Recently, there’s been a surge in dog adoptions, presumably due to social distancing measures. The reasoning being, what better time to raise a puppy or acclimate a new dog into your life than when you’re home 24/7? Before I got my own dog, I was jumping at the chance to spend time with my friends’ pups. Even the most rambunctious of dogs didn’t phase me–I was happy to play fetch, walk, or train alongside my dog-owning friends. Do you find yourself turning to check out every dog that walks down the street? (A trend I just found out is called puppernecking). Then you might think it’s time for your own — but adopting a dog is a big decision.
As tempting as it can be to jump on the adoption trend, it’s important to consider what life will look like for your new friend after social-distancing ends. Here are five signs you’re ready to take on the commitment (and love!) of a dog.
You considered adopting a dog before social-distancing.
If you find yourself thinking about adopting a dog for the first time now that you’re social distancing at home, consider that loneliness or boredom may be driving your thought process. However, if you’ve been considering dog adoption for months or even years, it’s natural that now might seem like a great time to take action.
Your life is relatively stable.
With a pandemic going on, your life may not feel super stable right now. But dogs need routine, so consider the following questions to judge if you can offer some stability. Do you know where you’ll be living over the course of the next year? Is your income steady? Are you frequently traveling? Are you able to afford unexpected veterinary costs?
You’re excited by the thought of getting up early to walk your new friend
You don’t have to be a morning person to be a good dog owner, but you do need to be open to making extra room in your routines. Dogs need walks in the morning and throughout the day. Does that extra time spent during your daily routine excite you or frustrate you?
You’ve already discussed the potential of a dog.
It can be tempting to just think about why a dog is perfect for your life, but it’s also imperative that you consider how a dog will impact the people around you. If you live with roommates, are they okay with you owning a dog? While the responsibility will primarily fall on you, it’s more than possible that your new friend may bark, have an accident, or tear up furniture while you’re away and your roommates are home. If you have a significant other, is their apartment pet-friendly? If not, what is the plan for your pup while you visit your significant other? If you’re set on being a dog parent, it’s crucial to chat through these logistics so there are no surprises down the road.
You know some things are replaceable–but a dog isn’t.
It is important to recognize that while wrecked furniture or chewed up shoes are replaceable, your dog simply isn’t. You know that you wouldn’t bring a dog back to a shelter for misbehaving or creating disruption in your life and that mistakes will happen. You’re there to teach your dog along the way.
Although adopting a dog may sound like a great idea right now, be sure to think through such a serious commitment logically. If the above signs apply, it sounds like you’re ready to welcome a new friend into your home! If not, think fairly about what you can and cannot provide for a dog. You can still support dogs and other pets who may need homes by donating to animal shelters or rescue groups like the ASPCA, the Humane Society, or Best Friends.
Simplicity Bryan is deeply entrenched in the worlds of self-help, gratitude, personal finance, and organization. She’s happiest paddleboarding with her pup and storytelling with a purpose. You can follow her here.
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