Q & A No. 8, New Experiences & New Decisions
We often hear about a friend or a neighbor who just got a new puppy because they love the breed, or the parent who gave their kids a puppy for the holidays. The are all too often stories that end in the dog having behavior issues or even being left at a shelter. This may be because people don’t always think through the whole process of having a dog. Or it may be because the perspective family is looking for a puppy and not a full grown dog. For this reason, I’d like to go over a few notable considerations that I ran through with my family (Billie included) before adopting Frankie.
First, it’s important that I mention Frankie’s future job and why I began looking for a second dog in the first place. Billie is my service dog and she is reaching the age of retirement. This means that I will need to have another service dog who can take over for her when she does retire. And that’s where Frankie comes in. She is beginning her job training this year as Billie’s intern.
When I found Frankie, I knew that I needed a dog with the right level of intelligence as well as several other important attributes (eg. the right size for the harness, a tendency to bond with only one or two people, etc). Yes, this did lead me towards certain breeds. But that was less important than the specific attributes that I was looking for. I also knew that I wanted a female dog because of their higher tendency towards proper impulse control. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I knew that I needed to consider what age range would work for me. Her age, not mine. I knew that this would not be my first dog, nor would it be my first experience training a dog. I carefully analyzed this and other factors that would affect my life and the lives of my friends and family. How would a 6 month old puppy affect Billie and my mom (Who is my main supporter and “roommate”)? How would this affect my work and studies? What would the costs and training needs be? How would I need to adapt my home to suit everyone involved?
There are so many factors that go into adopting a new companion. That doesn’t mean you should just forget about it and buy a digipet instead. When you find the right dog, everything just seems to fit. Like children, they can be very frustrating and time consuming. But when you love the crazy little creature… There’s just no comparison to having a furry little sidekick, or two. I just want to encourage everyone to please don’t rush into this without thinking things through.