We were so excited when we first got our dog. He fit all the things on our list, the top 3 being he didn’t bark, he was “hypoallergenic”, and he was already potty trained.
We thought we were ready for a dog.
We had a fence. Our kids were getting old enough to help out. We were home during the day to keep him company.
Apparently there is more to taking care of a dog than that.
I grew up with dogs, how could I not know about the hidden responsibilities of dog ownership?
I’m not saying we would ever give Shadow back. I just wished we had considered these other points before taking on a big responsibility.
- They still have to go to the vet. Even if they are not sick, you still have to get shots and stuff. It’s like having another kid.
- Even the best dogs chew on stuff. We have been quite fortunate in the small number of toys that have been destroyed. But still…
- We can’t go away for the weekend. Well, we can and do, but now we have to find puppy care. If we weren’t so cheap, we could take him to “puppy summer camp” but instead we have relied on generous friends.
- Small dogs still poop. During the summer, it wasn’t an issue: small dry and discreet. But now that our snow is starting to thaw, we can see the value in shoveling a puppy trail a little bit further from the door. If only…
- You have to groom them. Part of the joys of being a “hypoallergenic” dog is that they don’t shed. Which means you have to clip their fur. Now normal people may pay to have this done, but we do it ourselves. The big problem is that our dogs fur is so fine, you can’t use normal clippers on it. We have to use scissors. It takes forever.
- Some dogs get sick. We have been lucky to have only dealt with an ear infection so far. But I know that many dogs may have some serious health issues in their life. After my parents dog died this last summer, I realized that I had never really considered the implications of what would happen if our dog got really sick, like cancer or even arthritis.
When we decided to get a dog, we added a category into our budget every month to cover things like dog food, and license fees, now I am wondering if we need to set aside a bit of cash to cover unexpected things for our dog. Wouldn’t it be great if the vet was covered under our health insurance?
So if our kids ever ask for another dog, I am going to have to review this list and make the decision with my eyes wide open.