Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pet Adoption

I kid you not when I was sitting on my pity pot I really had no idea how much work taking care of a pet entails.  I have been absent in order to take care of my adopted doggie. If I had known earlier what I know now, I may have went with the cat.


I'm going to cringe if I ever hear about an adult giving a child a "pet" as a gift.  Why?  The odds are that same pet will end up in a Sara McLaughlin ad because the dog was overwhelming and the child could not take care of it, let alone themselves.  Pets are a huge responsibility.  For many years, they are in a child like state.  You know how at some point you have more "faith" the dog won't act out?  No.
This summer I've been working, taking a class, and raising a tiny mutt.  I have the worst bags under my eyes, a headache and guilty conscious.  The dog can't be in the heat so we didn't celebrate outdoor activities.  He's quite small so while we get the "Aw...he's so cute, how old, what kinda ..." I can't be away from him too long or he gets separation anxiety.  I dropped my dog off with my father so I could visit my mum.  The dog got nervous and peed on the carpet.  I asked my dad why he didn't let him out and he said he was worried the dog would want to look for me, and run away or get hit by a car.  Good on dad, sucks to be me!  When I returned the dog was so upset he didn't leave me the rest of the evening.  I thought he had a tummy ache but no, it was trauma having been away from me and in an unfamiliar environment.  Here are some things to keep in mind BEFORE getting a critter, things to ask yourself:
  1. "What will I do with him when I go on holiday?"
  2. "Do I have the money for vet bills or insurance in the event of unexpected accident, injury, illness?"
  3. "Do I have the patience to clean, potty train, walk, feed, cleanup, groom, him?"
  4. "How much time will this dog need from me?" Some dogs are VERY needy they are very different than cats.
  5. "Are my living arrangements going to change?" Some people don't want pets around them, you may be transferred, downsized or made redundant.
  6. "Is anyone I love, care for, live with, allergic/frightened of him?"  I am surprised at the people I thought I knew who don't like dogs regardless of how tiny and cute.
  7. "How big will he/she become and what kind of space will they require?"  Dogs need to run about, but if you have a Labrador and you live in a tiny flat, you may want to rethink the flat or the dog.  Unless, you don't mind finding a place nearby to walk him to so he can get exercise.
  8. "Did I pet proof the house?"  Dogs to some crazy shit stuff when we are away.  You may come home from work and think you are at the wrong house.  Hide those shoes, lipsticks, pillows, toys...
  9. "Do I want to invest in behavioral training?"  The best time to stop those pesky pet problems?  Before they happen.  You may teach an old dog new tricks, but it's not as easy.
  10. "Am I committed?"  Whoa, this is a big commitment.  I spent more on my dog than I have any partner thus far.  He's everything and I committed to providing a safe, loving, happy home for him, but I've had to sacrifice a lot of things.  After work drinks, weekend get aways, overnight guests :) "my time" etc.
If you have a loving heart, it's all worth it.  I don't plan on making any changes in the next year which would impact him.  I also don't mind that he's so needy for the most part.  Sure he cries a lot, but it's just because he wants to be with me.  He hates when I leave, but the chewing is over.  I don't get to play in my makeup the same, but I went to the shelter everyday after class and finally gave in.  I need to contribute to a cause anyway.  It's teaching me patience and unselfishness. 

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