I share my home with
three dogs: two bully-breed dogs, an American Bulldog named GatorX (our beloved site mascot and my best
friend) and a pitbull/whippet mix named Sadie; and a crazy Boston Terrier named Carlton. He's a poopoo eater.
That's another page.
I am so thankful for them.
They spend every hour of the day with me most days, and I wouldn't feel so safe in my home without the larger two. Because
I've had a dog or dogs since 2000 and raised them as trained, indoor animals, I've learned quite a bit about training them,
their history, and what decent foods are. By decent foods I not only mean quality, but also foods that are
worth their price per pound. I'll be adding to this page as much as I can.
Also worth sharing is that I've travelled cross-country
with GatorX due to a military move, and I'd like to share what helped me get through the ordeal with most of my sanity.
You Want a Puppy?
Ya' sure? They sure are a great deal of work.
In fact, they're so much work that more dogs are euthanized in shelters today than are adopted out. We find them free
or buy them from a breeder as puppies and often are overwhelmed by the responsibility of training a baby animal successfully,
so much so that we put them out back in the yard. Months later we realize we don't pay attention to it so we either
give it away or take it to a shelter.
And don't think that purebreed puppies
have it any easier; twenty-five percent of the dogs in shelters today are AKC purebred dogs. Personally, I
wouldn't buy a purebred AKC dog because I do not agree with the paper monetary kickback system. Look what it's
done to English Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels. Those health problems speak for themselves. But, I digress.
This is about those of you who really want to think about the situation before you put yourselves in it.
There are things to consider before you
you have the time to spend with a puppy?
It will need
constant supervision when it's out of its crate or roaming free in your house. Getting a puppy and putting it outdoors
without another dog for company is unthinkable. The loneliness it will experience cannot be described in human terms.
They are pack animals. To put one in a solitary situation is to condemn it to a life of boredom and mental anguish.
It's best to get a puppy when a family
member will be home for much of the day or you can find a neighbor to puppysit for you. We got GatorX in August, but
since I stayed home it worked out wonderfully.
Do you have the patience to housetrain a puppy?
Even with the best of dogs there are going to be accidents. This, after all, is a baby
animal who is being trained to think of your house as a giant den and therefore off pooping limits. It's going to take
time and the right tools and techniques. Are you prepared to get out the steam cleaner or the enzymatic neutralizer
when you find its mistakes? Will you be able to resist rubbing your puppy's face in it? (definitely not the thing to
do as it may encourage coprophagia)
Do you have the room for how big the puppy will be
when it's full-grown?
If you aren't terribly active and don't have
a big back yard for ypur puppy to run in when it's reached adulthood, then chances are you aren't going to be happy with your
dog's behavior. Dogs need room. You wouldn't believe how much smaller our livingroom seems from GatorX and Sadie
lying on the floor. Think ahead. Get a low energy level dog like a Bassett Hound or better yet, an older dog from
have the funds to provide for a puppy or dog?
There will be vet visits,
shots, heartworm medication, food, registration, hopefully a neutering or spaying, and maybe even training sessions at your
local pet center. Are you prepared to care for this animal for about ten years? If not, take a step back and ask
yourself why you want a puppy.
It will grow into a dog, a dog that will require grooming,
exercise, medical attention, and most of all, your companionship. This is the time to ask yourself if you are really
ready to take this step. The time is before you bring it home and discover after two or three months that it's
not what you wanted, to care for an animal every day, an animal that needs much, much more than a cat.
Or, do you think it would be more feasible
to adopt an older dog?
Maybe a puppy would be too much for you but
an older dog wouldn't. It would be a less likely to race through the house and might be easier to train. While
there might be more vet bills if the animal is an abuse case, you'd be giving a living creature a second chance, one whose
rewards can't be counted. Our Sadie is a second-hand dog, and her fierce loyalty to us is almost startling. She
is completely devoted to our family. Because of her, I've pondered the capability of a dog to be grateful, truly grateful,
for a permanent home after being turned out.
There are possible drawbacks such as not knowing the
dog's history of aggression or its idiosyncrasies, but these things can be determined with the help of a good trainer.
If you find after thinking about what's entailed that you really aren't ready for a
dog then I think you're a wonderful person for realizing it. But, if you find yourself
thinking of the wonderful reward that a well-raised and cherished dog can bring to your and possibly your family's lives,
then by all means, do what people have been doing for years. Go out and bring home a friend.