Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why You Should Own A Dog Before Having Children - Part II

Previously we talked about parenting style.  This post is about the nitty gritty responsibility necessary to keep your dog alive and happy and healthy.

I stated that you can leave a cat for a few days- I've not owned a cat but have many friends who do and they have said they can leave out food and water for a couple of days and go on a trip and their cat is fine.  This is not and would never be the case with a dog- or a child (in case you weren't sure).

A dog owner must go home after work to take his dog out for a walk.  A dog owner cannot go to the bar for happy hour with all his co-workers unless he arranges for a friend, neighbor or relative to make sure that his dog is let outside to do his business and gets fed and some personal attention.  Dogs are very social and don't really like being alone all day.  They also need their food rationed or, in most cases, they will eat it all in one sitting even if it is twice their normal amount.  And unless you like presents of smelly puddles and stinky brown piles they need to get outside.

If you want to go away for a night or a weekend you will need to find a babysitter for your dog. Your free wheelin' days are over.  You are now a responsible pet owner who has to get up and walk your dog, even if you don't feel like it, you will have to take them for walks in rain and inclement weather, both morning and night.

Since you are a responsible pet owner you will have to safety proof your home.  Just like you would for your children you will have to pay attention to the dangers inherent in your home and make them safe for your pet.  When we first moved into our house we didn't give the upstairs landing a thought.  There was a nice sturdy railing there and a similar one right below it downstairs.  As I stood on the entrance to our split level home I watched my son crawling upstairs, the baby gate closed to prevent him from falling down the stairs and then watched our dog walk right through the spindles of the railing downstairs.  I looked up and then down and the spindles were exactly the same width apart!  If the dog could fit through my son could certainly have fit through and possibly fallen down to the floor below.  We immediately fastened a safety gate across the upstairs railing and then the downstairs one so no one would fall or get stuck going through.
Dogs, like young children, love to chew on things and are rambunctious and will run through your house and slide into coffee tables and sharp corners.  They will also pull down any item they want that is within their reach.  They don't know or care that the table cloth they want to tug on has your favorite aunt's vase on top of it which will topple over and break into a million pieces.

You will learn to put food out of reach, secure items you cherish and not get too attached to your material possessions.

One of the many positives of owning a dog, and yes there are many, is your socialization.  You get out a lot more, you will meet more of your neighbors and you will become friends with other dog owners.  You will have this same phenomenon with your children as well.

We have adopted three dogs from the local shelters and every single one of them has been great.  If you would like to become a happy owner of a dog please take some time to decide if you have the time and patience to spend with your dog.  Research the breed and size of dog that would be best for you.  Spend time at the shelter with the dogs you may be interested in to be sure that you are compatible.  Talk with dog owners and the workers at the shelter, ask them all your questions.  The more informed you are the easier the transition to being responsible for another creature's happiness and well being will be for you and your new companion.
If you know anyone thinking about getting a dog please suggest they adopt.

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