It has taken a lot of time and energy to decide if I should bring a puppy into my home and heart. As a dog trainer and walker I have helped raise plenty of puppies. I have given advice and lent a supportive ear when things are hard. I have also seen people pick and choose which parts of raising a dog to pay attention to, sometimes unintentionally. While oversights aren’t always that detrimental for the pups, sometimes they are. I had to look at my current life and ask myself a lot of questions.
Questions included debates on finances and time. Who would be willing to help when I need them to? Moving, since my current residence won’t take animals under a year old. Questions on my cat’s feelings, my boyfriends feeling, my own feelings! I strongly believe it isn’t fair to bring an animal home unless you are physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared!
Physically prepared can mean a few things. Financial stability to buy, vet and feed the animal – and to take care of any unforeseen emergencies, trust me these come up. Having a puppy set up – crates, xpens, harnesses, leashes, bowls, food, chews, toys – and those are all plural on purpose. This also means having the time! I will be taking at least one week off work to get puppy acclimated. After that, my schedule will be intense and modified to accommodate the puppy’s needs for months to come. For me, I have the added physical need of moving! Thankfully, these are easy things to put in a list and check off before puppy arrives.
Mentally prepared. Wowzer, puppies are hard work! They are baby animals, they cry and scream and demand attention. They need to pee every 30-90 minutes for the first few months. Most don’t sleep through the night and need to eat 3+ times a day. This all seems semi horrible to me, but also fun and worth it.
Being emotionally prepared was (and is) my biggest concern. In the past year I have had a lot of loss. I went from a household full of animals down to just one precious kitten. After living with an extremely reactive dog for years I am hyper sensitive and terrified of all the things that can go wrong. I’m scared I’ll ruin my puppy, I’m scared the world will ruin my puppy and I will fail to keep her safe. I’m scared I won’t live up to my own expectations as this puppy’s human.
Ultimately I have said, “YES!” to a puppy and I couldn’t be more excited.