January 7, 2010 by Marj Hatzell
Puppies are irresistibly cute. They are adorable, clumsy, clownish and sweet. They are also demonic little imps that grow up to be big dogs. If you don’t train them (and they get bigger, untrained) you are totally in for it. Consider this a fair warning: DOGS GET BIGGER. AND THEY GROW FASTER THAN CHILDREN. Therefore, I have compiled a list of the pros and cons of dog ownership. Prepare to be enlightened.
Dogs pee. Puppies need to be housebroken. They pee (and poo) anywhere they want. That means you have to take them outside about every half hour when you first get them. And for the next few weeks. Possibly months. Yes, overnight, too. And sometimes they have accidents. And sometimes they have BIG ACCIDENTS. And sometimes they are a wee bit passive aggressive and squat and pee right in front of house guests. Just sayin’. My best advice? Crate training. BEST. THING. EVER.
Dogs Chew. Puppies will chew on anything. ANYTHING. Paper, carpets, kids’ toys, shoes, brick (?), BRAS AND UNDERWEAR, Christmas ornaments (in secret! Took a week to find out!) and this:
$20 a string, irreplaceable Chili Pepper lights, pulled quietly off the tree. Grrrr…
Dogs bark. They bark if someone rings the doorbell. They bark at the mailman when he delivers the mail, they scare the bejeebus out of the UPS guy (to the point where he leaves packages at the bottom of my steps) and if you live on the corner? They bark at every single human, canine and otherwise that comes within a one hundred foot radius of the yard. You know, because my dogs are vicious attack dogs. Uh huh. And they are going to save us from those SQUIRRELS because SQUIRRELS take acorns! And they’ve got…FANGS! And also? OMGOMGOMG A LEAF FELL OF THE TREE! ALERT! ALERT! Bark collars don’t work. Squirting them with the hose doesn’t work, especially if they are labs and they’re all, “WOOO! HOSE TIME! YEAH!”
Dogs Dig. Some unnamed dogs(AHEM, BRISTOL!) dig gigantic holes in your golf course-like lawn. This annoys people that like golf course-like lawns. The good news is that the ground is pretty frozen at the moment, so she is only digging in the wood chips. And my herb garden. And the middle of the yard. And under the air conditioning unit. And under the rhododendron. And…
Dogs require grooming. As much as cats will clean themselves, dogs will make a half-arsed effort and then act all, “Whut? I clean gud! I clean pawz! Earz are clean!” Especially right after they’ve rolled in, say, garbage. And then they act mortally wounded when you drag them up to the tub to scrub off said offensive odor. They shed (some unnamed dogs, AHEM, SHADOW! Have a double coat and shed twice a year) and need to be brushed often. Dog hair gets in your food, on your clothes and in just about every nook and cranny of your home. Including in your computer. And your toothbrush. They need their nails trimmed oh-so-carefully if they are afraid to walk on concrete (don’t ask).
Dogs need attention. Lots of it. They need to be trained. They need exercise. They need to play. You will spend hours upon hours throwing the same ball to the same spot of the yard and they will act like they’ve never seen it before in all their ten years. They need to be scratched and petted and rubbed and kissed and hugged. Bored dogs are destructive dogs, especially if they have mental conditions. Trust me. Ahem. Puppies need ten times the amount of attention an adult dog needs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Dog food and medical care is expensive. You don’t want to skimp in this area. Good food = healthier dogs = less trips to vet. Unless your dog is born with, say, adrenal disease, and you don’t find out for a few years. But, for the love of all that’s good and holy, DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG OL’ ROY. It’s like bringing your baby up on potato chips. Read about dog nutrition and contents and ingredients. While they don’t need (and should never have) a vegetarian diet, they do need adequate nutrition. Check out dog insurance, preferably when they are a puppy. It may be worth it.
Dogs don’t live that long. Depending on the breed, the average life span for a dog is anywhere from seven to twelve years. Sure, some dogs live longer (and some do not) but it totally sucks when you are at the end of your dog’s life and you know it.
You may find you like dogs more than people. And turn into the crazy dog lady. But if that’s ok with you, file this one in the “pros” column.
Dogs give unintentional love. You can have the craziest day ever and they’re all, “OMG! I LOVE YOU! IT’S SO NICE TO SEE YOU! HI! HI! OMG! I LOVE YOU!” There’s nothing like it. They even love you on your fat days and bad hair days.
Dogs are cheaper than kids. They don’t care about the latest toy, they don’t give a crud about what they are wearing and they don’t need shoes! WIN! $50 of food a month and you are pretty much good to go.
Dogs sleep. A lot. And dream and move their paws and whisper-bark and it’s hysterically funny to watch. It’s super cute. They do not, however, appreciate cameras in their faces when they are being that cute.
Dogs are eternally happy. They have seriously short memories and attention spans. Even if I yell at my dogs, two minutes later they’re all, “MOMMY! HI! HI!” They make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s great for your ego. They never tell you that you look fat, they like everything you wear and they always agree with you.
Dogs are great companions. This is perhaps the best part about dogs. I stay home all day. Sometimes, I get lonely. Not with dogs! You can talk to them, they DO NOT TALK BACK! They clean up every crumb on the floor and always lick their plates clean, UNLIKE YOUR KIDS. They also never, EVER leave their gigantic, freaking work boots in the middle of the floor for their wives to trip over in the middle of the night. Dogs, it turns out, are easier to train than say, CHILDREN and HUSBANDS.
You can spay/neuter dogs. Not only is it responsible pet ownership, but it’s a great thing to do so you don’t wake up one night and find placenta all over your house. It’s also a good idea because when you get male and female dogs together they tend to hump. Even if they are shooting blanks. Just sayin’. If your dog is particularly brain-damaged or weird, it’s ok! They’ll never spread their genes! If only everyone did this…the shelters would be less full, if you know what I mean.
So. Get a dog. Here’s a few that need you: And you need them.