Are You Really a Dog Person? The Highs and Lows of Owning a Dog
Brownie: My Chocolate Lab
When I was a young boy, I had a dog named Sport. He would chase me and knock me over just to lick my face. He was supposed to be a hunting dog, but he was more interested in playing. Over the years, I have had a few other dogs: a white German Shepherd, a Chow mix, and a Husky, but none of them came close to the affection and relationship I had with Sport. Now that I am a father, I want my children to have the same love that I had for Sport, so we adopted a chocolate Lab and called her Brownie.
Adopting a Dog Is a Big Adjustment
This picture is of my tired but beautiful wife, and, you guessed it, Brownie. We adopted the puppy when she was 12 weeks old, and our lives have been turned upside down ever since. Brownie is now six months old and an unmistakable part of our family. She was cute and gentle when we brought her home but is quite comfortably rough at this point. There are moments when I ask myself, "What was I thinking?" Of course, this question rings in my mind a lot—mostly when there is dog hair everywhere, or shredded paper all over the floor, or an unforgettable accident in the house. I wanted her to be my oldest son's dog, but I guess she thinks she is mine.
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The Woes of Dog Ownership
Not everyone is suitable for pets—especially dogs. Speaking from experience, I jumped into this responsibility without fully thinking it through. We adopted Brownie mostly as a spur of the moment thing. She was cute, gentle, and playful. My boys were in love, and I was optimistically hopeful. Here are some woes of dog ownership:
- First, all dogs require lots of love. Puppies are cute and playful, but they poop and pee often. You will need to take them out every thirty minutes or so until they can effectively hold their bladders.
- Second, all dogs bark. If you are looking for a peaceful day of quiet, you may not get it.
- All dogs chew. Even with a number of toys available, your favorite shoe or piece of furniture may turn up with teeth marks on them sooner or later.
- Almost all dogs shed. If you don't want a house full of fur, you will need to vacuum or sweep daily.
- Dogs also require regular health visits at the veterinarian. Veterinarians are not cheap, so prepare to fork out a lot of money on your pet's health care.
- Dogs are also territorial. When visitors come by, you may need to put your pet in a separate room.
- Vacations are harder to plan with a pet. Now days more and more places are accepting of animals, but plane rides make vacations more expensive.
There are a number of negative aspects of owning a dog. However, if you can keep in mind that all pets come with an immense amount of responsibility, pets can be one of the most positive parts of your life.
The Joys of Sharing Your Life With a Dog
Despite some of the drawbacks of dog ownership, there are a number of positive life changing aspects of owning a dog:
- You will never find a more faithful friend. When I leave for even a few minutes and come back inside, her tail is wagging like crazy and she can barely contain herself from jumping all over me.
- When no one else in the home feels like playing, I can always count on Brownie—she always wants to play.
- If food falls on the floor, it won't be there for long. Brownie is like my own personal vacuum cleaner.
- She loves to go for walks, so having her promotes lots of exercise.
- She likes to snuggle with my wife and me.
- Dogs are usually great protectors. Having young children, I feel more comfortable with Brownie in the house. Even though she is only six months, she is big and causes someone to look twice.