A dog is for life
‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.’ It is a brilliant saying, capturing the crucial essence of the commitment that has to be made before taking on a dog (or cat, or rabbit). The slogan is 40 years old, but unfortunately the message still doesn’t get through to everybody. The charity behind the slogan, Dogs Trust, recently revealed that they had 370 requests from people looking to surrender their dog between St. Stephen’s Day and the end of January. That’s ten people every day contacting the centre.
The most common reason cited was lack of time to look after the dog. It’s worth bearing some other things in mind, before you do decide to take on a dog.
- Dogs need regular exercise, not just for their health, but as part of bonding with their owner. It’s important to be able to do this during the week also, even if the weekends are the best time for you to really get them out in park or fields for a good, long walk!
- Do your research. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Each comes with their own challenges and rewards. Is there a particular breed you’re looking at? Do they have any specific health issues you need to be aware of? What is their personality likely to be?
- ‘Adopt, don’t shop,’ as the saying goes. We always love to see people coming in with a newly adopted rescue or shelter dog. There are many wonderful dogs looking for their forever homes being looked after by people in charities such as Dogs Trust, PAWS, TNR West Dublin to mention a few (not forgetting out friends at Lucky’s Cat Rescue who love dogs just as much!) so please bear them in mind when looking for your new pet.
- You will need to bring your new dog to the vet for initial check-up (and vaccinations as required), along with ongoing care and parasite control. As they get older, more regular checkups may be required. If they get sick, and need hospitalisation and treatment, bear in mind that there can be significant costs associated with this. Consider pet insurance to help you with these costs.
- Be prepared to spend time training. You may have a new puppy who is going to be learning from you and taking all their cues from how you look after them, so proper training from the get-go is critical. Alternatively, you may have an adult dog, and they may be nervous, or have some habits you would like to get them out of. Do you have the time to retrain and take on that challenge?
- And remember… it’s not all roses in the garden, all the time. Owning a dog, and being a pet parent, is challenging, with a 24/7 commitment, and patience and kindness are critical to getting off to a good start, and maintaining that through the years. But it’s a tremendously rewarding gift also.
- So, if you’re still keen to take on a dog, great! We hope to help you with their care through your life together.