To Get A Dog, Or Not To Get A Dog

19 Jan

This trip home to NYC marks the last planned plane ride out of Austin for a few months. I say last “planned” because I’m sure a surprise trip will pop up somewhere, but for now, it feels nice to know my feet will be firmly planted in one spot for a little while. With this hiatus of travel comes getting to unpack my suitcase and actually put it away in my closet, getting back into my 7am PBJ & gym routine, and having some time to collect my thoughts and focus on my work. It also brings up a topic that my boyfriend and I have been throwing around for months. A topic that puts us in the category of one of those couples, and moves us into an meta-chapter in our life in Austin somewhere between “Ah! We’re moving in together!” and “Ah! We are in our 30’s and settling down!”

We want to get a dog.

getting a dog

Now I know what you’re thinking. If you’re in your 30’s or 40’s or higher, you’re thinking “That’s right kid, getting a dog is a biiggg responsibility!”, and if you’re in your teens or twenties you’re thinking “Dogs are awesome! You should totally get one!” I  just articulated a form of age discrimination, but just follow me here. I hear both of those arguments, and it’s exactly those two states of mind that Dave and I have been debating since October. Is this a very big deal? Or not? Let me lay out the dangerously typical I-hope-you-don’t-click-away-now pros and cons for you.

Pros

  • Saving a life at the animal shelter
  • Having a sidekick that brings about smiles and lighthearted moments
  • A friend to greet you when you walk in the door
  • A warm body to cuddle with (small fact: I’m a huge cuddler)
  • A companion while I’m working from home
  • An awesome jogging buddy
  • Unconditional love pouring out of it’s cute little body at all times (only a girl could write that sentence. Amiright?)

Cons

  • The need to constantly worry about getting home to take care of the dog; i.e. a loss of complete freedom
  • Walking the dog in the rain and cold (“Hey Dave?…”)
  • Monthly expenses like heartworm pills and dog food
  • Vet bills
  • We leave the city for trips fairly often, so we’ll either need really good friends to watch him/her or we’ll have to put the dog in a kennel (tear)

/end dangerously typical list

Over time, and with much thought, we’ve started leaning more and more towards “let’s do it.” While the cons of getting a dog are important to be aware of to ensure we can be good caretakers, the pros of “saving a dog”, and “unconditional love pouring out of it’s cute little body at all times” are pulling into first place. There’s something about the company of a dog that’s very hard to put into words (actually when I see a dog and do try to put it into words, they come out an octave higher than usual and are limited to “Awww” and “hitherecutelittleguywutchadoin?”). I’m both excited and a little nervous to take the plunge when we get back to Austin next week. I’ve warned Dave that the first dog I lay eyes on is the one I will want, so he should probably go into the shelter first and select which ones I see. I’m a sucker for a cute face, and a good cuddle.

Do you have a dog? How has it affected your life?

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22 Responses to “To Get A Dog, Or Not To Get A Dog”

  1. Moya January 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    You should definitely get a dog!!!! I have one and he is amazing. I can tell you from a monthly expense standpoint….the cost is like… $20…basically for food. If your dog is not running around in the woods, or if he/she doesn’t have a lot of contact with other dogs (ours doesn’t) heart worm, etc… are not mandatory (and you can always go through the Betty White-endorsed dog med commercial!) What I can say, the dog gets you out and about and there is nothing like unconditional love. I can loan you mine if you want a trial ;)

    • melruns January 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks Moya! get a dog – 1, don’t get a dog – 0

  2. Tasha @ Dine & Dash January 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I read that as PB & gym. After laughing for a few minutes I realized it didn’t say that.
    I vote, get a puppy! :-) I love that you want to go to the shelter and adopt one.

    • melruns January 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Adoptions is the only option to me! Save a ife :)
      get a dog – 2, don’t get a dog – 0

  3. Mike January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Short version: Definitely get a dog! (and yes, I’m in my (late) 20s, so your gender stereotyping holds).

    I have a dog and she has made our lives infinitely happier. She runs with me, cuddles on the couch, and is generally happy all the time to see us. The “loss of freedom” is not nearly as bad as you think. Just how many times have you been unable to get home for 16 straight hours? Travel is a little trickier. We were lucky enough to find some very nice friends and neighbors who also have dogs who didn’t mind watching her while we were gone for a weekend. If you can reciprocate when they go out of town, it’s a big win for everyone (dogs included).

    As for cost, you do need to buy food monthly, but that’s not too bad. I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY urge you to get preventative heartworm and flea meds monthly too, even if it does cost a little more. It’s for your dog’s health, and let’s face it: your dog is now part of your family.

    From personal experience I can definitely recommended Austin Dog Rescue (austindog.org), which is a foster-only (no single-location shelter) organization that takes in all kinds of dogs and keeps them with host families until they are adopted. Obviously Austin Pets Alive is great too.

    And worst case, just DM me and I’d be happy to doggysit for you :)

    • Mike January 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Oh, and also, getting a dog was a great way to meet new people who also have dogs (something in common!) when you take your new little buddy to the dog park.

