Being a responsible pet owner – Part 2

In my opinion, most people should not even consider keeping a dog at all. Whilst they may look very cute/cuddly/appealing in the pet shop window, there is a huge list of chores that come with them that is seldom alluded to by the seller. The obvious chores, to most people at least, include the mundane daily tasks of feeding, watering and walking. Oh yes, these things do not sound too arduous when you do not have to do them but in my experience, the honeymoon period with your new pet is usually very short lived.

What most people seem to fail to understand, is that the animal will still require these things when the time comes for the family to make their annual pilgrimage to the Costa Brava. With holiday pet care likely to be more expensive than leaving your car at the airport, this additional cost is rarely taken into account by those seeking to get away from it all.

Vets, on the whole, do not work for peanuts and this is another cost which is very often overlooked when faced with those beautiful eyes staring out from the pet shop cage or breeder’s stable. Simple inoculations can cost the same as a family’s household’s weekly food bill whilst cures for simple ailments could adequately feed some third world family for a year. More major operations would run the family car a close second in the amount that should be budgeted for.

Monetary matters aside, there are many other factors which do not appear in the advertising. Hairs all over the carpets and upholstery, the ‘occasional’ accident on the sheepskin rug and the sudden increase in clothing replacement are all things which are seldom thought about before the purchase of a new house-mate. What about noise or other nuisances to your neighbors? Do you really want the bother of finding out how to replace the remote control unit for your television set? If you like to wake up in your own time in the mornings, how will you adjust to being woken up because your new dog works to a different timetable?

Many people acquire dogs because they are pestered into doing so by their offspring. This is not a good ploy. It is not usually the children who willingly volunteer to take the dog out in the pouring rain or, come to that, to toweling the animal dry again so that it does not splatter mud all over the house. It is certainly not the children who have to cope with the increase in the required amount of housework: the sudden escalation in the amount of dusting, cleaning and vacuuming needed.

Whilst in the short term a puppy may appear cheaper than the latest computer games consul, in the long term, an investment in one of these machines will almost certainly be cheaper and will probably hold their attention for far longer.

For the right people, dogs certainly have their place; all I ask, is that you are sure that you are in the right place, mentally and physically, for a dog.

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