I’ve never owned or cared for a pet other than a goldfish. That’s right: no cats, no dogs.
My husband wants a dog.
At first, I was 100% against the idea. Having a dog in my house sounded gross. It would track in dirt, of course. Anyone who has a dog has a dirty house, I thought. I don’t want my nice floor getting scratched and my couch and carpet getting stained. Pet accidents? I am NOT interested in cleaning that up.
But over the past year or two, I’ve softened up a lot. I will see dogs and think they look so cute and fun.
And I’ve started to take something else into consideration. You’ve probably heard the studies that say having a pet can lower stress. I imagine taking the dog to the park and running around, getting exercise and having a ton of fun. I can definitely see how that would lower stress, which sounds great. Having a dog could be fun!
But then, as per usual, I dwell on the negatives. I think of the commitment. It’s almost like having a kid. If we wanted to go on a long trip? We can’t–the dog. What if we wanted to go away for a weekend? We’d have to put it in a kennel, which is expensive. Speaking of expenses–health care. What if it gets really sick and we are faced with the decision of spending thousands of dollars to make it better or……not? I would never be able to forgive myself if I had to place money above a beloved pet, but it could happen. It sounds heartless, but there is a limit to what I can afford.
And getting a dog also means you are setting yourself up for a crushing loss. Some day, the dog is going to die. Morbid, but true. My friend just lost her dog and is devastated. I can’t even imagine the pain. But then again, they say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all….right? Or am I better off avoiding the pain?
And, if I’m being honest, I’m not a very flexible person. When something messes up my plans, it really bugs me. Having a pet means a lot of unpredictability. But on the other hand, maybe that’s good for me?
The loss of freedom bothers me a lot. I don’t want to have to worry about getting home at a certain time to let out the dog or feed it. I don’t like commitment.
Then I think, maybe it’s worth it? A lot of people seem to get a lot of joy out of having a dog. It would take some adjusting, but maybe I’d love it. What do you think I should do? Should I get a dog?
Read the follow-up: My First Experience Caring for a Dog
You touched on all of the classic pros and cons for dog ownership. What i didn’t hear is what your husband wants to do with a dog, and his vision of/participation in the care/exercising/costs/travel solutions. You have every right to accept your lukewarm interest, and insist on a negotiated plan. Perhaps your husband could volunteer at a shelter or find another opportunity to get a dog “fix.”
I’m a HSP, and I love love love having a dog. Yes it is commitment with getting home but they are so wonderful. I love spending time with my Silky terrier. It makes life fun to see her and her antics, makes me laugh. I’m not going to lie, having a puppy can be stressful with the housebreaking and such and the puppy energy but if you do your homework, you can find a calm dog. I recommend getting a dog through a rescue. If you get an older dog, you will already know their personality: if they are hyper active or calm. Go for the calm dog. I recommend lap dogs because then you can really cuddle with them. It calms you down. If you have allergies, you would like something that does not shed. i.e. Silky terriers (that’s what I have), poodles, bichon frises, portugese water dogs, yorkies, cotton de tulear, shit tau, lhasa also, bedlington terriers. There are other breeds out there that can be a good fit for you. I don’t think you will regret it. My father was like you regarding a dog. I brought one home because I was going through tough times mentally and he unwillingly allowed me to bring him into his home. He fell in love with my spaniel and when I found my own place but father asked if he could keep him. They are a great match together! Buddies for life. Good luck to you and your decision.
Thanks Caroline! I am gravitating towards older dogs for the reasons you mentioned–they are more chill and you know what you are getting. Puppies are adorable, but I don’t want to deal with training, accidents, chewing, etc. We are going to some adoption events this weekend and I’m excited. I hope we can find a dog to foster. I think that would be a good first step to see if I like it. Thanks again for your comment, it makes me look forward to trying life with a dog!
