Puppy breath; kisses and don’t forgot those puppy eyes. Who doesn’t want to get a puppy? You want to get a puppy? YEAH!! I’m so excited for you.
Hold up! Don’t go hitting the little ‘x’ in the corner and closing me out quite yet. Hear me out. Especially if you’re trying to figure out what this has to do with cancer. I am, without a doubt, one of the believers that animals, especially puppies, bring an incredible amount of enjoyment into our lives. They are good for our souls, our hearts, and remind us what unconditional love is all about.
Yes I can hear your brains whizzing with questions. The first one being so why am I telling you to not get a puppy if I’m such an animal lover? Well I have a lot of answers for that (no, really… have you met me?) but I will limit myself to a few. Plus, I will share with you some very – what I believe – important steps to go through before venturing in to the land of animal ownership. I must admit that I am primarily going to be addressing puppies, but please consider these with any animal you plan on acquiring.
Well truthfully… and yes it’s hard to believe because usually I do not ever stop talking, I have only one main point as to why I strongly suggest not getting a puppy; especially over the holidays. Because regardless of how cute those deep, brown, velvety smooth looking pools of adorableness look; it is a TON of work.
More than just a puppy kiss
Having a new puppy, or dog, in the house is like having another child. Depending on the age of the dog, they may need to go out to potty every two hours. Depending on the temperament of the dog, you may have a dog that submissive pees because everyone is the alpha compared to them. (For puppies, this is usually outgrown. For dogs, it’s much harder to re-train, but chances are it can be done).
Add in that you need time to exercise them, to take them to the vet, feed and water them, play with them (yes that IS different than exercise), brush them, and learn to trim their nails (unless you’re going to take them to be groomed every couple months or so)… oh! and let’s not forget the expense.
Food, collar, leash, dog bowls (two – one for water, one for food; preferably stainless steel for ease of cleaning & sterilizing), heartworm and flea/tick medication (a must for in the country & states with high cases of tick disease), dog toys, a kennel (yes, you need to kennel train your dog), dog grooming essentials (shampoo, clippers, brush), veterinarian costs, dog obedience classes (okay… so this one is technically optional, but in my mind it is not; and I’m the author…) etc., etc.
And don’t forget toys
Pheww! I’m exhausted just typing that list, and I know I am missing things. I mean if your dog is anything like my pup, you’ll be going through toys like every week, because his job in life is to see how fast he can destroy a toy. But you get my point. It’s not just about that cute, adorable puppy your friends, friend, friend from high school just posted on Facebook.
So, hopefully I have at least slowed down the “oh let’s go pick up that puppy right now” and you can see that maybe, just maybe, this could be a decision that might require a little more thinking. Which leads me to the next part of this: “Myra’s Most Meaningful Musings to Meditate on before Meandering to the Menagerie to Market More Mayhem.” (How’s that for a title? I thought that was pretty clever. ).
Musing #1 – Do you have a favorite breed?
Great! I know in our house German Shepherds are at the top of the list. However, were you aware that each breed has a different temperament? Not only that, they have been breed for different jobs, resulting in different behaviors, and if you, as a new dog owner, are not prepared for this, it could result in a complete mismatch between you and your new best friend. To the point where the new best friend is now your worst enemy. Hey! I’ve seen it happen.
Besides, according to the ASPCA – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide. Yes, 6.5 million. 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Not all of these are because of conflicts between dog and owner, but it does correspond with my point here. So please, do your research. Read up about that dog breed you love so much and make sure their temperament would be a good fit for your family. (American Kennel Club – Dog breeds)
Musing #2 – Do you have the time and energy for the puppy breed you love?
After, or while you are reading up on the breed, ask yourself if you will have the time to devote to the dog. If it’s a high-energy breed, are you going to be able to keep up with exercise and play because if you don’t, puppy will become a whirlwind of boredom, and that is one storm you do not want to be witness to. And again, exercise and play are two different things. As well as working and playing are two different things. Also, running and walking are two different things. Okay, even I’m getting confused here.
