For reals though, I never wanted a dog but the fates blessed me with two. Now I cannot imagine life without them.
But there are “challenges”. They are very social creatures. Wherever I go in the house, they have to be right there. Particularly annoying when I’m in the kitchen cooking or doing dishes and have to walk around puppies everywhere. Dogs sometimes get upset tummies and hack up breakfast on the living room carpet. Of course this only seems to happen at 7AM when you’re running late for an early meeting. Certain breeds require regular grooming. Miss Bell has to be brushed a few times a week or I’ll have snowdrifts of fur piling up in my house. Regular vet visits, decent quality food, local authority licensing, toys for when you’re not home or for playtime when you are… the cost can add up. And you have to make sure your dog gets regular exercise. Traveling with them is a logistical nightmare, leaving them at home when you travel is very costly if you have to board at a kennel or pay a pet sitter.
They frustrate me, they aren’t exactly “inexpensive”, they require some amount of care and maintenance… and I love them to pieces for it. They are my family. They’re always happy to see me. They’re excited when I’m happy, they’re empathetic when I’m sad, they look at me like I’m the All-father and they’re expecting a miracle any second. Unconditional adoration. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Dogs are social animals. Most don’t like to be alone for long periods of time. Solution? Two dogs. However, that creates its own problems, especially if you get two dogs who have never been together with each other before. Rescue organizations often have pairs of animals who want/need to be together (lived together in a prior home), so I would definitely check with some of these in your community. But I would always consider a rescue dog(s) anyway.
Have you thought about a cat? They don’t give a shit about much of anything, except having food, water, and access to your furniture. And every once in a while they will acknowledge that you exist. That’s a good feeling.
@Barney I was going to recommend a cat- they’re great and you can leave them alone even a couple of days. I had a cat that greeted me when I came home from work. Some cats are extremely cuddly. And unlike dogs two cats isn’t much more work than one.
Solution? Two dogs. However, that creates its own problems…
Solution 2: Puppies. They don’t know they’re supposed to have a problem with other dogs and the natural pack order will develop organically. But, as you say, that creates it’s own problems. House breaking a new puppy isn’t difficult, but does require a lot of attention for a few weeks.
In my case, Miss Belle was a shelter rescue a bit less than a year old and had been very well trained (I lucked out there!). 6 months later, bringing a puppy into the mix was easy peasy.
@Barney@sammydog01 yes i had a cat. However i developed cat allergies while owning her so bad that i was getting monthly shots for the last two years of her life(she had a kitty heart attack). I can not health wize get another cat
@Barney@CaptAmehrican@unksol There was an episode of The Naked Truth where Tea Leoni’s character went through this ridiculous process to get a hypoallergenic cat and it turned out to be hairless. And scary.
@Barney Cats have problems with being alone also. They need people too, just in their own timing. My daughter is a cat person and her cats smother her when she gets home from work. They are starved for affection. I had another friend whose cat would destroy the apartment when she left for any length of time. Destroying the bathoom shower curtain was his favorite thing to do when he was left. My cat would start peeing in the burners of the stove and then the heat registers when he was left. They are not solitary creatures that don’t care whether you are there or not.
@ripper69 That’s why it’s good to have at least two. Pretty easy to do with cats although luckily none of mine have had behavior problems. Down to one but I work from home so the little asshole lives on my desk and headbutts the mic every time I’m in a meeting.
When he was on his own he would take a flying leap at me the second I got in the door or if I didn’t pick him up fast enough.
@Barney@ripper69 Yes my cats are very, very dependent upon my attention and crave it. I had boarded them with a friend recently when I was out of town for 6 days and one of them apparently got very depressed and just lay there doing nothing. Goat cat, on the other hand cuddled up with a dragon lizard. When I picked them up they were all over me and even more affectionate for a couple of days. As it is I always am tripping over them as they follow me around. So cats can be very affectionate and social.
For me, personally, I’d have a dog if I had a life-partner to share the responsibilities with, but I’m terminally single so, of course, I have cats. (yes plural - when people ask me how many, I like to go, “let’s see…” and pretend like I’m using the fingers on both hands to count kitties before saying, “nah, just two” )
Anyway, there is one thing I can’t imagine myself ever doing - covering my hand with a thin plastic bag and bending down to pick up a fresh, steaming pile of doggy doo.
