Here are just some things to accept about getting a dog– especially if you decide to go the puppy route:
– you will lose sleep
– you will lose money
– you will lose weight
– you will lose your mind (only for a little bit at first and then you’ll be fine)
– you will lose your social life
– you will get another one
Y’all, puppies are stinking cute.
I bit the bait. An innocent work email about Siberian husky puppies just in my inbox. I could have ignored it, but I bit the bait. 8 weeks later, we had a little puppy Luna. Now that Luna is almost 2 and is good at walks, sleeps mostly through the night, doesn’t bite me, doesn’t pee in the house and is the sweetest little Saturday morning cuddler (on her own terms), I realized some time ago that I had some seriously unrealistic expectations about getting a dog.
I thought by getting a puppy, it’d be a few hard days, maybe weeks and then I’d have that life ‘man’s best friend’ companion I always wanted. NOPE. FALSE. Try 18 hard months.
So onto losing sleep:
I might have had a little bit of new-mom syndrome and I did not sleep for 2 weeks when we first got her. Every time she rolled over, breathed heavy, made a noise I woke up and checked on her. Months afterwards Luna would go through phases where she would want to wake up at 2am to go sit outside. Or she’d be sick and need to go out in the middle of the night. Or she’d wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday. Or she’d want to go for a walk and bark and run around the house and scream (no really, scream) in the crate at midnight. You’ll lose sleep with a puppy.
Vets are expensive. We bought the “puppy plan” which covered regular checkups and shots for the first year for $180. Totally worth it. Luckily they have a doggy plan that will cover us for the next three years (up until shots in 2014) for $260 I believe. That is a DEAL. If you decide to get a puppy, look for a vet that has a plan like this. If your puppy is prone (like ours is) to gnaw on non-food items to the point of ‘poopvomit’ (worst day of my life, by the way. if we are good friends I’ll tell you about it sometime) and you find yourself needing the emergency vet, be prepared to drop $500 just to see the doctor and potentially get some IV fluids. Do not leave your dog there for “observation” because as our emergency vet was kind enough to tell us, will put your bill EASILY into the $$$$ range. If you take your dog home and they have problems within 24 hours and you have to bring him or her back, they will only charge you once.
Food is expensive. If you do research and compare what you can afford to feed your dog ($5 Wal-Mart brand dog food) to what you should be feeding your dog, you’ll begin losing money. Luna had a lot of dietary issues from the get-go (Huskies have super sensitive stomaches. Ha!) so we were kind of forced to switch up her food. We tried Puppy Chow (which at the time, we considered to be expensive) and then moved to Prescription Diet (which WAS really expensive) and now we order from the Pet Pantry . They offer healthier, natural options and deliver to your house. AND they are locally owned and operated which makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside for supporting local business.
Flea & Tick treatment and heartworm pills are expensive. You can order online for cheaper and there are rebates and coupons out there. A 6 month supply of our heartworm pill of choice was nearly a $100. Cha ching.
Leashes and collars are expensive. As you may know, huskies are often used as sled dogs because of their natural ability to pull. We tried harness, after collar, after leash after walking technique, until our friends and wedding photographers The Rays told us about the Gentle Leader head collar. If little bitty Nancy could walk big Great Dane Winston… I was in. We ordered one on Amazon that night on the way home from their house and a few days later I began enjoying walking Luna. Now I LOVE IT. We had to bribe her with treats and kissy noises for the first month but now she loves it.
Other things that cost money… brushes (The Furminator is the best, just buy it, it’s expensive and works the best forever and ever, amen), daycare, boarding, treats, toys (don’t buy these, just get another dog), fish oil pills, glucosamine pills, replacement blankets and pillows and shoes for the ones they destroy, etc.
Like I mentioned before, Luna needs a 2-3 mile walk a day, and even more efficient than that, what about a brisk walk, or even RUN? Luna helped me to learn to like running. I found it was way more efficient to run with her than walk for hours and hours and hours and now am working on increasing my ability to run farther distances (like hopefully 3.1 miles by November). It’s so fun to me now because I know huskies LOVE to run and when I get a little bit tired, it’s nice to have someone who is willing to pull me a little bit. So yes, with all the running and walking and running and walking you will definitely lose some weight.
Losing your mind:
See ‘New Mom Sydrome’ above.
Losing social life:
You can’t go away for the weekend whenever you want, or stay obscene hours at work, or meet friends for dinner on a whim. You have a doggy at home that needs to poop, and in extreme circumstances has figured out how to get out of the crate. And sometimes your friends don’t like dogs (or just your dog) and don’t really want to hang out at the dog park, or outside at Starbucks, or in your living room just so your dog can come too. (Thankfully that hasn’t been the case with any of my friends.)
Getting another one:
Once you take your little puppy to the dog park once and see how it wears them out to play with another doggy, you’ll start thinking about getting another one. Or maybe you’ll dogsit for a friend and are shocked to find that you are able to actually get stuff done (or get through an entire episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix) because the dogs are entertaining each other. You’ll make up excuses like, ‘Oh it will just double the cost and the problem, etc.’ but you know, deep down, that it will really solve all your problems doggy related. You know they’ll entertain each other, therefore the one you already have will not need to be exercised twice a day + taken to the dog park for 2 hours and if you don’t have time for the park one day, they won’t get into your garbage and eat a piece of mystery plastic that appears in their vomit and poop two days later. So you decide that since they are a ‘pack dog’ and ‘our house is big enough’ and ‘it would be nice to give a rescue dog a home’ and ‘you’ve always wanted to name a dog Lobo’ that you will take the plunge and adopt another…you know, once the backyard is fenced in. And then one day:
And the backyard isn’t fenced in yet, but you’re really happy so it’s all good.
So, the truth about getting a dog? Money, sleep, people friends, pounds and all lost…
It is totally worth it.