The following are some of the questions my certified dog trainer mom is asking her readers to ask themselves. She also asks these questions to the virtual dog training class "Before You Adopt a Dog" attendee's. I thought I'd ask you the questions too, but in my little inquisitive canine way:
- WHY do you want a dog or cat? Are you bored? Lonely? Think we're cute? Because someone in your family begged you to get one? Because you have another animal at home that you think is lonely? Or because you know how wonderful us dogs and cats are, and that you love having us as part of your life? If it's only for the last question, then by all means, think seriously about adopting a pet. I could recommend a few places you could find one just as wonderful as moi. If it's for all of the other reasons I'd ask you to think critically about adding the stressors of having a pet. If it's for someone else, you know you'll end up being the main caregiver. And to be honest, many dogs and cats don't make the best pet sitters.
- Is this the best time in your life to have a dog or cat (or some other pet)? Are you gone all day long? All night long? Travel a lot? For many cats, they are okay at home alone, but us dogs, especially the youngsters and higher energy ones can get bored. We're also very social animals and don't do as well on our own as other animals. Be prepared for situations like isolation distress, separation anxiety, and boredom destruction of furniture and whatnot.
- Are there any foreseeable life-changing events in your future? Are you getting married? Divorced? Having human children? Ill? Changing jobs? Moving? Us dogs can live a long time, so plan on taking us throughout your journeys.
- Can you afford us? I know we're less costly than humans, but we still might cost you a pretty penny. I've know a few dogs and cats that had to have surgery or who were really ill and needed special medical care. Then there's the regular stuff like food, licensing, vaccinations, leashes, toys, collars, more toys, treats, food, more toys, and beds!
- What pet would fit best with your lifestyle? Think about your family, your job, where you live, how you get around town. How much extra time do you have to devote to a pet? What sacrifices are you willing to make?
- From where do you plan on adopting a dog? Breeder? Shelter or rescue group? Friend or family? There are lots of us shelter dogs out there that are in need of a loving home. If you end up buying from a breeder, please do your homework. Many of my shelter buddies originally came from breeders.
I remember when mom and dad came to the Animal Kind Rescue shelter in Studio City to meet me. They had heard the rumor that I loved tennis balls (which I do), and since dad plays tennis they thought we'd get along. They were right! They both knew instantly, as did I, that we'd hit it off and create a beautiful relationship! And here we are today...enjoying all that life together has to offer.
Both mom, dad and I agree that there isn't anything more special than having a loving relationship with a pet. But we all know it takes responsibility and commitment. So we ask, before you adopt, especially a pet begin given as a gift, do your homework first, so you can set yourself and your pet up for success!
I wonder how my former shelter buddies are doing? I wonder if they were given as gifts? Hmm, something for this inquisitive canine to ponder.