Yes, I scoop my kitties’ pee and poo out of the litter box, but it is covered w/ sand, solid and dry - and there is a plastic scoop w/ a handle between my hand and their ‘business’.
One day, I saw a neighbor walking his yellow lab. The dog squatted to poo, the man quickly put the bag around his hand and stuck it under the squatting dog, catching the poo before it ever touched the ground… I will never love any creature enough to do that!
Well, not sure which one of those is the appropriate answer, but I’ve had many cats in my life and the two I have now are the only ones who’ve never met a girlfriend (or even a date).
If there’s any correlation, it would have to do with the number of cats.
Prior to these cats, I always only had one at a time (same could be said about girlfriends, I suppose).
Since I adopted these two (to be fair, since a few years before I adopted them) I have not had a girlfriend, a date, or even any prospects, really.
But I’m gonna say it has everything to do with me and nothing whatsoever to do with the cats.
@duodec Well, same can be said of cats, really. Although I suppose I’m a member of a pride instead of a pack.
One of my cats is draped across my legs right now, while the other one keeps bringing me her toy to throw for her.
When it comes down to cohabitation, cats are not all that different from dogs.
Dogs are just much more willing to be pals with anyone they meet.
Most, but not all, cats have to be very familiar with someone before they start following you around, pestering you to pet or play and curling up in your lap.
Anyone who’s lived w/ cats for any length of time knows they’re not really as aloof or inscrutable as their reputation implies.
I’m going to be that guy… We used to have two dogs. Never, ever again. Not that I didn’t love them and I still like dogs but to me the cons outweigh the pros. Foremost, your life revolves around them. Have a long day planned doing something? Nope, better cut it short to get home and let them out. I have a friend who has a 9 hour time limit on anything he does because he has to get back to let his dog out. Want to go away for a few days or a week? Better find someone to take care of them or take your chances boarding them (where they’ll most likely be miserable). Are they sick? Prepare for a financial hit that will stun you. Vets aren’t cheap. You like wandering your yard and picking up poop? Get used to it, you’ll be doing it for the next 15 years. But at least it will be easy to find since their urine will decimate your yard and turn it all brown. Care to take your chances on a dog that might or might not like to chew everything you own? Or one that gets nervous during storms or fireworks and can’t control themselves in the house? Do you enjoy having to vacuum every single day or needing to de-fur your clothes when you go out? Yes, I could go on and I could even talk about the loving bond you would develop and all the nice things. But a lot of my friends agree with me once they’ve owned dogs. They just don’t want to do it again. We won’t even get into the final heartbreak when you lose them.
@cinoclav All true and accurate.
My brother & his GF (very long-term, might as well be married) had two great dogs, but they are very active people who travel a lot.
Their active lifestyle was great for one of the dogs, who was almost insatiable when it came to exercise - trail running twice a day, year round, hitting the swimming spots in the warm weather, plenty of ball and stick chasing, etc.
But, as much as they loved their dogs, they hated being tied down because of them.
When the 2nd dog died (Cinoclav already mentioned the heartache) they decided to choose personal freedom over animal companionship.
My brother was resolute, even before dog #2 passed - no more dogs; his girlfriend was more conflicted - those dogs were her babies - neither of them wants human babies, but she loves the fur-babies.
One day, in a conversation about this conflict, bro said, “oh, she can get another dog if she wants to, she’ll just have to do it without me.”
Anyway, they found what I think is a brilliant compromise - friends’ & neighbors’ dogs.
GF has two that accompany her on her morning and evening runs.
All parties love this arrangement - GF gets her fur-baby fix, doggies love running with her and the dogs’ parents get some time away from the mutts and the gift of calm, well-exercised pets.
They will also happily dog-sit for traveling friends and neighbors whenever possible.
It’s definitely a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of arrangement.
@DennisG2014 Funny, I was thinking I should add a comment with that suggestion. It’s just like not having children if you don’t want your own. Sometimes it’s nice to play with someone else’s kids but in the end it’s also nice to give them back.
@cinoclav You know, my bro & his GF have been together for probably 20 years, so have frequently been asked why they don’t have kids.
My bro, who’s never been one to mince words, always says, “we don’t want kids. If you want 'em, why don’t you have 'em? If you ask nicely, maybe we’ll babysit.”
And he’s said the same thing to people who’ve asked why they don’t get another dog or dogs.
