Your new ball of fur
Your new ball of fur
You did it. You took the plunge or are contemplating taking the plunge to add a new ball of fur to your household. Congratulations, you will never have a more loyal friend. But with that friendship comes great responsibility one that should not be taken lightly.
Most people don’t realize that having a puppy or in some cases an adult dog is like having a 2 year old. Animals require a great deal of attention and extensive babysitting. Please don’t think I’m here to scare you away, it’s actually quite the opposite.
I am an animal lover, rescuer and 4 legged foster parent. If it were up to my oldest son and me we would have a menagerie of animals. Unfortunately neither of our lifestyles can accommodate those dreams so in the interim we adopt those that we cannot bear to be without and rescue/foster/rehome the others, but enough of that it’s time to move on with puppy love 101.
Here are a few things to take into consideration before diving into adopting:
- To kennel or not to kennel, that’s the million dollar question. Some say it’s cruel, I beg to differ. I have fostered many puppies that use their kennel as a fortress of solitude. Whether it’s to fend off a scary storm or merely to get a break from all the hustle and bustle in the house they will retreat to the sanctity of their kennels for solace.
Another positive to kenneling is to reduce the amount of destruction during the housebreaking phase. Trust me, you and your bundle of fur will both be happier when you come home to your house looking the same way as it did when you left.
- Invest in toys – you will not regret this. They will have their goodies and you will be able to keep yours safe and sound but beware of toys that have small pieces that can break off as they will be ingested and could become entwined in their intestines. Sometimes it’s hit or miss with this as mine have eaten entire toys but luckily they always seem to pass them making for some very colorful yard clean up.
- Exercise – exercise for them is just as important as it is for us. I highly recommend researching the breed before adopting. Some breeds require more exercise than others which may not fit well with your lifestyle.
- What to feed – organic vs non-organic. Do your research and make sure the food you choose isn’t full of fillers and that the “meat” they use is listed first in the ingredients. Many of the pet food manufacturers offer samples and coupons for signing up for their email lists. You can always opt out of the emails later if you so choose.
- Bedding – bedding is a must. Try to find bedding that isn’t easily destroyed because trust me, if they can they will. Many do so trying to burrow so finding something sealed up tight as Fort Knox could prove challenging.
- Leashes – leashes/collars are not meant to be toys. They will chew on them, compromising their integrity and this could cause them to snap when you are out and about allowing your dog to escape. This isn’t good for either of you so please keep leashes and collars tucked away safely when at home.
- Anxieties – what many don’t realize is that animals, dogs in particular, suffer from the same anxieties that we do and they feed off our sorrows and fears. I have fostered dogs with separation anxiety as well as those that have been through tremendous hardships so the slightest elevation in your voice can send them into panic mode much as it will with children.
- Last but not least, treats – treats are a great training tool when used in moderation, but be careful not to give any with hard pieces that can break off. I have seen dogs choke on chunks that don’t dissolve as well as requiring surgery to remove pieces lodged in their intestines. It’s a scary situation not only for the dog but for you as well and can be a costly learning experience.
Nothing makes me happier than finding a home for a 4 legged lost soul, but it’s extremely important that the new home be the right fit for the human as well. It’s heartbreaking for a dog to be taken from their home and placed in a shelter. You can see the anguish on their faces when they think they’ve just gone for a ride but instead are forced to watch their family and the life they knew walk away, leaving them behind.
In closing please make sure you’re prepared to take on this new life force and in doing so you will have no regrets. This soul will love you unconditionally for the throughout their short life.
Remember – Adopt don’t shop and you will be saving a life.