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Getting a dog… July 30, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in pets.
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Shortly after we got Gigadog, I started to wonder if I should get another pup so that she’d have some non-human companionship.  I started searching the rescue sites and found a wonderful little pup.  After inquiring about the pup, I found out that it belonged to a family with a special needs child who said they didn’t have time to care for it because they were leaving town quite often.

I seriously considered it, but after talking with Mike, we decided that puppy day care might work better than getting another dog.  The person implored me to come and meet the dog, but I let her know it wouldn’t work.

A couple days ago, I found the pup on petfinder.  The dog had been placed with a new rescue along with a warning that it shouldn’t go into a house with kids.

I’d honestly been feeling bad that I couldn’t bring the pup home with us, but now I’m more relieved.  I know it may be a matter of training, but it would have broken my heart if I’d brought home a dog I’d have to give up.  And I would have been livid if I’d ended up with a dog that would have gone after my kids!  So, to be honest, I was a little angry with the person who originally talked to me about the dog because they failed to mention any aggression issues with children.

A lot of people were asking my why I spent so much money on a purebred dog rather than going with a rescue dog.  I did seriously consider it.  However, I’ve rescued and even fostered cats before, and I know that getting an animal from that situation can be difficult.  I’ve had to return and even put down animals before because of behavioral problems that I couldn’t deal with.  It’s really a heart-wrenching experience.  I knew that I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to deal with a dog that would probably have some behavior issues…especially one that would be over 100 lbs.  And there’s no question…if it’s a choice between my kids and my pets, my kids have to come first.

On the other hand, you’re in a similar situation if you don’t research breeders well.  When I was looking for Gigadog, I almost went with another breeder.  Fortunately, I’d read lots of advice and found out about the OFA online database.  This particular breeder was not currently testing her animals, and the last ones she had tested all showed poor hips and elbows.  For a Newfoundland dog, that means she’s probably breeding animals that are not going to be healthy and spend a great deal of their life in pain.  The potential owners are also likely to be shelling out a lot of money that they could avoid if they were dealing with a reputable breeder.  You may spend less on the dog initially, but can you really afford an additional $10k because your dog has dysplasia?

Even worse is the case that happened recently with a breeder who wasn’t taking good care of her dogs and they mauled and killed a lab.  From what I understand, this is a person who kept her dogs in deplorable conditions and was breeding for profit.  She was using unhealthy animals, and she didn’t train them properly nor keep them from running all over the place.

The gist of this is that taking a dog into your home is a big responsibility.  HUGE!  You really need to know that you’re getting into a big commitment of time and money, and if you aren’t aware of what you can handle, you’ll pay the consequences as well as the dog.  Unfortunately, it can be much worse for the dog…which is, in part, why so many dogs end up in shelters, rescue, or euthanized.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get a shelter dog…but if you plan to go that route, please be ready to sink a lot of time and effort into training one.  Of course, you should do that same if you get a dog from a breeder.  If you’re going to do that, I suggest reading this post as far as what to look for in a good breeder.

The primary consideration in getting a dog is knowing what is involved and whether or not you can handle it.  Being cheap may cost you more in the long run, but being ignorant is even worse.

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