In the years we’ve been together, I’ve sporadically asked M if we could get a dog. Since we lived in a dog-free apartment, it was as much a running joke as anything – I knew I wanted a dog one day, but I also knew it wasn’t a possibility. Until it was.
Last summer, the floor we live on was made dog-friendly to meet growing demand. Several other floors were already dog-friendly, and the news made me itch with excitement. Still, M responded with a “no” every time I bugged him. Each time we saw a dog, I’d involuntarily squeal and exclaim how adorable it was. And then I started showing him photos of dogs available for adoption.
I’d long wanted a greyhound but, honestly, I just wanted a dog. From October until December, I pestered and shoved my phone with dog photos into his face. I pushed for a greyhound and, well, the rest is history. Now we have Macoma!
If you’re thinking you might want a dog, here are a few things to consider:
Do you want a DOG or a PUPPY?
Puppies are effing cute, you guys, and the lovable (and busy!!) puppy stage is adorable… but short. Training is *so* important during this time because the habits and behaviours you create now will be your companions for the rest of your dog’s life.
Adult dogs, by comparison, can come with all kinds of funky baggage and bad behaviours you’ll need to curb, but they’re often house-trained and fully grown, meaning fewer accidents.
It’s easy to be swayed by that adorable puppy stage but remember: all puppies are cute, but every one will be an adult dog soon – and for a whole hell of a lot longer.
Recognize this: dogs are worse than babies.
If you’ve never had a child, this might seem like good training. It’s not – dogs and babies are very different – but dogs are a heck of a lot of work. They don’t use diapers, so you’re going outside when they need to pee or poop, and if you have a puppy that could mean through the night. In February. (You’re welcome.)
Dogs will never be able to feed themselves, pick up their own poop, or most of the other things our kids grow up to do. By contrast, they’re better than babies because babies are people and we all know that dogs are far better than humans. (Kidding. Kinda.)
What breed fits your family?
There’s almost no dog breed I don’t think is beautiful or special, but there were few breeds that really fit our family. We don’t have time or space for a high energy (or high-maintenance) dog like a border collie or Wiemaraner – even if we’d love to have one.
For us, a greyhound was a perfect fit for this stage of our life: minimal shedding, happy to sleep all day, and enjoys a good walk without needing to be run for hours each day. Plus, through GPAC we were able to be matched with a dog whose personality and needs would meet ours.
Things to ask yourself include:
- How much time do I have to exercise a dog?
- How much am I willing to spend (time or money) on grooming?
- Can I commit to being home at specific times to feed and exercise my dog?
- Can I afford the cost of kenneling or other services if I need to travel?
- How much do I like having clean floors?
Do plenty of research before you choose a breed.
Speaking of GPAC… Find a trusted breeder or adoption agency.
Shady people in this world will sell you sick dogs coming from appalling conditions, with little thought given to safe and responsible breeding. Again: do your research.
Look for well-established breeders who can provide lots of information and support during your process, or speak with a trusted adoption agency and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions or seek out references or referrals.
Some great places to start in Nova Scotia:
- Marley’s Hope
- Homeward Bound City Pound
- Bide Awhile
Settle the responsibility question early.
One of the agreements we made as it related to Macoma was that she is my dog. Sure, we all love her and enjoy her but when it comes to the bulk of the responsibility, I happily agreed to shoulder it. I get up half an hour earlier every morning to walk her; I buy the dog food, pay the vet bill, and I paid for her adoption fee; if she pukes, I clean it up. I’m supported by both the guys (F helps with feeding and joins me for lots of walks and M feeds and walks her when I can’t), but I took on the responsibility because I wanted the dog.
Try volunteering if you’re not sure.
Literally every kennel ever needs volunteers. Every. Single. One. If you’d love a dog but don’t have the time or space for one, sign up to volunteer! You’ll get loads of quality doggo time by walking, grooming, and cleaning up kennels while also doing something great for animals who need love and care.
Make sure you can accept filthy floors.
Dogs – even low shedders – will make a mess. If you love clean everything, you might not love a dog. Upside: dogs are the perfect excuse to have dirt floors.
And you can blame your dog for any future flatulence.