That is a great idea Kelly!!! You know, f there is a particular breed that you and your husband are interested in, you can always type in their breed name and tons of breed rescues are available. For example: American Brittany Rescue (They only rescue brittany spaniels across the US and Canada), Bombshell Bullies (only pit bulls), Carolina Poodle Rescue (only poodles in North and South Carolina). They have foster families that take care of the dog and then you can really determine what the dog is like in a home setting (what he is afraid of, if he is housebroken) Good luck Kelly! Hope this information helped!
I am highly sensitive person. I lost my JoJo just 14 days back and I blame myself. I don’t know how to deal with this feeling. I feel i should never get another.
I should hv left the world with him.
I am HSP (extremely) and grew up with dogs, cats, bunnies, ponies, you name it. But I’m a dog person. Your caution is wise. Not everyone is cut out for dog ownership/parenting. When my 15 yr old boxer/terrier mix I had raised and trained from 8 weeks old (my Einstein–smartest dog ever, scary smart) was euthenized and mom thought it would be good for me to see her afterward…I could not handle it and had my first heart attack from stress (diagnosed as such) right there in the vet’s office. I felt so bad for the people in the waiting room seeing me rolled out to an ambulance (I had empathy for them while having a heart attack, of course).
It took me 8 months but I went to the SPCA shelter after searching Petfinder.com for MONTHS looking for the right dog. I know dogs, habits, personality, energy levels and can understand how their minds work and knew I would know it when I found her.
When I met Princess, a 6 yr old Lab mix (think German Shepard and Golden Retriever in there too) she was timid, shy, underweight from recovering from Heartworm treatment which is painful for them and makes them sick, like chemo, but she was sweet. Her tail wag after 15 minutes was the sign. She would not come when called, the noises of the barking dogs made her curl up.
I found an HSP dog! but didn’t know it at the time. 6 years later, the most well-behaved, sweet, loving and gentle dog you could even know is my best friend. I know she won’t be around much longer, but I know now to not see her after she is gone. And I know I’ll go get another dog a few weeks or months later. I just can’t see life as sun or bearable without my dog at my side. But that’s me.
Yes, Princess has medical needs, I give her daily pain pills for her bone spur on her back and her arthritis and Dasuquin chewies for her arthritis and milk thistle and SAM-e for her chronic hepatitis, but she’s fine! and she’s more of a puppy now than she ever was at first–took her a year to come out of her shell, so rewarding to see her blossom.
I highly recommend an older, already housetrained, gentle dog who is obedient and mindful of you. Size is only an issue of space–I have a queen size bed 🙂 Princess is 78 lbs of golden fur that sheds. Take that into account too. My boxer/terrier barely shed at all.
Talk to the people at shelters and fosters, they have wisdom from years of dealing with this–and they are glad to match people with the right fit–they don’t want the dogs coming back to them either.
Good luck! May you soon know the joys of that wet nose pushing up your arm when they want something from you 🙂
Hi Kim! What a wonderful comment. I had to smile when you said you felt bad for OTHER people when you had a heart attack! Typical HSP behavior, right? We have been fostering a dog for the past week and I commented to my husband that she’s an HSP dog because she get easily overwhelmed by a lot of things going on around her. Heh heh. 🙂 I still don’t know if I want a dog because the permanence of it scares me, but I have definitely enjoyed it this past week. I hope you and your 78 pounds of golden fur have many more happy days together. 🙂
I’m sure you’ve already made your decision by now, but I can definitely relate to your situation. Though I have always been a huge dog/animal LOVER, I’m also not a naturally flexible person and was very stressed out by the commitment of having a dog. But when an adorable (and calm 🙂 – for a puppy) shih tzu puppy fell into me and my fiancé’s lap for free, we simply couldn’t resist. Despite the work/commitment it’s been, I have to say that having a puppy has not only added more fun and love to my life, but it has forced me to face my inflexibility and anxiety issues head on, and grow. Of course, having a dog isn’t for everyone, but I thought I’d put my two cents in since I related to so much of what you said 🙂 Good luck with your decision, whatever it may be!
Two years ago, I didn’t think that I had a dog. At present, I am feeding a pet, it is a cute dog. In the morning, I sometimes walk around the park with my dog. I always confide in my dog. He is the best friend.