What to expect when expecting a dog? A guide for prospective pet
If you are thinking of bringing home a furry bundle of joy, it’s a huge commitment, one you need to make as seriously as you would if you were bringing home a child. Here’s what you need to ask yourself.
1. Why am I bringing home a dog? Is it because I am bored, I’m lonely, my friend bought a Labrador puppy and it’s so cute I want one? Is it because my kid is throwing tantrums and wants a dog for his/her summer vacations? Or is it because I feel like I am ready to open my home to a family member? Will I choose a dog that suits me or am I going to be so superficial that I will choose only by the breed of the dog?
2. Am I financially settled enough to take on the expenses of having a dog? Do I have the financial bandwidth in case my dog has a medical emergency? Am I willing to make sacrifices in my life so that I do not compromise on my dog’s quality of life?
3. A dog is a minimum of a 12-year commitment. Can I stand by my dog if I relocate, my partner/spouse doesn’t want a dog, I’m having a child and the world is putting pressure on me to get rid of my dog, my landlord is suddenly anti dog and my residents association is harassing me. But I will fight for my dog no matter what the circumstance. Can I promise my dog that?
4. Will I force my beliefs and views on my dog? I am a vegetarian/vegan but I understand that my dog needs to be fed a species appropriate diet and I will do my best to ensure my dog thrives.
5. If my dog starts facing any behavioral issues which I am not able to sort out/understand, am I committed enough to take them to a certified trainer/behaviorist to help resolve the issues. Because 99 percent of the time, it’s not the dog’s fault, it’s because the family hasn’t understood what the dog has been trying to communicate to them all this time.
6. As my dog grows older and reaches their twilight years, will I stand by my dog through any sickness, like I would for my parents. I won’t dump my dog in a shelter because ‘it’s too hard for me to deal with’. And I will be able to make the right choice for my dog, if that time comes. Bottom line, my dog will leave knowing they were loved and cherished to the end.
(Sanjana, an animal activist runs an adoption center named Second Chance in Bangalore and is mom to nine beautiful rescue dogs.)