October is Adopt-a-Dog Month!
|Heidi & I at the Waterford Lake Dog Park, Summer 2010|
If you have been bouncing around the idea of adopting a dog, I want to take this opportunity to give you a nudge in the direction of doing it! Dogs make great companions, and you will quickly find that you are very happy when your puppy is happy. Getting Heidi has been one of my life's biggest joys. She's my baby, and I love her so much. I love knowing that when I put the key in the door she will stop whatever she's doing and come to the door to give me a warm greeting.
Here are some things I thought heavily on before I got Heidi:
- Can I afford a dog? Owning a dog is expensive in the first year with all the vaccinations, health checks, puppy food, toys, etc. After the first year the costs drop considerably, but you'll need to make sure you can afford to properly support your puppy financially for the span of its life beforehand.
- Do I have time for a dog? Dogs require a lot of attention. They have specific needs and things can quickly go down-hill if these needs aren't satisfied. For example, a dog needs to be outside to relieve himself 2-3 times a day at the minimum; MANY more times a day when he is a puppy and still potty training. By the way, by about 4 months the puppy should be potty trained; at least that's how long it was until Heidi had it down pat. She's almost 11-months-old now and has had just a few accidents inside the apartment.
- Why do I want a dog? So many reasons! Not in any order, here are some reasons that made me want a dog: protection for a young, single, white female, companionship, something to nurture, tend after, and love on (Ashes is great, but dogs are so much different than cats in this respect). The biggest reason for me was companionship.
- Can my living environment handle a dog? Be sure to take into account your home and whether it would be a good fit for a dog. German Shepherds make for great apartment dogs, so that's worked out well. On top of that, I make sure to socialize and exercise Heidi a lot since her breed needs that to stay happy and healthy. If I didn't work with Heidi and just kept her holed up in the apartment, she wouldn't make for a very good apartment dog, so keep this aspect of owning a dog and breeds in mind.
- What if the dog destroys everything in my home? This is part of the deal, especially with puppies. I made sure to keep valuables out of Heidi's reach, and so she didn't have a lot of opportunity to destroy things. To date she's only ruined a yoga mat, a broom stick, a hand towel and one pair of shoes. Not always such a happy scenario for other dog owners, but it's possible if you take the time to pick up after yourself. There are a ton of techniques and sprays which help with this. Potty training is another area where you have to accept that there will be messes. Just keep reminding yourself that it doesn't last forever. Exercise and socialization are huge ways to ward off a dog's destructive chewing nature. When they are stimulated in healthy ways they won't feel the need to go relieve some stress by chomping on your Minolos.
If you have any questions about owning a dog, please don't hesitate to ask me! I would love to help you in your decision about whether adopting a dog is right for you. For more information, go here!