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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Ready for Dog Adoption? Timing and Responsibilities Assessment

When our 13 year-old beloved Daisy passed away in Spring 2022, our hearts were broken. As many dog families can relate, her absence made our home feel very cold and empty. It was a busy time for my family, so we could not consider another dog until at least the Fall.

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Right when I started scrolling through the shelters’ web and social media pages for available dogs, I was asked to watch my lovable 10-year old doggie-nephew, Chicho for a week. He was a great dog-very sweet and fun to have around. We didn’t realize how dim our world was until Chicho brought in a special type of light. Chicho was a wonderful teacher because he had accidents, disagreed among us as to who was doing what and when, as well as worried about him getting into our cats’ room. We worked it out. After he was picked up, we felt sadder than expected and the house felt dim again. My sons and I agreed we were ready for another dog. The next day, we went to the shelter.  Five days later, we brought home our beloved Bryce (formerly known as Zax), who was one year old.

There are 6.3 million pets surrendered to the shelter every year and dogs accounted for 3.9 million. Dogs are a lot of work; especially puppies. Like a combination between an infant and a toddler, the puppy period can be very stressful. The shelters do a great job at evaluating whether someone is eligible to adopt and help match them with a dog that fits their preferences and lifestyle. However, they do not specifically assess whether or not they know if it’s the right time of their lives for adoption.

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Evaluating Your Lifestyle and Dedication

 

We adopted our late beloved Daisy as a puppy and she was higher maintenance than my then, 17 month-old twins. Anyone who has ever had a puppy can relate with a slew of puppy mishap stories. For anyone who does not have a dog to borrow or foster, I will break down what it means to be a dog owner. The best way to tell if you are ready to own a dog is to borrow or foster one for a few days to get a real taste of the responsibility.

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Expect When Adopting a Dog to Receive Unconditional Love

 

Their job is to love you. Despite being a great deal of work, they are always there to comfort you. They sense when we are not feeling well or having a bad day and all they want to do is make it better with love.

Expect When Adopting a Dog to Be Dominated by Frequent Bio Breaks

 

Pet parents spend a lot of time talking about their dog’s bio habits. When did they go out last? What did they do?  Then, they think about what they can accomplish until that next walk in the rain. Yards make it easy to just let them go in and out, but being in a situation where they have to be walked all the time requires strategy. And yes, accidents do happen to the best trained dogs.

 

Expect When Adopting a Dog They Need Exercise

 

Breeds vary in the amount of exercise they need; but like humans, all dogs should get at least a walk a day.  They don’t need to become lazy, overweight, and potentially develop health issues. Playing with them in a yard, walks, dog parks, and doggie play dates help them expend their energy and keep them healthy. When they don’t get their exercise, they act out.

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Expect When Adopting a Dog That They Need Care When You’re Not There

 

Dogs are like toddlers that never grow up-someone needs to do everything you do when you are not there.  Thankfully, the pet industry is armed with pet/house sitters (stay at your house when you leave), dog walkers (walks your dog around or lets them out for you), doggie hotels/spas, and some veterinary offices will board for you. 

 

Expect When Adopting a Dog to Consider the Financial Responsibility

 

Everything pet related became inflated during the pandemic and the prices stayed up there.  Even if they don’t have a luxurious life, owning a dog is expensive. Between food, healthcare (annual visits, shots, emergencies, insurance, medication), dog sitters, trainers, toys, and grooming, it’s a running tab.

Expect When Adopting a Dog to Need Training

 

Whether you do it yourself, hire a trainer, or send them to doggie boot camp, they instinctively want to please and need consistency to learn it. They are pretty black and white: either they do it or they don’t and the goal is to teach them how to do it. For everyone’s safety and sanity, they need some training-at least learning the very basics like how to sit, stay, and come to you when called. The amount of training will vary depending on the dog’s needs, issues, and how much you want them to do.  For instance, if you want to train your dog to go off leash, it will require a lot of extra time, energy, and maybe money. 

Expect When Adopting a Dog for Stuff to Get Destroyed 

 

They bond and get attached to you and then they trash your stuff. They do it because they might be confusing your stuff for their stuff or angry/anxious because they can’t be with you.  Dogs need to chew on stuff, so they need their own chew toys (bones, bully sticks) or else your stuff will become the chew toy, like the bottom of my stairs shown above. 

Let's Check in With You

 

Are you ready to adopt a dog?  If YES, how do you know you are ready?

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