Ten Things You Should Know Before You Get a Dog

Written by on July 29, 2013 No Comments
Little Dipper. Photo by Amy L Peterson. Graphic by Brenda Sayles.

Little Dipper. Photo by Amy L Peterson. Graphic by Brenda Sayles.

In Chapter 4 of my book Something Furry Underfoot, Mark falls for a white frou-frou puppy named Dusty, and I play the role of the tough lady who can live without a dog.  Mark Dusty, won me over, of course, but only after I thought seriously about our commitment to the pet we were taking home. Here are some things I pondered before we got Dusty, and later, his pal, Little Dipper: 

  • Smaller dogs live longer than bigger dogs.  A small dog can live 15-16 years, medium sized dogs 10-13 years, a large dog 7-8 years.  Having said that, though, I have a friend whose medium-sized dog lived 18 years, and I know of more than one large dog that lived 14 years.
  • Dogs need quality dog food to eat, fresh water daily, and shelter from the weather.  “Shelter from the weather” means keeping your dog inside when it’s real hot or real cold.  Click here  for vital information on how hot a car can get in the summer time.
  • Dogs can be pricey.  I suggested to my 23-year-old stepdaughter that she save up $1,000 before getting a dog.  While shelter dogs and rescue dogs are cheaper than full breeds and certain mixed breeds, annual vaccinations for dogs can run $40-200 depending on the shots needed and whether you have access to clinics run by a local shelter.  Spaying and neutering your dog to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of puppies and dogs in need of good homes can cost $25-$300 depending on whether a local clinic is available to perform surgeries.  That’s not so bad if your dog is healthy, but if it isn’t 100% healthy, you may need the rest of that $1,000 right off.  Boarding a dog while on vacation can also be costly.
  • Dogs need regular exercise like a daily walk.  One reason dogs like to go for walks:  new smells.  A dog’s sense of smell is at least 1,000 times better than ours. Dogs also need  exercise, just like we do.
Little Dipper in the snow.

Little Dipper in the snow.

  • Dogs need owners to be the pack leader.   Every dog looks for direction from their owner, and without it, some dogs will take over and get out of control.  Plan on spending some time–and possibly money–training your dog.
  • Dogs like to have pals.  Dogs love to have other pals to play with and hang out with.  
Dusty and Little Dipper, both puppies.

Dusty and Little Dipper, as puppies.

  • Certain dog breeds need to be groomed regularly.  We got Dusty and Little Dipper groomed about four times a year.  Sometimes Dusty got a new toy on the way out of the pet store.  
Dusty with one of his toys.

Dusty with one of his toys.

  • Dogs like to go on vacations.  We took our dogs camping and to a Lake Michigan beach where they could run on the sand, swim in the water and roll on dead fish.  What could be better?
Dusty in Lake Michigan.

Dusty in Lake Michigan.

  • Old dogs require extra care. We added extra steps to our front steps for Dusty, and by the time he was 14 1/2, we were lifting him up and down the steps to ease his way.  We also  lined our house with throw rugs because Dusty tended to “turtle out” onto the floor when his feet slipped out from under him.  The house is a bit of a mish-mash of colors, but for Dusty, it’s worth it.
Helping Dusty up the steps.

Helping Dusty up the steps.

  • Dogs will respond to your affection and give it out in equal or larger doses.  No pet has been as loyal as Dusty, the Angel Pup.  None has been more a snuggle-r than Little Dipper. Clearly, Mark was right about getting a dog(s).
Me and my pups on Lake Michigan.

Me and my pups on Lake Michigan.

See photos of Dusty, the Angel Pup in his rhyming photo e-book, and read about Dusty and Little Dipper in Something Furry Underfoot, available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.  Or go to Amylpeterson.com and click on My Books.  Some proceeds for all my animal books will benefit animal rescue organizations.

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