However getting a dog is a huge decision and not one to be made lightly. Contrary to celebrity culture, dogs are NOT accessories like earrings that exist to increase your ‘cute’ factor or attract boys. Dogs require an extreme amount of attention and often live for over a decade; you must commit to the love and care of this animal long before you bring it home.
Before you head to the pound to pick out your pup, sit down and give the following questions some heavy thought. Write down your answers if it helps you to wrap your head around the fact that you may soon be entrusting another being’s life into your hands.
1. Have you owned a dog before? While not ever owning a dog before doesn’t disqualify you from owning one in the future, if you have had a dog, you will have a much better idea of what adventures, good and bad, lay in store for you.
2. Have you had any pets before? Have you successfully cared for a guinea pig or goldfish? A house plant? Think about your past interactions with living beings. If you don’t even have time to water plants and keep them alive, you probably need to rethink the dog option.
3. Have you read up on the breed of dog you want to own? Dog breeds are very different; some are high-strung and require heaps of energy, some are slower and lazy, some like the water and some are good with children. You need to research what type of dog you want and make a decision on a breed based on many factors, not just on which cute face you want to see every morning.
4. How do you feel about poop and pee? If you have a giant problem picking up feces or with the occasional yellow accident in the house, owning a dog is not for you. And if you want a puppy, well- get ready for a world of excrement. Training a dog to be housebroken is not for the squeamish.
5. Can you afford a dog? Consider not only the cost of the actual dog (if you’re not adopting from the pound, that is) but also the cost of food, toys, bedding, vet bills, boarding when you travel, leashes and collars, treats and of course money for the household items your dog will chew up that you have to replace.
6. Where will your dog live? Inside your home, or outside? Both? Is your landlord cool with a dog? Do you have to pay a pet fee or deposit?
7. What will you do with your dog when you leave for the day? What about when you leave for a week on vacation? Do you have someone who will watch your dog, or will you board it?
8. Are you ready to have a new best friend? Dogs require ten minutes of attention in every hour; if you are ready to give your new dog heaps and heaps of love and affection, then get ready to experience the most loyal and unwaveringly supportive friend you have ever had. And a lot of slobber.