It is really heart-breaking to hear some of the reasons why a dog is left at a shelter. It is really heart-breaking to hear the circumstances that some dogs are rescued from, and it is really heart-breaking to see a dog clearly with some serious issues as a result of irresponsible ownership.
While I believe that most of you, if not all of you, are going to relate and will sadly shake your heads at the realities of our society in the context of dog ownership, perhaps you could also pass on some of these really basic thoughts to anybody you know who is contemplating adopting a dog.
- Puppies grow up! Not exactly a revelation, but it seems that so many cute puppies lose their appeal with growth. Before you get “sucked in” to buying that cute puppy, remember that it is going to grow into an adult. That’s just the way nature works (e.g. just like humans)!
- Found out what it is! Some idea of it’s breed mix will give you a potential indicator of its adult size. Get a really cute little Anatolian Shepherd puppy, and expect 150lbs of dog to be eventually herding you and your family around!
- The breed mix will also give you some guidelines as to what characteristics to expect, and what you will need to provide. A large high energy breed is not going to be happy in a 12th floor one bedroom apartment.
- They live for many years. This means that before buying/adopting a dog, consider whether you really want one in your life for the next 12 years or so. If you have to think about it, then perhaps a pet with a shorter life-span would be more appropriate.
- Are you prepared to look after the dog? Yes, they do need looking after. Their mental ability is considered approximate to a 3 year old child so they need to be taught boundaries; how to behave in/out of the home; they also need regular health checkups and grooming. Most importantly, and for their physical and emotional health, they need regular exercise and, probably unlike you, they may not care about the weather outside!
- If you are contemplating a puppy because your 14 year old princess keeps pressuring you to get one (and of course is promising to look after it) – please don’t! When 14 year old princess gets a little older, she will be away from home, but you will still have the dog!
- Finally (because this is just a basic primer), dogs do have feelings and they do get attached to people and homes. This means that it is quite simply cruel to take a dog that has lived with you for a number if years, and drop it off at your local shelter because you don’t want it around any more!
Unfortunately, dogs cannot advocate for themselves due to language difficulties, but we can certainly advocate on their behalf by simply role modelling, and spreading the message about responsible dog ownership!