Are you ready for a dog? Everyone is going to say no. I’m not saying no. I adopted a dog four years ago as a doe-eyed, fresh out of college millennial and have zero regrets. However, before you jet over to the nearest shelter, I urge you to read through the following questions and answer honestly. You’ll be oh-so-happy to prove your family wrong when you find your furry soul mate. BUT, first we need to make sure that you will in fact prove them wrong…
First things first, think about your life for the next 10-15 years. Does the addition of a dog interfere with this plan? Are you a free-spirited nomad that feels super grounded and at peace today, but will be ready for a two year Peace Corps stint in a week? When you get a dog, you can’t say, “never mind”; it’s you and your fur baby ‘til the end.
Where do you live? Will your current landlord be down for a dog? Does your lease end soon? Will you be looking for a new apartment? How hard is it to find a dog-friendly apartment in your area? Do you own your own house? (Already? Bravo!) Is there lawn space for your new pup to get exercise? If not, are there nearby trails or parks? An under-exercised dog is a mad dog, or fat, or both. Don’t let that happen.
Where will your dog be while you’re at work? Is your office dog-friendly? If you get a puppy they need to pee alllllll the time. Does your schedule allow for constant dog duty? If you get an older dog, chances are you’ll have some housebreaking to do regardless of their training history. Moving will be stressful for your pup, so accidents are bound to happen for a bit. If you can’t bring your dog to work, and you don’t work from home, are you going to pay for doggy daycare? Hopefully you make more money than me.
Do you have a friend and/or family member that will be your rock for pup sitting? Do they actually “not mind”? This is key! Unless you can pay for doggy daycare overnights, you’re going to need someone to watch your pup when you’re away. Unless, of course, you don’t like vacation, in which case I beg the question: DO YOU HAVE A SOUL? Anyways… You enjoy and need vacation. So, think of someone who:
A. loves dogs
B. is thinking about getting a dog of their own and wants to face reality
C. is willing to trade goods/services
Are you still saying yes?!
Ok, fine, you’re ready for a dog. But for goodness sake, rescue one. Pure breeds have way more health issues anyway.
Which leads me to my next point…
Do your research! Dog breeds are HUGELY different. Their activity level, temperament, health issues etc. vary from breed to breed. For example, if you’re a couch potato, getting a dog with any trace of Collie in it is going to be hell for you both.
Once you’ve done your research and have some breeds in mind, head over to the shelter. But be strong. Don’t just fall in love at first sight and say yes immediately. Take the dog for a walk for the full time allowed. Try to get a sense of their temperament and training/behavior. Ask the workers who directly interact with the dogs daily what this dog is like, and with no sugar coating! What’s the dog’s health record? Where is it from? What do they know about the mom and dad? What vaccines does it have? What does it need? Is it spayed/neutered/microchipped? Get the facts! Observe. Think about your life in the next 10-15 years…Adopt.
So that’s that! Just a couple things to think about. HA! In all seriousness, it is a big decision, but your life will truly be enriched if you are indeed ready for a dog. And, after reading through this post, you should have a pretty good idea.
In closing, I’ll leave you with your first tip for millennial dog ownership success: rather than kissing your money goodbye with pet insurance, set up your own little “pet insurance” by opening a folder in your savings account. Throw $100 (or however much your budget allows) in it a month. This will cover you and your new dog if he/she has some freak accident. But – knock on wood – if you never need it, you can actually see the money again. And head on an epic vacation.