by Texas Homesteader ~
Are you thinking of having Santa bring a pup for the kids this Christmas? That’s AWESOME, they’ll be so excited! But there are several things to consider first. Be sure you’re ready for the commitment. Here are some things to think about.
Bringing Home A Household Pet
When the kids were little we brought home a little black mini-toy poodle – our youngest named him ‘Toto. Yep, you can just guess which of her favorite movies our daughter had just watched!
Toto was her constant companion from the time she was 4 years old until she was grown. When she moved out after she graduated high school she even took him with her.
Toto lived a long time & died at a ripe old age of 14 years, well loved all the way through.
Considerations Before Bringing A Pet Home:
But remember, if you’re thinking of surprising the kids this Christmas with a new furry friend, considerations must be fully thought out before bringing that sweet pup home.
Are you ready for this sacrifice? For the long haul?
And the expense? Not just dog food (LOTS of it for larger dogs, or more expensive specialty foods sometimes like our Bailey needs) but the vet bills, immunizations, flea meds and more. And grooming & training too.
Oh, and boarding when you’re traveling. Plus responsibility to not stay out too late when you’re away from home. That pup is relying on you!
All of these things need to be considered before you take the plunge.
Oh sure, that cute pup would elate the kids on Christmas morning. And yes, they promise to feed, water and bathe him.
But how many times has a cute puppy been brought home as a fantastic surprise only to have the ‘new‘ wear off quickly?
That cute pup then becomes a burden and frustration sets in. And sadly when a pet is a burden, sometimes it leads to abuse or even abandonment. It breaks my heart!
Pets Require Long-Term Commitment
Adding a pet to your home requires a real and long-term commitment from you.
If you just don’t know for sure if your family is ready for such a commitment, perhaps you can puppy-sit for a friend who’s traveling for a few days.
Then you can get a feel for your family’s tolerance level and care needed before taking the plunge to bringing your own pet into your home.
RancherMan & I Consider Getting A Dog
After our children left home to begin their own adult lives, RancherMan & I decided didn’t want the responsibility of a dog. So we went without a pet in our home for years.
Then a few years ago we began to wonder if a dog would once again be a good fit for our home.
We knew we wanted to Adopt From A Shelter. So we watched for pets available from a local shelter that would be a good fit for us.
Soon I fell in love with the idea of having a dog in the family again.
Oh how easy it is to be swept up with all the cute puppy eyes looking at you as you walked by their enclosures!
But after looking at all that furry cuteness and being tempted mightily, we left the shelter empty handed.
We returned and then went home & ponder it again – several times actually.
It’s not that we didn’t want to bring a cute pup home right then, right there. We did! But we really needed to review our current lifestyle.
We’d been empty nesters for a few years – thoroughly enjoying all the freedom that entails. Would we be able to fully commit to being responsible for this dog if we brought it home?
Not just for a short time, but for all of its life?
Making The Commitment For A Family Pet
In the end RancherMan & I decided we were ready to accept the responsibility of adding a pet to our family.
And make no mistake, it’s been a lifestyle shift for us after becoming accustomed to being empty nesters!
But bringing Bailey home was fully thought out beforehand. We realized exactly what we were committing to. It was a good decision for us and she absolutely loves it here!
The point of this post isn’t to be preachy, just meant to provide food for thought.
Please, please, PLEASE think about long-term commitments before adding a pet to your family this Christmas!
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I had a large medium dog. He was lab, rot, and pit. Chingy was the sweetest dog (in spite of the bad rap pits got). We went to puppy play time every evening where he played with other dogs, and he slept next to my bed every night. Then suddenly when we went to puppy play time he’d go play but come back every few minutes just to check on me, and he started jumping up on my bed and sleeping at my feet. I couldn’t imagine what could be making him so clingy. I assumed he knew my mom was very sick and he felt my worries. I had taken him to visit her in the rehab she was in, where all the residents adored him. He’d been doing this for 2 or 3 months when I realized that I hadn’t done my breast exams for a few months. That’s when I found my lump. During the whole time of my treatment he never left my side. We quit going to puppy play time just because I was so tired. Even after my chemo when we’d go to the park for our walks the only time he’d leave my side was to go off the trail and into the woods (we lived in Washington at that time) to use it for his bathroom. He eventually stopped sleeping on my bed and went back to the floor next to the bed. And he’d go off longer when we went to the park, but he never did quit coming back to check on me. I had to put him to sleep. He got hip dysphasia. It got to the point where he could barely walk when he got up from his naps. I don’t remember how long it took me to finally stop missing his snoring when I went to bed at night. They say some dogs can smell cancer and I truly believe that Chingy knew.
Your cute little black toy poodle reminds me of the one I grew up with – we also got her when I was 4, and she grew up with me : )
But, you’re right – a dog is not just a huge responsibility, but a long term one. Our current lifestyle just wouldn’t be fair to a dog (and allergies rule out cats), as much as we would enjoy having one. a
Your Bailey is adorable 🙂 I’d like to add to your considerations that medical problems may not be apparent from the time you meet the pup and bring it home. Also, consider that as the pup grows older, issues may develop due to their age. Sixteen years ago my daughter asked me to go with her to the local shelter to find a puppy. (I am proud to say she spent many days researching and pondering if having a dog was right for her.) I honestly didn’t think she would find her ‘fur baby’ on the first trip and was expecting to make several trips. But I have to say, she saw Sugar Bear and it was love at first sight. I feel bad now, to say that i questioned her intensely before she brought that puppy home, especially because now I know it was meant to be. I belive God led her to that special pup. It wasn’t really a matter of my daughter claiming Sugar Bear, because Sugar Bear claimed my daughter from the very beginning as her human. To make a sixteen year long story short, Sugar Bear has always had a very sensitive stomach, and these last several years, the symptoms have worsened. Trips to the vet, tests, treatments, buying expensive prescription dog food, etc. Through it all, they are the best of friends, no regrets, and have brought so much happiness and enjoyment to my life. And no, I can’t imagine our lives without a fur baby. Thanks for letting me share a very special to me story, Taryn
A hugely good point, Taryn. When we adopted Bailey we found she had bladder stones, a huge expensive surgery was necessary – money we hadn’t counted on spending. I’m assuming that’s why Bailey was dumped (and abused) in the first place. Poor baby. And because of her bladder stones, specialty food is required and there’s no guarantee the stones won’t return anyway. So expensive health considerations are certainly an important thing to keep in mind too. Thank you for sharing your special story of Sugar Baby. Our pets become a part of the family, don’t they? ~TxH~
We have been lucky to adopt three adult dogs over the years. They are so much easier than puppies and seem very appreciative.
I grew up with dogs, tho they were always outdoor dogs when I was a kid. As an adult I’ve almost always had a dog or two and cats. I’m catless at the moment and our well loved rescue black lab is getting old. We won’t wait long. I won’t say “I want to live in a house that’s not carpeted with dog hair, I’m sick of finding dog hair in my food. But after a few days of coming home with no one to greet me at the door I remember that is not my way of life. There are so many dogs at the shelters I want to take them all home with me. Bring Bailey when you come to visit me!!!