Come to think of it, his reply is similar when people ask them why they don’t get married (which also happens a lot) - “we’re fine as we are. We have no desire to get married. If you want a wedding, throw your own; if you invite us, we’ll get you a nice gift.”
Consider getting the puppy before he’s gone. Older, well behaved dogs are usually an excellent influence on a new puppy. I learned this first hand with Miss Belle and Zoe. Zoe seemed to absorb all the positive behaviors and actions from Belle. I asked a client, a retired vet, about this and he concurred. He also suggested as my dogs age, if I was going to have another, get the puppy before Belle passes.
@ruouttaurmind We inherited this dog when we had a two year old lab. The lab was twice as big and this mutt scared the crap out of him. We had to separate their food dishes so the poor lab could eat. That’s a big nope.
@ruouttaurmind@sammydog01 Ruouttaurmind is right. Getting a puppy earlier is a good idea, especially if your older dog still likes to play a little. We have had dogs and cats for years. We have 4 dogs at this point, all gotten at different times. We just added a Sheltie puppy who never sleeps while she is out of her kennel. She is turned “on” at all times, but is hilarious and gives us many laughs. But the older sheltie views her as his special toy. He loves to play with her, but will say “no” when he has had enough. We feed them in their own spaces with bounderies. Some of the dogs have different food and dogs vary a lot on how much they love eating and the speed at which they eat. We have one that is a total food addict and will gulp down her food so she can get at everyone elses food. So that is not a big deal. Let them eat at their own pace in different rooms or have one or two toddler gates to keep them where you want them to be. Picking up poop is easier and not so gross when you use a hand spade (gardening tool) and we throw it over the fence into “nowhere land.” And their pee doesn’t make our lawn brown, never did. I wonder what those poor dogs are drinking? Training is a must if you get a puppy. Our vet knew of a great trainer that came to our house once for a very reasonable fee, did some work with our puppy and taught us how to train her and keep her from continuing with some bad habits. It was well worth the money and now our puppy is much more pleasant to be around. But again, any dog trainer will tell you that dogs need companionship of a person as well as another dog. There are things you can do to make things a lot easier. If you decide to get a dog, I would get two dogs that were a little older and didn’t have some weird things. Some dogs have separation anxiety and will destroy things when left alone. Our favorite dog of all times, would throw up all over the house when we tried to go on a trip, even with a girl coming over to walk her etc. The best thing we have come up with when traveling is to find a single or a working mom that likes the solitude to come over after work and spend the night. She can then let the dogs out and they feel loved having a person in the house with them. Singles living in apartments or Airmen living in dorms (we are military) are good bets. They love having a whole house to themselves and will house/pet sit for you.
So all of the above is true. You need to decide what is more important to you. What trade offs are you willing to accept? Do you want that wiggly fur baby waiting for you at the door every night? Seeing the excitement in their eyes just because you are there to give them attention and love them.
Do you want a furry companion whose only agenda is to show you love and to receive it in return?
Well, that is awesome but there are trade offs. Read @cinoclav entry again. They summed it perfectly.
I, personally, took a break after my last two dogs and before Sam. I had some pretty bad medical issues and could not bear to deal with it again. After about five years of complete freedom I missed having a fur baby and was willing to accept the trade off.
I’ll be that other guy and allow that sometimes someone in your life demands a dog. Be ruthless about finding out as much as you can about a dog’s health BEFORE you ‘adopt’ because there can be SERIOUS reasons dogs wind up in shelters and animal welfare orgs seem to care a lot more about pets than people!
Be aware that there are big differences between breeds, and some breeds are just more disposed to certain problems. Mixed-breed dogs aren’t always healthier, although a doodle (a part-poodle mixed breed) will do very little shedding - so if you, uh, ARE allergic to dog hair you (probably) won’t have to worry about that - but you’ll have determined that ALREADY, right?
Small dog breeds are not going to pee your yard into oblivion, but you’re going to have some training to do and no matter what you do to protect your carpet there are going to be - well, we’ll call them accidents but dogs communicate in all SORTS of ways that don’t seem to occur to cats. Anyway white vinegar is your friend and we like Nature’s Miracle but be aware that some of those carpet cleaners smell worse than the problem (and the problem can be PRETTY PUNGENT).
Dogs are social animals but some are a lot more sociable than others - they have definite personalities that you have to take into account - that being said being a dog owner puts YOU into a particular society. Get out to the local dog park and talk to people and get recommendations - not just dog breeds and breeders but vets and sitters and food.
