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Why I Do Not Own a Dog

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It is not because I dislike dogs. It is not because I am scared of dogs. It isn’t even because I hate picking up poop. After all, some of the pets I do have make bigger piles of poop than dogs. It is because I have considered whether or not a dog fits into my lifestyle, and found that it does not. This is something people should consider for themselves before getting a dog, or pet of any kind.

I currently own six cats(all spayed or neutered of course), a donkey, miniature horse, llama, 13 sheep, 3 pigeons, my husband keeps pheasants, and has some smaller reptiles in the house. With all the pets we do have it might surprise most people that we do not have a dog.

Dogs are not like cats. You cannot leave a dog at home while you go out all day, and stay out all night (not that I do anymore, I am too old for that). A cat will not pester you for constant patting and attention if you really don’t feel like it.  Even the outside animals I can leave for a while if I have to, as long as they have water.

Photo by Author.i-do-not-own-dog

I have a needy pet, and it is not a dog. The needy pet I currently have is a donkey. She is about as needy of an animal as I can tolerate at this point in my life. If you have ever owned a donkey, you know what I mean. That and the occasional lamb that needs bottle feeding.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. I especially love grooming dogs, making them look nice and feel good. I use to work at an SPCA, I started as a volunteer. One thing I noted was that while so many volunteers would walk the dogs, few would groom them. Many of the dogs were the longer haired shaggy variety, often Border Collie crosses, in need of attention. I would spend hours grooming the shelter dogs, in addition to walking them, helping them look better so hopefully they would get adopted.

I foster cared a very special Sheltie dog who needed to learn that life was not so bad after living in a truck for several months. I also foster cared a litter of 5 orphaned Rottweiler puppies. Although rewarding, it was a lot of work, two or three puppies, would have been better.

So, yes, I love dogs.

But…

I do not own one.

Many people get dogs because they love them and what a pet. Sadly many dogs are obtained on a whim, as a cute puppy seen in the pet store window and brought home because it was so darn “cute”.

Absolutely puppies are cute, no doubt about it, the problem is that most people forget that puppies grow into adult dogs.

Most people forget, or neglect, to help the dog learn how to grow into being a good dog. Sadly millions of dogs who were once loved, wanted, puppies, are abandoned as adult dogs, surrendered to the shelter because they became “unruly”, or grew too big.

I do not want to own a dog because I do not want to accept the responsibility for a life that I cannot provide a forever home to. Some animals, such as horses are frequently passed from home to home, and adjust relatively well, even cats do alright as they tend to bond to places rather than to people. I might inject here that 2 of our cats where left here when the previous owner moved out.

Dogs bond to people, and although they do accept being rehomed it is truly unfair to do so to them for the simple reason of getting a pet that a person fully was not prepared for. A dog is one of those animals I feel that should be kept in the same home, with the same owner, from the time it is weaned to the time it dies.

art-my-dog

Art by Author

I cannot afford a 15 year emotional commitment to a dog. I cannot afford the time to take it to obedience lessons, which I feel are very important, but are also a 1 hour drive away from my home in the country. Although I know how to train dogs, I also feel they benefit from learning in a class with the distraction of other dogs, and it allows for proper socialization.

If you, or somebody you know, are considering getting a dog, do your research first. Find out the traits of the breed, good and bad. Decide if you can financially afford a dog, and if one fits into your lifestyle. Decide if you can take the time to train it and meet its mental needs for attention. Failure to meet the needs of some of the more intelligent breeds will mean your house will be destroyed in a short period of time. Look at a lot of dogs, look at a lot of breeds. And ask yourself, “Why do I really want a dog?”. If the answer is anything other than “Because I can give it a good, forever, home.”, maybe you need to rethink getting a dog. There are plenty of easier pets out there.

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