Getting A Pet, A Journey Of Learning, Hugs And Unconditional Love

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Dogs sleepingMy neighbors a few houses over, proudly showed off their new puppy by letting their small kids parade him back and forth until a few weeks later he was no longer seen. He had been given back to the pet store, another story of people unprepared for a pet. The primary victim was the puppy that had to be placed back in a cage sadly hoping to be adopted again. This website is about people changes, but here are a few tips to consider before buying a puppy or adopting a rescue dog. And yes, we have owned two loveable rascals for almost 12 years.

Your decision to get a dog shouldn’t be an emotional one.  Emotions will bring you visions of never ending delightful walks, the kids joyfully rolling with Fido in the grass and wagging tails with gentle barks. Reality means no spontaneous vacations, picking up poop, clipping nails, veterinarian bills and some sleepless nights. Are you ready to care for a dog? The fun stuff comes with work and expense.

  1. Your new dog is not a pet, it is a member of the family and if you think otherwise you shouldn’t get a pet. It isn’t returnable.
  2. Read about what type of dog you want. Working dogs (ex: huskies or sheepdogs) need plenty of exercise and won’t be happy with your lazy asses parked in front of a TV.
  3. Read up about owning a dog before buying.  There was no Cesar Millan just a few years ago but he makes plenty of good points about owning a dog. One of the best is about YOU being the leader of the pack. Dogs are pack animals and will always nominate a leader and it will be them self, another dog or you. Once you begin to spoil your dog, or let it drag you down the street you aren’t the leader anymore.
  4. Dogs need good nutrition. At the very least buy a good quality dry dog food. We buy GO duck  a much better brand than what you get in grocery stores.  We also feed them Natural Choice Lamb and Rice, as a soft dog food. Fido deserves good health through nutritious foods.
  5. Your dog socializes by going on walks and sniffing other dogs pee and at times poop. Not taking your dog for a walk is like not allowing your kids to see their friends. Dogs live in a world of smell and this provides them with much information about the world around them.
  6. Dogs need exercise because if they are cooped up they will use all that extra energy to happily chew on your slippers and legs of your expensive furniture. It also helps to get your ass off the couch and go for a walk….yes?
  7.  More vacuuming …nuff said
  8. Much better to get a dog from a dog breeder than a pet store. The animals at a pet store can be from a puppy mill or are the least desirable dogs from a breeders litter.  It’s also nice to adopt a rescue dog but make sure he walks well on a leash and gets along with the kids.
  9. Hug your dog once a day. It’s very therapeutic for both of you.
  10. Your house will be covered with fur unless you invest in a non shedding dog.

I’m not trying to discourage you from getting a dog (or a non shedding dog)  I’m just pointing out that all that unconditional love, protection and doggy hugs, comes in return by  providing a safe and healthy home for your four legged friend.

Terry Vermeylen is the founder and primary writer of My Life Changes. He and his wife own “Tucker”” a cute but slightly neurotic Old English Sheepdog and “Jake” a fur shedding German Sheppard. He dedicates this article to “George” his long haired white cat who sadly passed away yesterday October 13th 2013. RIP.George 2013


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