"Did you say treat?"
Photo by Ann Marie Wilson
Dear Advice Town,
I am desperately debating whether or not I should get a dog. I’ve wanted one for years now, and the urge has only gotten more fierce.
How much is that doggy in the window?
Oh, the cuddles! The licks! The tricks! The adorable pics! These are just some of the beautiful heart-bursting rewards of being a dog owner. When you erupt through the doors of your apartment after your excruciating workday, your fluffy soulmate will welcome you with a wagging tail, slobbering tongue, and absolutely no complaints about the dirty dishes in the sink. Need an excuse to go to the park, get some fresh air, and meet new puppy lovin pet owners? Not anymore. Your canine friend will gain the admiration of the free world, carry out a wicked game of Frisbee, share your picnic lunch, and settle it all with a snuggle at the end of your Saturday play date.
Isn’t this doggy dilemma a no-brainer? Is this perhaps too positive to be true? Sit down, glue your eyeballs to the screen, and sip on some reality for a cold-hearted moment.
If you can get through this doggy doom list, and still can’t wait to take a trip to the shelter or breeder, then you will know your answer.
NOT YOUR MOMMA’S MUTT
- Now that you are a grown up with dumb responsibilities and social obligations, a dog will only complicate your nine to five grind and your weekend warrior ways. Often, as adults we fondly remember having a dog when we were children. However, we so easily lose sight of the bitter truth in our nostalgic haze. That in fact, it was our parents who actually raised, fed, paid for, and cared for the family dog during our youth.
- For example, I had no idea that it was necessary to let our nine-week-old puppy out of her crate every three hours to go potty. This INCLUDES during those weary work hours, and worse, SLEEPING HOURS. Say goodnight to a good night’s sleep!
IS IT A LOVE MATCH?
- Be sure to research the best dog breed that will suit your personality. If you are a bit of a neat freak and find yourself screaming, “whose hair is this?” Then you might want to choose a dog that won’t carpet your wooden floors with their shaggy mane, drool on your fresh pressed pant suit, and fart constantly when you are trying to impress late night company.
- Depending on the breed, and your personal preference, you could be running five miles at five in the morning. Sounds like a nightmare to me. But I guarantee this is someone’s dream set up. Dogs have personalities. Some dogs will nuzzle you all night, and others want a pat on the head and the foot of the bed. Breed descriptions are indicators of a dog’s characteristics but they are not always correct. Choose wisely.
HAVE DOG. WILL TRAVEL?
- Some people have found a way to bring their unbridled bestie on the road with them. I am envious of those people. I keep promising myself and everyone who will listen that I will train my dogs to love the open road but as of yet, they whine, drool, bark, and pace constantly in the car. Then my heart drops and my voice screeches as they dart out the car door when we have finally arrived at our destination.
- Traveling by air? Can your pet fit in a carrier in the tiny cramped seat in front of you for $100.00 bucks extra? If not, do you want to drug your pet and have them fly below with giant luggage and lack of temperature control?
Once you bring your pup home, you will love it to pieces. Sure there will be waves of intermittent remorse when you have to shell out seventy-five bucks for pet lodging, a random vet bill obliterates your shopping spree dreams, the smell of poop invades your unsuspecting nostrils, or balls of hair cover your newly washed sheets, but there is something almost magical about that speckled wagging tail, the pure unadulterated excitement, and the constant surprises they bestow upon your life.
There is a scene in “The Last Man on Earth,” when Carol weighs the negatives and positives of having a child in the current state of the world. There is no running water, no electricity, and only a few questionable people alive to propagate human life. Her only positive on the list? “But it’s a baby!”
This scene sums up my feelings when considering having a dog. If you feel you are in a considerably comfortable place in your life, you can afford pet care, and regular vet visits, then throw caution to the wind and chose your mate for the next couple of decades.
Until you make your ultimate decision, be sure to do your research.You can always volunteer at a dog shelter or dog sit for awhile, before you decide to sign on the dotted line.
I do know this. You will never regret getting your dog.