Think Before You Buy
Having a new puppy or dog join the family is an exciting time. When I was a child all I ever wanted was my own dog. I pestered my parents relentlessly for them to get me a puppy. I made promises about brushing it every day and taking care of all its needs. They eventually caved and I got my first Golden Retriever puppy, Amy, at age eleven.
Like most children I didn't keep my end of the bargain and had to be nagged to brush Amy, and Mum ended up feeding her. I did, however, love that dog. I lived on a farm and Amy was my constant companion.
As a young adult I really missed having a dog, but as I planned to travel the world I knew it would not be possible. When I finally settled down and knew I wouldn't be doing anything but work for at least fifteen years (that sounds so depressing) I decided it was time for another Golden Retriever.
It therefore surprises me when I see people who get dogs that haven't really thought it through. We often get overseas students who get a puppy. Some take them home with them at the end of their studies, but many do not.
I have lost count of the number of people who tell me the dog is actually their son or daughter’s but they now live overseas. There is nothing wrong with Mum and Dad taking over care of your dog, but I think it is only fair to ask them first, rather than expecting them to do it.
I guess what I am saying is, a dog is a big commitment. You need to think not only can I meet those commitments now, but also for the rest of its life. A situation that I find really tough is when an elderly client's dog passes away. They often tell me they won't get another as they won't outlive the dog. This makes me very sad as I know how important having a companion like a faithful dog can be to the wellbeing of an elderly person.
Like the student leaving their dog for their parents to look after, I think the same can occur the other way around. If you are worried about not being able to look after a dog when you become too elderly, then ask if your children would be willing to take on the care. Possibly joint ownership with a friend or neighbour might work. You could even consider rescuing an older dog.
Having a dog as a companion is a truly awesome thing. It is, however, important to think about your situation now and for the lifespan of that dog, and how you will go about meeting those needs for that period.
My name is Lance Eastman and I am the local vet here in Blockhouse Bay.
I first started working in the Bay in 1997 and tried to escape overseas for awhile but eventually ended up back where I started.
I did return with a Scottish wife, Jacqueline who is also a vet and my business partner at the clinic.
I have been writing articles on matters related to pets for over ten years now. Sometimes I run out of ideas and get my dog "Breeze" or my cat "Radish" to write something for me. Most people prefer to read these articles over what I write but it can be hard to motivate your pets to write sometimes.