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Message Board > Miscellaneous > Dog ownership ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Dog ownership
opinions, thoughts?


Member since 12/31/69
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Date: 1/5/11 5:01 PM

I have come across the opportunity to adopt a nearly "perfect" dog (so says the rescue). I've daydreamed about adopting a dog for years now but have never found the right one. This one does seem like the one, but my life is messy. My dh, dd and I live with my parents so I can help with my handicapped mom and do the cooking, cleaning, laundry etc for them. dd is 4 and the dog would be exclusively my responsibilty as dh and dad would be okay with living with a dog, if I assume all the care. I'm busy but not impossibly so.
My question is this: do the benefits of dog loving far outweigh any negatives (like taking her out in 2 feet of snow at 25degrees)? I live in on a dead end, but don't have a fenced yard and couldn't fence it. She's already house trained and supposedly great with kids and cats (I have 2 of those). Should I go for it? I've been dreaming for so long that now that it might happen I have a little bit of cold feet!
Oh, and the resue offers to let a family have a 30 day trial run with the pet too.
Got some advice for me?

poorpigling

poorpigling
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Date: 1/5/11 5:10 PM


There is no experience in life like owning a pet.. I would suggest you buy the largest outdoor enclosure for the dog. as some dogs actually love it outside.. or perhaps fence in a small area.. You may find there is just sometimes you cannot have your dog in the home.. such as when you spray for roaches or such. And of course you will not know until you do a trial run how protective the dog might be when strangers come around.
Don't worry too much about how messy your life is.. Dogs are very adaptable.. but I recommend playing with the dog at least twice a day if even for l0 minutes.. For the most part they will stick close to you all day anyhow.. when they aren't sleeping which is a lot of the time.. the take regular naps. And you may find other family members falling in love with the dog also.

birdmcfarland
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birdmcfarland
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Member since 8/1/08
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Date: 1/5/11 6:00 PM

If you're wondering how I qualify to answer this, I'll tell you. I am a lifetime dog owner and, at this point, almost more of them than I can count. Every one of them has been a stray or from a shelter or rescue organization. I have always worked as a volunteer with rescue groups and am currently a volunteer at our local shelter. I also put myself through college by working as a vet tech.
Firstly, thanks for adopting from a rescue rather than buying a dog and supporting the breeding industry. There are so many dogs in need.
Secondly, what kind of dog is it? How old? There are some dogs out there -senoirs and tiny dogs - who don't need a lot of exercise and do fine with just plenty of lap-time. Yet others who require several miles' run every single day and everything in between. Dogs are by nature exploring and seeking animals. It's absolutely essential for their mental health (and physical, of course) to get a daily walk. And I don't mean a sniffy kind of piddly walk around the block - a real walk that requires some exertion. Your dog will sleep better, respect you more and will be happier in every aspect. If you're not prepared to commit to that, then I'd say bag it. Of course weather won't permit that 365 days of the year, but that should be part of your daily routine. And it's good for the human too!
I could not imagine my life without dogs. We have 3 (a beagle mix, a german shepherd and a schipperke) as well as an ancient toothless foster chihuahua. They're my best friends and constant companions. They're always happy to see me. Always have a smile and a wag. They never complain. They are so fulfilling in every way.
Sure, they crap in the house periodically. Vet bills aren't cheap. It stinks going outside at 11pm when it's 20F and the wind is blowing, but I don't mind. It's not like they can take themselves out. Their entire existences are wholly at my whim so if someone poops on the floor, it's my fault for not getting them outside.
When you're tired of dealing with people, it's so nice to have a companion who is non-judgemental and doesn't care what you look like. For me, the detractors are far far outweighed by the benefits.
I'd also really recommend reading some of Temple Grandin's books about animals. She's autistic and, I swear, has a direct pipeline to an animal's brain. Out of all the dog books I've read, hers are by far the best. She doesn't give advice on any kind of training but really understands how and why dogs behave the way they do and can open up a whole new world of understanding animals.



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Date: 1/5/11 6:07 PM

I so appreciate these replies!
bird, I'd like to ask you this: the weather here is cold, snowy and gets dark way early about 5 months out of the year. There would be several months when I couldn't give her a nice long walk. Do you think she'd be alright provided we play in the house daily? I guess I thought she'd be better off just having a home, but I want to do the right thing here.



