Before Getting a Puppy
You’ve decided that you want a puppy. That’s a fine decision, but just remember that what you’re really bringing home is a dog. Puppies are very cute and cuddly and small, but they can grow up to be large adult dogs. Bringing home that little bundle of energy and fur is a long-time commitment to another being. You are say- ing that you want the responsibility of caring for and loving and training an animal: grooming, walking, feeding, taking him to the veterinarian, and paying the bills. This chapter is a reminder of all that goes into sharing your life with a puppy.
Are You Ready for a Puppy? Of course, you can’t wait for that cute little devil to turn your best pair of shoes into the most expensive doggy toy ever created. You can’t wait for an accident that permanently scars your off-white rug in the living room. And you can’t wait to go home at night instead of hanging out a little later at your favorite nightclub or restaurant with your friends. And of course, most of all, you can’t wait for fuzzy- wuzzy to someday slip his leash and make a mad dash across the road, in heavy traffic, so he can finally catch that tasty, tantalizing squirrel. Okay. Okay. You’re still
reading, you must really want a dog. Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and finding that tail-wagging, sloppy-tongued mop of a dog who can’t wait to greet you when you arrive home. Dogs are so bouncy and loving and wonderful; there’s no getting around it, dogs are wonderful companions. They are fun, friendly, love attention, and most of all, love you — no matter what. They love to play, go for long walks, and be mischievous. In fact, because of their potentially naughty sides, there are thousands of dogs that are left homeless each year and are sheltered in dog pounds and rescue homes all across the country. Often this is no fault of the dog; instead, it’s usually because the cute puppy turned eight months old and started showing an ornery streak, and that was the last straw. When an over-obliging owner suddenly finds himself with a dog who growls when he’s told to get off the bed, well, the dog may become a casualty. People give up their dogs because they didn’t fully understand doggy behavior, and all the things that need to be done to keep a dog healthy and well-behaved. They find out that Dalmatians require too much exercise; they didn’t know St. Bernards grew that big; those tiny Maltese are mischievous balls of fire. Suddenly old Rover finds himself at the shelter with a haunted look on his face, cowering at the back of his pen, as countless strangers pass by and he remains alone. Unfortunately, dogs pay for being disposable with their lives. In fact, every year, thousands of dogs are put down because of neglect or homelessness. This speaks volumes about how many people don’t think through the addition of a dog in their lives. Don’t let this happen to you! Ask yourself some important ques- tions before you go running out to get the dog your kids are screaming for or that you think will fill the gap in your life:
•What kind of life do you lead?
•How much room do you have, and what kind of house do you live in?
•What kind of attention do you think you can offer the animal?
•Will someone be home to housetrain and socialize a puppy?
•Do you have a fenced yard?
•How old are your children?
•Does everyone in the family want a dog, or are you caving in to a demanding
•Do you want an active dog, a laid-back dog, a big dog, a small dog, a hairy dog,
a hairless dog, a slobbery dog, a neat dog? These are just some of the questions that need your attention before you bring home a puppy. Take this time to think about what you and your family want. Be re- sponsible, and enjoy the comfort, love, and happiness that owning a dog can bring for a long time to come.