It is really a lot more like adopting a child than you might think - there are big pleasures (and the dog is not going to grow up) but there are big expenses too (and the dog is going to die).
I know lots of people who didn’t get another dog after theirs passed, and frankly we might not either, but having had one has been a great experience!
@aetris@katylava@mfladd@sammydog01 AndI discovered that stuff for dogs is identical to the one they sell for cats (I called the company and asked and after a big of hemming and hawing they admited it), the dog version is cheaper.
I want to only comment on the ‘vets aren’t cheap’ statement made above
It costs someone going to Vet school to get a DVM the exact same that it costs someone to go to Med school to get an MD. Same sweat and tears, same dollars. They make about 1/5 to 1/10 what that MD does.
If you have pets, Love your PetDoc and be sure always to thank them for the love they have for your animal
@Cerridwyn It wasn’t an insult, just a fact that any pet owner needs to take into consideration. I often wish some of the vets I’ve run across would have gone into human medical care. Most vets have bigger hearts.
@Cerridwyn@cinoclav I think the point was don’t own a dog unless you can come up with several hundred or maybe a thousand dollars if something happens. If you can’t maybe a guinea pig is a better idea.
I just get very tired of people complaining about the cost of vet care because they really don’t realize the hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans most vets have and the low salary relative to education and skills.
It’s sad how much it has to cost (just like it is with human care). My daughter tells me how many times she recommends labs for example, and the owner/pet parent cannot simply afford it, or worse, can but won’t
She has always had cats, she prefers them for their stubborn independence. She says dogs are too needy for her busy lifestyle.
@Cerridwyn I think many complain, not because they don’t think it is worth it, rather because it is expensive and sometimes a budget breaker. I just added up after my last $800 in vet bills two weeks ago how much I have spent on my 3 elderly cats (two of whom died - sept and dec at 17.5, the third is 18) and it came to just over $5000, which is not what I could afford recently. It also meant I could not pay for a couple of things that were needs and not wants because I prioritized my cats’ care over mine and car repair; I had to sell a few of my things…
But I also recognize it is a choice I made when they wandered into my life (all strays) and there is no way I’d dump them because they are old and expensive. I just do without because I am responsible for them. I love my cats and they are a part of my family. Old age is expensive in cats and I’d presume also in dogs. Plan in advance for that.
@Cerridwyn@cinoclav@sammydog01 I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Texas, the Vet school is one of the hardest to get accepted. Pretty much anyone who can’t get in ends up going to med school as the 2nd choice. My guess is those are the ones that end up being the best Dr’s.
@CaptAmehrican You may also want to consider adopting an older dog.
Usually they’re already trained - potty and otherwise - they’re lightyears more mellow than a puppy and, for better or worse, it’s a shorter commitment.
A friend who did this also had a job that let her bring the dog with her, though.
If you’re going to be working long hours and can’t bring the dog, then this probably isn’t a good option - but then again, it’d probably be even worse to leave a puppy home alone all day.
Unless there’s someone who can look in on the dog while you’re at work, no matter the age of the dog, you may be better off with a cat, or a hamster. Not both, though - that won’t end well.
@DennisG2014 I’ve had pretty good luck with used dogs. This weekend marks 12 years since we adopted our current dog from the local Humane Society - she was something less than a year old and already house broken and well mannered. She has been a great pet and friend. Puppies are fun and cute, but a lot of work. I wish they came with the brain already installed!
@macromeh My friend actually adopted what would be considered an ‘elder’ dog.
Don’t remember how old, but grey around the muzzle and well into the ‘slowing down’ stage.
It was a really selfless thing to do, IMO - it’s a much better arrangement for the dog than for the human.
I think she had the dog for 3 years before it passed away, and she really improved the dog’s quality of life during that time.
Of course, she got a lot of love and satisfaction in return, but also the constant knowledge that it was for a very limited time.
@macromeh Yeah. Young cats are the same way. Bird feeder is dinner bait kitty (aka Tigger) is 7 mo old and I swear he is demented. He is also like a toddler who knows the rules but doesn’t care. I woke up last night at around 4am to noises. He was on the bedside table busy knocking everything to the floor. I didn’t even have to say anything to him. I glared at him and he jumped down. He knew the rules (yelling no and removing him over and over - slow learner) just didn’t care to follow them right then.
