Recently I was talking to a girlfriend of mine who wanted get my opinion on a possible dog match for her family. Even though I have my own dog sitting business, I am far from being an expert on dogs, but nonetheless I was honored that she wanted my opinion.
I wanted to get a better understanding of what their needs were, including getting to know more about her kids. So I asked if any of her three boys have any known allergies? None of her boys have allergies, but one of them did have asthma. So I suggested to her to look for a hypoallergenic dog. I then asked about the size of dog that they were looking for (small/medium/large). They were leaning more to a medium size dog, so I threw out a couple of dog breeds that I thought might be good for her and the family.
As we continued to talk, she had mentioned a couple of times how that since the boys were more mobile (walking and potty trained), they were wanting to do a little more traveling. I asked her if they would be bringing the dog with them or have a dog-sitter (like maybe Camp Stacy)? She said that they really hadn’t even thought about that and definitely needed to before moving further with a dog. Towards the end of our conversation, she also told me that her husband was going to be traveling a lot and she wanted the security of knowing there was a dog in the house. Now, I totally respect that. Statistics do show that homes with dogs are less likely to be broken into. However, I don’t believe that alone should be a reason to get a new dog. I think there are other options that might be less expensive in the long run that would also give someone home security. I think that’s where some people make a mistake when choosing the right time to get a dog.
For Example: Kids want a dog, so their mom and dad go get them one. Some parents don’t always think about how their kids might handle that responsibility. So instead of giving them chores to do around the house first to see how they will handle the responsibility of a dog they bring home a dog. Then, one or two years later when the novelty of having a dog is no longer fun and requires work, the kids aren’t as engaged anymore, and the responsibility of taking care of the dog falls on the parents. When that becomes too much, then off to the shelter they go or sadly, some people take “Fido for a drive” and then let him out in the country to fend for himself. People convince themselves that “he’ll be fine, I’m sure he will find a great family who will love and take care of him.”
Now, I know that there are situations/circumstances where unfortunately people are no longer able to take care of their dogs anymore and they go to great lengths to find a good home for their dog, which is great! But for those of you who are thinking about getting a dog, here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you get a new dog. I would also recommend possibly fostering a dog to see if this is something that you really want to do before you make the commitment. Dog shelters are ALWAYS looking for a good foster home.
1. What kind of dog am I looking for (small/medium/large)?
2. When I travel, will I be bringing my dog with me or will I need Camp Stacy to come to take of them while I’m away?
3. Why exactly am I wanting to get a dog?
4. Would I be up for fostering a dog first?
5. Do I have the time, energy and money to put into having and raising a dog?
If after you’ve answered those questions and you have decided to get a dog, then… Congratulations!!!! Dogs make wonderful pets. Enjoy the journey and I would love to hear from you and maybe meet your doggie!