Adopting a Shelter Dog
A great way to surprise your kids with a new pet, while still letting them be involved in choosing is with a cute little basket of first-time pet owner items.
Good things to add to the basket are:
• how-to books geared towards your child’s age
• food and water dishes
• grooming essentials
• collar and leash
• food and treats
• homemade dog treats
Need some convincing about getting a dog. Here are some pros and cons that might help you weigh your options.
1. Love! Your dog will love you unconditionally, no matter your mood, no matter your attire, no matter everything. It’s nice to come home to all that love.
2. Sleep! Dogs sleep a lot, unlike babies like everyone falsely tells you. They also have hilarious dream activity that is adorable.
3.Companionship! They are great companions for adults and kids. They are always there for you.
4. Built-in Babysitter! Not that you should leave your kids alone with your dog ever, but they do make a great buddy for them to play with and wear each other out. Contact with a dog is far healthier than constant contact with electronics like iPads and cell phones.
5. Anti-Burglar! Homes with dogs are less likely to get broken into than homes without. You shouldn't rely on your dog as your only means to save you from a burglary, but it’s a nice assurance sometimes that they’ll hear something before you might.
6. Responsibility! Having the kids be in charge of feeding/water, walking, cleaning up the mess, etc. is a great way for a child to learn responsibility. However you may find that you need to keep on top of them to make sure the job gets done so this could go in the cons column as well. You know your kids better, you decide.
1. House training! A puppy means pee and poop everywhere for at least the first few weeks, maybe even months. A lot of upfront attention from you to get them trained so that the peeing and pooping indoors doesn’t last forever. Fortunately there are many inexpensive house training aids available to make the job easier and less messy. Check your local pet store.
2. Chewing! Puppies, and some puppies more than others, chew everything in sight. Shoes, furniture, toys, underwear, etc. Costing more money to replace these ruined items can be avoided by providing your new puppy with plenty of chew toys and chew sticks/rawhide.
3. Barking! If you have little ones, they bark the second you get them napping. Some bark at the strangest things, my parents’ dog barks if you turn the ceiling fan on while she’s in the room. Barking at people, animals, vehicles, you name it. Again, working with your dog and possibly investing in a pupping training class can go a long way in helping to correct inappropriate barking.
4. Digging! Ah ,another lovely quality some dogs have. Mine digs up the mole tracks through our backyard. Others dig under fences leading to their escape. Some dig up your hard work in the garden. Some dogs will out grow this, others will need to be kept away from the tempting areas they want to dig in.
5. Grooming! Another expense. Some shed like crazy resulting in more work because you now have to vacuum and lint roll everything in sight. Others have nails that grow ridiculously long and good luck having one that tolerates you trimming their nails. Add in the extra time to keep them brushed too. Choosing the right breed of dog for your available time can cut back on this tremendously.
6. Expenses. The cost of food, vet visits, shots, spaying/neutering, boarding if you need to go out of town, and the unnecessary necessities like toys and dog beds can add up.
7. Allergies! Some kids or adults might be allergic to certain breeds of dogs. It’s all about the dander. Be sure before you bring your dog home that no one in your household is allergic. Nothing is sadder for a loving shelter dog to find a forever home, only to be returned because a family member is allergic.
Deciding pro-dog? Here are some great Dog Names to get you started.
Going with a cat, here's my version of a kitty-friendly announcement basket.