My siblings and I did not have dogs growing up – a direct result of my dad’s allergy (only now better classified as an “allergy”). Because of this, I often consider only the idealized facets of becoming a pet owner: being welcomed lovingly after a long day; taking walks in picturesque weather; experiencing a unique kind of unconditional love.
All the good parts of being a dog owner do indeed exist, just not solely. This realization is not unique to me only, as I believe that even those who grew up with pets still experience hardship when learning to look after another living creature with a greater sense of responsibility, sans the help of a parent or guardian. A handful of my friends currently are experiencing this as they move out of their childhood homes and establish lives of their own. They’ve shared with me what was taken into consideration before increasing the number of residents in their home:
Destiny’s Child Said It Best: Bills, bills, bills
Having enough love for their respective dogs was never a concern as my friends set out to become pet owners. Having enough money, however, was a different story. Finances should be considered in every aspect: short-term and immediate payments (price of dog, cage, leash, collar, shots) as well as consistent and longer term payments (food and visits to the vet). To hurt you where it hurts, one of the people I spoke to spent close to $1,000 in the first couple weeks of being a dog mom.
Your Pup Doesn’t Care About Your 9-5
There’s nothing more satisfying than going home and relaxing after a long day at work, but when there are animals to consider, it’s no longer an immediate luxury. Remaining active for the sake of your dog must become a priority. So says Maddie: “After I come home from a 10+ hour day, I’m tired and want to sit on the couch. But if Rosie needs some exercise I have to take her on a long walk or go for a run.” (This is the part where all that love comes in, because even though this changes your routine and makes life at home a little bit different, it isn’t a bad thing).
Consider The Age
In conjunction with the idea that dogs will need to go out whether you’re tired or not, Erin and Erin (I talked to two of them about dogs) said that the amount of times they will need to go out and the amount of exercise required is dependent not only on the type of dog you have, but the age as well. With puppies, you must be able to devote extra time to train the dog behaviorally and by crate (which in itself will require you being able to take the dog out every couple of hours).
Sometimes It Takes A Village
It’s difficult for dog ownership to be a solo endeavor. None of the people I spoke to live alone, and recognize that as an important detail (though not required) in being able to provide their pet with the love and attention they deserve. Consider the hours you work and how erratic your schedule is, as well as whether or not you will be able to be home at varying points in the day to check on your dog.