It's an article on BlogPaws.com called "Top 5 Reasons You Do Not Deserve a Pet."
Now, there's a lot in this article I agree with. A pet is a lifelong commitment that shouldn't be entered into lightly. You should consider the cost of owning a pet, the fact that they grow up and get old, that the "newness" and maybe even the "cuteness" will wear off.
But the number 3 reason, "you work a lot of hours," really got to me.
Because I do work a lot of hours. Oh, and to add to that, I'm single. I also don't have enough time to drive home and let the dogs out on a lunch break. And I don't have a dog sitter, and Lulu can't handle doggy day care (she can't handle an hour at the groomer).
|"I miss you when you go to work."|
I did it because I love these dogs. I love Lulu and Jasmine.
It would have bothered me less if the point was brought up in a "Reasons not to get a dog" story. Then the point reminds people that it can be a problem and you take it into consideration. It's the word "deserve" that bothers me. Like I don't deserve ice cream because I didn't eat dinner. That to me implies punishment.
In fact, the very definition includes the word "punishment:"
|Lulu at the shelter, Nov. 2009|
1) Know your dog. I have a friend who has a German Shepherd mix. She takes her dog on 3-mile runs. Then he sleeps with the TV on while she's at work. Oh, and he's a puppy in a studio apartment. No problems. But she knows what she needs to do to make sure he's not a behavioral problem while she's away.
Now, fortunately she's an active person (she ran the Boston Marathon and did Iron Man). So she wanted a dog who could run with her. If you're practically a couch potato like me, this wouldn't work. So know what is required to keep your dog happy and out of trouble BEFORE you get a dog.
|Lulu and a friend at the apartment complex dog park.|
Now I have a screened in patio and a backyard which will eventually get fenced in. And Lulu has Jasmine to run around with. They keep each other active. And they tire each other out. Then they relax throughout the evening while I'm at work. A tired dog is a happy dog.
3) Keep them mentally stimulated. I play games with my dogs. We do training stuff. I have puzzles and treat balls. It also aids in exhausting them while I'm away, but as long as they have things to do, they keep themselves busy.
4) Don't crate them if you can help it. If you tire your dog out and give them things to chew on you shouldn't have to crate them all day. Then they have freedom of movement. Lulu since training has stopped chewing. Unfortunately with Jasmine I can't trust her not to get into a fight with Lulu. Jasmine has to stay in the crate.
ADDENDUM: I just want to add that I don't dislike crate training, though I have a mental block about it. I prefer confining the dog to a space in the house rather than the crate. When I'm gone Lulu is confined to the kitchen, dining room, and my master bedroom. If I didn't worry about Jasmine and Lulu mixing it up I would let Jaz out of the crate.
5) Spend time with them on your days off. Take them places -- a walk on Main Street, the beach, the park or just for long walks. Make sure your dogs socialize with other dogs. Take them for classes. Do training, it helps bunches.
Ideally, if I could stay home with my dogs all day, I would. The world isn't perfect, and we have to make do. It hurts me when Jasmine gives me the big eyes when she goes in her crate, or when I see Lulu's tail go down as I walk out the door.
But I'd rather Lulu and Jasmine were at home waiting for me than waiting for someone to save them in a shelter. No it's not the perfect situation, but it is possible to make it work.
I'm not the only blogger who feels this way. Check out Jessica Shipman's post over at Beagles and Bargains and Jen DeHaan's over at Dogthusiast.
Please feel free to agree or disagree below.