    • melruns January 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks so much for the response Mike! This is exactly what I wanted to know :) and SUPER kind of you to offer to doggysit, I really appreciate it!

      get a dog – 3, don’t get a dog, – 0

  4. @cabwhore January 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Are you crazy? You travel way too much to get a dog!!! I love my dog, but if I didn’t have two-three people to take him when we went away, we would never be able to do it.

    • melruns January 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      This is the part that scares me the most, my travel schedule.. gah

      get a dog – 3, don’t get a dog, – 1

      P.S. wasssuuppp! :)

  5. Mattoos Productions January 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    I vote NO! … The reason behind said vote is a multi-faceted horror story, allow me to tell. I moved in with my girlfriend last June into an apt in Jersey City – begin dog horror story. I have a cat, she has a dog… They meet and get along fine… I thought that’d be the big problem – Wrong! Dogs (not all) have HUGE Seperation anxiety! We tried leaving him alone with full run of the apt, but all you heard was barking down the whole hallway, howls, crys, whimpers… Very bad ones that seem like he was being beatin to death. We then secluded him in the bed room, and weather stripped the doors for better sound containment. Faintly hear him still a few apt units away. He clawed up furniture, the door, and then tore up the carpet while trying to “instinctively” dig under the door. He would get so upset he would salvate at a horrible rate, be drenched in it and smell like a walking garbage dump. We then got a crate. As dogs as per trainers should be crated. We thought this would fix it. He would still do all of the previous behavior but was unable to cause any damage. He would be soaked in saliva and smell so bad, that the room started to smell. He was so needy! He’d follow me around and needed to be next to me and if I went to the bathroom he’d start crying barking and digging at the closed door. Plus every event we went to, there was always need to be back for the dog before a certain time cause he will urinate and deficate.

    We gave the dog to her parents as there he is most comfortable and acts a whole lot better. It varies from case to case – dog to dog. The first step it seems in tolerating any of this is being a dog person. I’m not going to push cats because the dog and cat people never see eye to eye on this topic – we just yell at each other who’s better and why lol

    Having a dog is like having the responsibility of having a 3 year old for a long long time. If its well trained it fixes many problems, however change in life style does happen, and you run the chance of seperation anxiety effecting your dog and you in ways you cannot imagine.

    I prefer my cat who cuddles often, has her own personal time, can be left alone with amp water and food for periods of time … And has her litter box and uses it accordingly. Independent and NOT a needy zombie as Micky the dog was…. He did put a lot of strain on our relationship.

    Best of luck if you choose to enter the sweepstakes of owning a dog. Look into breeds and their habits. Some breeds like eating other dogs feces, some are prone to sicknesses and some breeds are heavy into seperation anxiety…

    Micky was a bejzon Shitzu mix… I may have spelt both those wrong, 20lbs of stress in my life I never want again. When we move, we will be taking him back, I hope he behaves this time, or I a, kicking him out.

    As they say it’s me or the dog sometimes.

    Livin’ in my house y’all gots to be civil!

    Enjoy my rant!

    Sincerely,
    John

    • melruns January 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      John, you are insane, and that’s why I love you. I’m sorry to hear about your smelly bedroom bonanza!

      get a dog – 3, don’t get a dog, – 2

  6. Amanda January 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    I am having the same debate now – only mine is over a fuzzy and cuddly kitty! Travel is my biggest worry. I would say if you and Dave both want one, and you have more time now than ever before – it sounds like a great idea! My only concern would be if you ever decide to move back to NY (wink wink, nudge nudge) you’d better be sure you can find a dog-friendly apartment! But aside from that, you’d be saving a life and have a great little companion. And anyways, where are you and Dave ever going that you can’t bring the dog with you! ;-)

    • Melruns January 20, 2012 at 2:06 am #

      You get the kitty, we’ll get the doggy, and then we’ll all move back to new york and live happily ever after :)

      Get a dog – 4 , don’t get a dog – 2

  7. Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 20, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I don’t have a dog, but I adopted a cat last summer and it was the best decision ever! Not only did I save a cat from the doom room, but she is the best companion I could ever ask for. I like to travel a lot and the worry about kennels/lodges makes you feel guilty at first, but you’ll get used to it and know they’ll always love you when they come back! :) You’ll love a puppy!

  8. Diane Mooney January 20, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    I have learned there is nothing quite like having a sweet little dog to love, i was always afraid of dogs but not anymore… I love my dog summer like one of my kids.. always wants to hug and kiss me… i think u should def get one!! you will figure out the cons!!

    Love ya Di

  9. ang January 20, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    have either of you ever had a dog before…?

    DO NOT GET A PUPPY!!! come smell my apartment this wknd if you’re free.

    • Mike January 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      I can agree with NOT getting a puppy. They’re really cute, but that (debatably) breaks even with the amount of work. Plus, in a few months they’re full-grown anyway.

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