Here’s my point… puppy will need two walks a day; especially in the beginning during the potty training process. Additionally, they will need to be played with (hence the toys); they could stand to be trained (work); and if you love to go running that would help reduce energy (but you can’t just take them running otherwise they won’t have time to do their business… see my point?). And if you have a dog that is smaller than a full-grown cat, which in our family is not a dog (HA!), you may want to reconsider taking them running. I’m just saying.
Musing #3 – Please reconsider the necessity of a purebred puppy.
Now, before all you breeders start hating on me, please hear me out. I have absolutely nothing against purebred dogs. I love them all. However, if you are considering getting a dog because you want to teach the dog to hunt, I would just about guarantee that you could go to numerous animal shelters throughout the country and find a dog that you could train to take hunting. Animal shelters are full of Lab mix dogs that with a lot of love, compassion, and some patience have the potential to be the dog you want.
So my point here is… don’t slam the door on adopting a rescue or shelter animal. All of my dogs have been rescues (and that number is over 10) – and all of my dogs have been trained; as well as the best dogs you could ever ask for. Currently, I am training my dog as a service dog and we do agility. He is not a purebred but the true definition of a “Heinz 57 dog.” For the majority of things you may want to do with your dog … having a purebred is not that high on the importance scale.
Musing #4 – Will you consider that puppies were originally bred for a job, and the majority of them need a job to be happy?
I realize this is an odd one, but again… hear me out. As you research your dog’s breed, you will soon realize that in the beginning dogs were bred for a purpose. Now I know some of them were bred to sit on someone’s lap, but isn’t that really just a cat? I’m kidding!
Anywho – some of you may know I train dogs. I’ve been training them since I was 19 years old when I adopted my first dog, Strider (bonus points if you knew that was from the book ‘The Hobbit’). I promise you, dogs are happier when they are going through training.
Training classes provide an opportunity to bond with their owner, they love the interaction, they love going there, they love hearing their owner’s voice, and they love having fun with you. Every dog I’ve trained at a facility knows the day classes are on; they know where the turn is to get to the building; and they make doggy best friends. Plus when we get home they are exhausted. They love it!
Besides the fact that it is good for their socialization skills, for their self-esteem (yes, some dogs do have low self-esteem – hence submissive peeing… which as a side note I LOVE the word hence), and to serve as a reminder that you are the master. Dog obedience instructors (many of whom are incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and wonderful people) are animal lovers just like you, Classes are a great opportunity for you to socialize and absorb their knowledge.
Musing #5 – Are you ready for the emotional connection that could happen between you and your potential new puppy best friend?
Yeah, there’s one you never thought of huh? Yet it’s true. The majority of animals, especially dogs, are very intuitive in to their owners every emotion. Are you feeling anxious, or crabby, or ill, or depressed? And all you want to do is crawl into a hole and not come out or see anyone? Yeah, not going to happen if you have a dog. Which, in all honesty, is a good thing. I know it has been for me.
When I began experiencing my panic attacks near my one year “cancer-versary”; and brought home this little adorable sweet ball of cuddliness, I could no longer experience anything on my own, and because of him I had to get up, and get out of the house so I could care for him. I mean seriously people. Why do you think so many people have dogs as their best friends? It’s because the dogs understand everything you’re going through, don’t talk back, and give you an unlimited amount of hugs and kisses that smell of dog food and if you’re very unlucky, some other stinky smell that I refuse to mention here.
Oh, poop! (Man, I just kill myself sometimes… hold on I need to catch my breath here …. Phew. Okay.)
Animal Ownership = Lots of Thought
Well as the word count on this post is over 1,500 words, the musings must stop. For now. Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment and taking it lightly is not an option. Whoa, whoa, quit barking up the wrong tree (Seriously – on a roll!). No accusations. Animal ownership research should include a lot of thought… and even then a lot more thinking.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to peruse puppy photos for my procurement.
Until next time, capture life kreatively!!
P.S. Do you have a question about training your pooch; or about a certain breed or behavior of a pooch? Leave me a comment and I will respond back to you with resources and/ or answers. I’m good at both!!
P.P.S. So you don’t miss out on my next muddled musings post, be sure to sign up for my Newsletter and be the first to know that you are in the know! Plus, if you do, you’ll get FOUR, not three but FOUR FREE wallpaper/screensavers of photographs taken by me, myself, and I. Did I mention they were free?