So You Want to Get a Dog?
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
If there is any sort of silver lining to be found during these times of quarantine and social distancing, it's the number of pet adoptions and foster applications across America. To put it into perspective, according to a New York Times article entitled, Foster Pets Are Finding Homes With Quarantined Americans,
"When the Animal Care Centers of NYC put a call out for applications to its fostering
program, it was looking to fill 200 available slots, a spokeswoman for the shelter said.
Two thousand people applied." (Sandra E. Garcia)
Think about that for a second two thousand people decided to do something to help these animals during quarantine. At the clinic I work at in Lexington we've seen, probably close to 100 new pets since I started working in May. It seems like every time I open my Facebook or Instagram app I see another person adopting a new pet.
Here's the thing, I absolutely love how many pets are finding new homes and I am a huge advocate for Dog Mom life! But you need to make sure you're ready; especially if you want to get a dog. Whenever a friend asks if I think they should get a dog I always ask them the following questions. No, it's not because I don't think they should get a dog, but because there's much more to owning a pet than people sometimes think about when getting caught up in the moment.
Can you afford it?
Pets are expensive. Besides the obvious costs of food, toys, collars, leashes, etc. there are also vet bills and other hidden costs. Between vaccines, medications and other standard veterinary care the cost of making sure your pet stays healthy can add up quickly. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars a year on your dog, especially if you want to make sure he/she stays as healthy as possible.
How much time will you be able to spend with your dog or how much time are you home?
I always tell people your pet should be independent, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't spend any time with him/her. Dogs need to be able to get outside and stretch their legs every day, just like us, so do you have time to go on walks? What about going to the dog park or even playing with him/her at home? Sure, you should be able to live your life and still go out with friends, etc. but don't forget your dog wants to spend time with you too and there's no point in getting a dog if you're never going to spend time with him/her.
How much time and effort will you be able to put into training?
Well behaved dogs aren't that way on accident. Having a well-behaved dog takes training. Some dogs are well-behaved with minimal training and some require a lot more. That being said, how much time and effort will you be able to put into training your new dog? Will you be able to hire a trainer? What about taking the time to work on training at home? Making sure your dog is well-behaved is key if you want to enjoy the time you spend with him/her, but it means you have to be patient and willing to work on things. If you don't think you'll be able to handle working on things like manners, basic commands, potty training, crate training, etc. perhaps a dog isn't the best option for you.
Are you willing to adjust your lifestyle for your dog?
Like I've said, sure you still need to be able to live your life but getting a dog does require some adjustments. Are you willing to run home and let your dog out before going out with friends? Are you able to have someone care for him/her if you go on vacation? Are you willing to get up a few minutes earlier every morning to take him/her for a walk and feed him/her before heading off to work? These are all aspects of owning a dog that require you to adjust your life a bit. No one is saying you suddenly need to let your dog dictate every decision you make, but you do have to be willing to adjust to having the extra responsibility.
Why do you really want to get a dog?
You would be amazed by the number of people I've heard tell me they want a dog "just because". What does that even mean? When deciding to bring a new member into your family you need to really think about why? Is it because you have always wanted a dog? Is it because you want a companion to spend time with (especially during quarantine)? Or is it because having a dog will make add to your Instagram aesthetic? Make sure your reasons are realistic before bringing a dog into your family.
Like I've said, it is truly amazing how many pets have found loving homes during these times and I really think having a dog is such an amazing experience. As long as you're ready for it.
Do you have a pet? Are you thinking about getting a pet? Let me know in the comments or on my Instagram!