From the Editors Desk: If you are considering adopting, good for you! However, before you do so, please consider the responsibilities that come with being the parent to a furry friend.

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“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner 

 

It is a good day to be a Tiger! 

 

I hated dogs. For as long as I can remember I had no patience for dogs and I had even less patience for people that treated their dog like a member of their family. To me, a dog was simple. A dog yelped like an idiot when you walked by the chain link fence beside their home. A dog peed wherever they felt like it and would become terrified by rolling thunder or strangers and leave a smelly wet mess wherever they happened to be. A dog crawled or jumped on top of you, regardless of whether or not you were a complete stranger, and shed it’s old, smelly fur all over your clothes. A dog did not have the sense to defecate outside and as such had no business being indoors. A dog was this creature that rolled around in animal feces and would then proceed to jump on your lap leaving a trail through the house and all over your previously clean clothes and then proceed to lick your face with the same tongue they had employed recently in the disgusting mess they had just finished playing in. They seemed like filthy, chaotic pests with owners that would become irate if you did not regard them with the same level of respect you would give to their human children. 

I did not care for dogs. 

Darby arrived at my home one evening last May. A friend of mine had suggested I adopt the dog from a local breeder. Darby is a Pitbull and it was my understanding that she was the last of her litter and was spending her days at home, alone. Her brothers and sisters having found new families. My friend arrived at my house after a text message telling me that she had a “surprise” for me. Shortly after I opened my front door to see my friend holding a chubby, grey dog with big brown eyes and massive floppy ears. 

It didn’t take long before the large puppy had found itself planted on my lap, taking deep, excited and quick breaths while grinning up at me with her wide, Pitbull grin and I rubbed the back of her ears and she smiled at me with her dopey, long tongue hanging out of the side of her massive mouth. I was in love. I looked at her and thought, “your name is Darby and this is your home”. 

And that is how Darby found her way into our family and I realized I was wrong when it came to dogs. 

Adopting a dog is a huge responsibility, especially if the dog is a puppy. To me, having Darby in our home has been almost the equivalent of having a new toddler in our home. If she disappears for too long I wonder what she’s into. If she doesn’t go to the bathroom outside when we go for a walk I worry she’ll have an accident in the house. She needs shots for diseases. She needed to be spayed. She needs exercise, everyday. Two walks, everyday. She has to have toys to keep her occupied or she will get bored and tear into anything. She needs to be disciplined when she makes a mistake or becomes too aggressive when we’re playing. She has a strict diet to keep her healthy and pretty. She needs snacks to reward her during training and snacks used to keep her teeth clean and keep her dog breath from killing anything she breathes on. 

Most of all, she needs a lot of patience and love. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had a long day and I’m exhausted or it’s too cold or too hot outside or I just don’t want to take care of her. If I want Darby to grow up to be a good dog I have to raise her right, just like a person has to give a child patience and love for them to grow to be good people. 

Often a person will adopt a dog without considering the responsibility involved with adoption and that dog will often end up being mistreated or neglected. Many dogs end up chained or kenneled in a backyard, spending their entire lives, alone and living within the five foot radius of where they are tethered. Aside from being heartbreaking and cruel, this often leads to a dog becoming angry and feral due to neglect and, often, starvation.

The good news is that there are so many rewards from being a good adoptive parent to a dog needing a home. According to research, dog owners lead healthier, less-stressful lives because of their furry friend. I can tell from experience that having Darby has added so much laughter and happiness in our home. Also, there are many non-profit organizations dedicated to helping dog owners manage their pets through discounted or free immunizations, spay and neuter programs and free or discounted doggy behavior classes. 

Sadly, on average only 1 in 10 dogs that find themselves in a shelter will find a forever family and be adopted. It also costs taxpayers around 2 billion dollars a year managing stray dogs in America. Often, a dog that has been placed in a shelter will come from a home where they were abused or mistreated and it will take a special kind of person to help them learn to trust people. By adopting a dog you could be a hero to an animal that would become one of the best friends you’ve ever had.   

If you are considering adopting, good for you! However, before you do so, please consider the responsibilities that come with being the parent to a furry friend.

 

Have a great week!  

 

Mr. Jay

 

OneTeam! One Town! One Family!