Dudley, a cairn terrier, was my first dog as a grown-up. A few days before his arrival, there was a flurry of activity—interviewing vets, pet-sitters, dog-trainers, creating his own spot, buying food, toys and leashes, etc. At that time, I had a job that required a lot of travel–and I wanted to keep his routine as uninterrupted as possible– so I also interviewed house-sitters.
When I mentioned that to someone, she just scoffed and said, “You don’t have to do anything special. Dogs just require affection, nothing more.”
A few years later, someone overheard me making an appointment for Dudley’s dental cleaning. Once again, I heard the scoff–only this person actually tried to ridicule me by not only laughing and telling ME it was a waste of money but also laughing and telling anyone in the office who would listen…my reply to him was, well, I can’t repeat it here.
Bringing a pet (dog or cat) into your environment is just like bringing a baby home–only the pet permanently stays in that toddler phase. (I used to compare my dog, Dudley, to a two-year old). There’s grooming, training, vet visits, medications, good quality food, toys–and that responsibility needs to be taken seriously. And circling back to dental care, that’s not an unnecessary expense; as with humans, the result of neglect can have serious consequences, from tooth decay,cavities and broken teeth to the millions of bacteria invading their hearts.
Many years later another dog, my Westie Baxter, develop a fast-growing cancer at the age of 16. His prognosis was terrible; he had eight weeks at most to live.My single-pointed focus was only to make his last days as comfortable as possible. I constantly bought him acupuncture treatments so his pain could be diminished naturally. Every Saturday he got either a reiki treatment (which he loved) or a massage.
By the last week of his life, even though he couldn’t play, he DID try to pick up his toys.
So here’s the point: Pets aren’t just playthings, they require care. Please think long and hard about if you’re willing or able to take on that responsibility before bringing one home.