Most of us give in to the temptation to make impulse purchases from time to time; and if it doesn’t work out like we planned, it may only be a little money and/or time down the drain. We shouldn’t be so casual when the impulsive acquisition in question is a living being, however. No pet – whether cat, dog, reptile, fish, or any other – should be brought into our home if we aren’t certain that we can provide for its care. In the case of dogs, this consideration is tricky because we are dealing with animals that were once wild and self-sufficient but are now almost wholly dependent upon humans for survival.
This is not to suggest that dogs’ needs are as complex and multitudinous as a human being’s. They can be happy if they’re provided with shelter, food and water, exercise, health care, love and interaction. But are we prepared to give them all of these things? Cats are a popular choice of pet partially because they excel at entertaining themselves. Dogs typically need a lot more exercise, and they greatly prefer not to do it alone. A big, fenced-in yard is not enough; we should be prepared to play with them and walk them. Dogs are pack animals, which means they are not loners by nature. Neglect makes them lonely, and then they not only suffer but also act out in inappropriate ways.
These habits can include barking all night, “doing their business” inside the house, tearing at curtains and furniture, digging up the yard, and even snapping at – and biting – people.
In short, they desire our companionship; and we should not take dogs under our wing unless we’re prepared – eager, even – to give it.
We also have to consider the expenses that go along with our new pet. Purchasing a dog is only the first drain on the wallet. Taking into consideration some good quality food, veterinarian exams and vaccinations, tags, and professional grooming (if necessary), we can easily be looking at spending $500 or more – particularly over the first year.
Sometimes people are perfectly willing to give their pets the companionship they crave, but work schedules and other circumstances don’t allow it. Dogs that are left to their own devices can get into trouble, not only by destroying our property but also by endangering themselves. Their safety and well being depends upon at least one person being home the majority of the time. For this reason, bringing a dog into a family unit should be a matter to discuss with each member. Is everyone prepared to chip in with their time and energy to see that their new pet is attended to?
The overflowing shelters in America and in other countries attest to the problems that are created when people buy dogs only to realize that they can’t properly care for them. We should weigh the matter carefully before we go into a pet shop or pound and are won over by those big brown eyes and their promises of unconditional love and affection.