Getting a dog is never a good idea. It's a great idea. In today’s world more and more people are adopting furry friends to keep them company, improve mood, decrease depression/anxiety, support them while enduring hardships, encourage them to push onward, and of course to celebrate life!!
Getting a dog is also a really big idea. Caring for an animal or in our case, another family member is a full-time job. It’s a huge responsibility, and it changes your life for a large chunk of your life. For us, that’s exactly what we wanted, hoped for, and received. One of the biggest things that I share with people is that having a dog for us was never a hardship because we never expected it to be easy.
I want to make sure that I share my opinion up front- getting Pax has been the greatest adventure of our lives so far. He has brought my husband and I closer, he’s been my muse while growing my business, he has increased my happiness and filled my heart with such joy. Jarrod and I also had an ideal situation getting a dog which made the process more adaptable in our lives.
Here are some REAL things to think about.
1. Your social life. It’s really not fair to leave your pup for longer than 3-4 hours unless you have a planned event. Dogs are pack animals, and they miss you when you’re gone. If you’re like me - I think I miss Pax more than he misses me. Also, if you get wasted the night before you still have to get up at 6am to take your dog out to potty the next morning. If you want to jet out for a weekend, you’ll have to think about where your dog is going to stay. We’ve had some “ehh” experiences with Rover, and I’m so grateful nothing terrible happened, and it gets harder and harder to leave your fur baby when you know they aren’t going to treat them exactly as you would. That’s also a cost, right? Boarding your dog is a cost.
2. Budget. Getting a dog (whether you rescue or go through a breeder) is going to cost you money. From dog food to shots to random ear aches you’ll be spending more money on those things. Also, dog bow ties and bandanas aren’t free. #millennialproblems… What about when you go out of town and you have to pay for boarding. That raises another question, where will your dog stay?
3. What is your work schedule? If you travel Tuesday-Thursday you’ll need to prepare for your dog to be cared for which is more effort for you. Do you work 12-14 hours a day? Or even an 8-hour shift you’ll need to figure out how your pup will go potty if you don’t have a way they can go in and out.
4. Relationships? Your partnership will change. I am so grateful for the closeness, fun, and house full of love that having a dog has created in our life. But, I won’t lie and tell you that the intimacy hasn’t changed in my life. We can’t even hug without Pax jumping in or crying. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, so we are able to have frank conversations of what our needs are which is extremely helpful in regards to figuring out a plan to have a relationship without the dog. That’s another important concept to think about. If you are in a relationship how does your partner feel about getting a dog? If one of you are only half way commited to getting a puppy it will make it that much more challenging when raising the pup. Also, dogs can truly feel energy. Living in a home with frustration, stress, and resentment isn’t good for anyone!
5. Ready to be less selfish? I see it in a good way - but I did stop taking care of myself for awhile - especially while he was a puppy. I felt guilt if I left, I felt overwhelmed when I took him places, and I felt so much love when I was with him sometimes I didn’t go anywhere at all. I stopped exercising and leaving the house as much for certain things I use to do (hello amazon & post mates). But it also brought me a new love, activities, and community.
6. Housing situation? Do you live with roommates? Is anyone allergic to dogs? How do you feel about mud on your couch? These are real realities. Today I took Pax to the dog park, and he rolled around in the dirt and then promptly laid down on my pillow when we get home. Can you even have a dog? Does your landlord let you? Are you in a big house with lots of room? How will your pup go potty?
7. Where’s your mindset? would you get upset if your dog laid on your pillow full of mud or would you laugh and grab another pillowcase? This one is super important. If you go into this experience #1 unprepared or #2 unrealistic expectations, you will absolutely get frustrated with your puppy. Being ready, willing, and able in my opinion seals the positive experience with getting a dog.