As all of you probably know, for about two and a half years now I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being a Dog Mom to a wonderful, small ball of fuzzy joy named Mona. She is the perfect dog for me: incredibly loving, playful, good with new people, independent, and a great traveler. I lived in New York for about a year and a half before I decided to get a dog, despite wanting one since the day I left my parents’ home (and therefore my family dog). I’ve always had them growing up, and cannot overstate the degree to which they have always enriched and warmed my life. But one must be very settled in their life, and certain of their capacity to give to an animal, before they get one.
It’s a personal choice (animals are not gifts), and must be based on an intimate understanding about one’s own life, finances, and habits. Pets, particularly dogs, are not cheap on a day-to-day basis, and even adopting them (the only way you should get them!) is by no means free. We got Mona from a family in Queens whose family Havanese-Maltese mix was accidentally knocked up by their neighbor’s dog. Because of all the unexpected medical expenses and the complicated birth that required surgery on the mom, just to recoup costs each dog had to be sold for several hundred dollars — and that is far from an uncommon experience.
And while I do not for a minute regret our decision to get her, we are also fairly uniquely equipped to raise her, and she is a type of dog particularly well-suited to city life. She’s eight pounds and very happy with one walk a day, and is trained to use an indoor pad or go outside, depending on timing and weather. And I have a home office, and while Marc travels several days a week, the other days he works from home. We have never had to have a dog walker or day care because we’re almost always around to take care of her, and we are luckily surrounded by people who are happy to take her if we cannot take her somewhere when we travel. (But when we can travel, she’s great in her little carrier.) The point is, not everyone has this kind of situation when they get a dog (especially in a city), and not being ready for an animal can easily mean an anxious or depressed animal who acts out, as well as a constant feeling of guilt about not giving them exactly what we need. New York City, for example, is a city full of dogs who are way too big and energetic for the apartments that contain them, and are constantly stressed from being separated from 9 to 6 every workday from their owner.
If you are thinking of getting an animal, there is a lot to consider, not the least of which that a dog is far from your only option. So in this week’s video, Lauren sat down with Jessi Knudsen, founder of Animal Wonders, to talk about everything one should know before getting a pet, from the finances to the logistics to the day-to-day love.
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