Dogs are great.
We just had a wonderful and loving dog die a few weeks ago. She is missed every day.
Jetta was our first Sheltie, and it won’t be the last. She was 10 yrs old, weighed in about 30lb, but developed a cancer.
She was very devoted, amazingly smart but she needs room to run. It’s just too soon to ‘replace’ her, as most everything inside & out reminds me of her.
Our other dog is supposedly a Pomeranian, but he kept getting larger. He’s not fat at all, but is 22 lbs. This dog is the smartest dog I’ve seen. He out-smarted Jetta often, but they also teamed up for rabbit-hunting in the back yard. Chevy is 14 years old now, and with Jetta gone he’s much less active.
The main thing is proper training, exercise and care. We measure the amount of food, they got vet visits & shots, and even when they are a cute puppy, they don’t get to jump on people or do things you wouldn’t want an adult dog to do. Also, never ever hit your dog, no matter how mad you get.
@daveinwarsh Sorry to hear about your beautiful Jetta . Shelties are wonderful, I was blessed to have had a couple early on before I migrated to German Shepherds. I, too, lost one – my amazing Bullet – unexpectedly about a month ago. He was a rescue and we had the privilege of living with him for 4 years. As hard as the loss was (cumulatively there have been 9 losses through the years…)
I hear ya, I will definitely get another, just not right away. I’ll know when the time is right, or if the dog is right or if I get a ‘sign’.
Life without a dog is not an option for me. The balance of costs vs benefit is heavily weighted towards the benefits side…for me, anyway.
Man. I was thinking about getting one but wasn’t sure I wanted all the work/cost. Y’all are making it sound worse than I ever imagined. God bless the cat. He acts like a dog but is pretty much ZERO work.
I am not sure either a dog or cat is right for you right now. Unless you can take a dog to work with you, you may be making an animals suffer for your own reasons. I have had plenty of both of them and they are domesticated for a reason–they want to be around people. It might be possible if you lived in a house and could put in a doggy door so the dog could come in and out on its own with a fenced section that he could get exercise in. If you could afford dog walkers for the long summer months, that might alleviate some of the problems here. We have loved our Shelties and Golden Retrievers (although these are a lot bigger.) The Shelties are medium and smart, although the long fur means you have to brush them with some regularity. But if you cannot figure out a way to keep your dog and cat happy, don’t get them. Figure out another pet that isn’t sociable (if you can!) Hamsters are also a good choice for cute and not needing people. Some of the rescue places have all sorts of animals besides dogs and cats.
Well with all this advice I realized I miss my ex boyfriend dogs as well as him. I probably can’t really take care of a dog these days on my own. However , I am dog sitting for a friends pooch next weekend
@CaptAmehrican I have several friends who have a side business dog sitting. It could be an option for you. You get the occasional pleasure of having a dog or three around, while getting to do it on your own hours. If you’re not available, you simply refuse the job. Plus the added bonus of extra money.
I’m without a dog for the first time in my life (and I’ve been around a while) and I would really like to have one but, I also know that I’m gone a lot and couldn’t really give it the attention it would need so, it would be a pointless effort to get one and only hurt the dog in the long run. Hopefully when things settle down more.
One of my favorite poems - Power of the dog by Rudyard Kipling:
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
expenses are minimal compared to humans.
time is a lot! if you want a good dog, you simply have to spend a lot of time with it, especially as a pup. We don’t measure food, our dog has always had a full bowl available from day one. people ask us if we feed her enough! Canadian dog food is the best, stricter standards there.
Dogs smell like dog. (and so will your hands after petting them) They shed. They have to be let out multiple times a day. (no going on trips for you) You have to pick up their poo in the yard. They get into the trash. They eat snacks off the counter. They eat rabbits. They dig up your flower bed. The city makes you register them and pay every year and submit papers proving they have their shots. You should really take them for walks and stuff. (ain’t nobody got time for that) Food is expensive. Flea and tick stuff is expensive. They freak out at the sound of thunder, fireworks, and beeping noises.
@medz You forgot - connected to the walking part they can lunge while you are holding the leash. If the leash is just looped over your wrist they can either get away or pull enough and hard enough that you finally hurt your wrist. So don’t ever wrap the leash around your wrist to keep the dog from pulling loose. That happened to me when I had to walk someone’s 120 pound Labradoodle mix twice a day about a mile each direction.