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Date: 1/5/11 6:08 PM

Thanks, poorpigling! That's heartening. Hey, have you tried that cheesy corn cassrole recipe yet? My daughter devours that stuff. ;)

Terri A
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Terri A  Friend of PR
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In reply to birdmcfarland


Date: 1/5/11 6:21 PM

Amen! I have a rescue dog and I ADORE her. Everything you said is such beautiful advice. The Dog Whisperer series is great too. Once I understood that people anthromoporphize their dogs and the effects that has, I became a much better dog owner. Side note - string is very bad for dogs. If we sew, we need to keep puppy away from string and fabrics that string and shred like loose boucle'.

poorpigling

poorpigling
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TX USA
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Date: 1/5/11 6:22 PM


I never walk my dogs. NEVER do they leave my yard unless they are going to the vet. But mine do have that large yard to play/run in.. The lumberyard sells enclosures that your dog can exercise outside in.. Of course the larger the dog.. the more space they need to run.. Just what breed is this dog you are looking at ??
And yes I did try that recipe..

kkkkaty
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kkkkaty  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/5/11 6:28 PM

I don't have a dog now, but I loved walking mine when I did have them. It was nice alone time. In the evening you can admire the stars, in the spring the birds are singing, during day time you get to enjoy your neighbors yards and flowers. I was thinner then because I was getting more exercise. Some of our best friends are neighbors we met while walking the dogs. Good bonding time with the dog too. Just be a good neighbor, save up plastic bags, take them with you, and pick up after the dog.....

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Viking Lily 545
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Coconuts
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Coconuts  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/5/11 8:02 PM

I may be the lone dissenter here. DH and I both had dogs growing up. We researched for 6 months before getting them, blah blah blah. DH insisted on a puppy to make sure our cats would be safe. We did make the mistake of getting two, and getting litter mates.

Nothing prepared us for the hell of dog ownership. We're slobs, and even we couldn't handle the amount of dirt the dogs brought into our house- even with wiping paws every time they went in and out. There's still dirt on a wall from three years ago (I've washed it countless times, we just haven't decided what color to paint it).

They destroyed the landscaping we had worked on for three weekends less than an hour after we got them home. The grass along the fence was dead within a month.

The time sink was just awful. We worked a mile apart, so we carpooled. We couldn't just stop at the store on the way home, the dogs needed out. We had to go home for lunch (20 minutes there, 15 of fetch and 5 to make lunch, and 20 minutes back, eating in the car) to let the dogs out.

On top of that, we had two great cats at that point- so we already had the joy of unconditional love and furry faces (well, one was furry, the other was my Sphynx) to greet us at the door.

I should also mention that we envisioned taking a long walk together in the evenings. We could not have been more wrong. We had to leave the house separately and plan routes so the dogs didn't see each other. If we tried to walk them together, the dog that I wouldn't hesitate to let a four year old walk competed with the other one, and we ended up getting pulled by the end of the block- and this was after obedience school.

This also doesn't include the time we spent in the backyard hunting for and scooping the crap. It takes a lot less time to scoop a litterbox (or five).

I will never, ever have another dog. We have five cats, and they're nowhere near the amount of works the dogs were (we did find them a new home).

poorpigling

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In reply to Coconuts


Date: 1/5/11 8:10 PM


Oh my. don't feel bad coconuts. I would have to echo a lot of your post..as bird has already done. Of course I have five dogs..and we all know Bird is a dog lover.. as well as many others on this site..
Its true you do have to stay a step ahead of a dog.. but you know..each dog is different.. Some will dig up holes. not all . Funny thing is my dogs never bother my landscaping.. but my cat does.. so there you go.. you just can't tell.
The OP has long wanted a dog..and can give it a trial run.. so I still say go for it.
It has taken me some time to learn to live with my dogs.. and so many of them.. to find solutions to all the problems they may cause.. but I just take it as it comes.
I have thought more than once we need to start a ''How to live with animals'' type of thread.. you know.. common problems and solutions.. I may do that if no one else does.. but think it would be fabulous if Bird started that thread.. and she is best prepared for advise in raising , living with..and training dogs for sure.

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