cross your mind is “What would my life be without you?”