This is the time of year when families begin to romanticize about adding to their family by means of a fur baby.  I wonder which has a higher rate of puppy purchases, beginning of summer break, or Christmas?  I know they say that the holidays are the highest rate of puppy returns, which always breaks my heart, so I’m likely to believe that this is also the busiest time of year for buying them.

Who would ever give a living breathing critter as a gift?  One never knows if the person they’re giving the new family member to is truly ready, or capable to manage the pup.  Which is why I wrote an article last week for Milk N Heels on this exact topic.  Before sitting down to shop for a new family member, there are a few things you, if you’re buying one for yourself need to have in place, and certainly if you’re gifting one to somebody you know, should make sure are in order.

As a parent I do recall that this was the time of year where our girls would pressure us to get a dog.  For some reason it seems so many litters are born late winter, early spring, and many of your kid’s friends at school have brought a new puppy to the playground to drop them off or pick them up. This is when the begging begins.  We’re a dog family, in fact our girls have had dogs their entire lives, save for a year here or there when we were in between four-legged kids.  In fact, in our house it is common that we have two at once, and on the rare, and only twice in our lifetime occasions, we’ve had three. Two is nice, three I don’t recommend.  Three dogs puts you in the same positon as three kids.  The minute the balance is off where there are more of them than you, then you’re officially outnumbered and chaos has a really good chance of ensuing.

If you’re thinking about adding a puppy to your life, I only have these two things to ask you.

1)  do you have any extra time in your parenting life to walk, feed, water, run to the vet at the drop of a hat for the newest member of your family?

2)  are you able to have said puppy and also afford to have pet insurance??

As an experienced and veteran dog owner, I learned a very valuable lesson way back with Winfield, our Dalmatian who ended up costing us more than $12,000 if vet fees over his thirteen-year life fifteen years ago, emergency medical care for a dog is no laughing matter.  It is expensive and it can often determine whether or not your pup gets to live a long and healthy life due to a sudden and unexpected injury or, in the case of our last five dogs, four boxers and one English bulldog, blown knees, heart concerns and cancer issues.  If we didn’t have pet insurance those expenses would have been a huge drain on our finances.

So, before you say yes and hop in the car and go puppy shopping, sit down with your partner go over your finances, check and see if a new four-legged member of the family makes sense at this point in time.  After you figure that out, then ask yourself if you’re really in the mood for another baby, because no matter what your children tell you about how helpful they’ll be with the new dog, trust me, as one mom to another, it won’t happen.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to help.  For example, and not to put my family on blast, but once I was away for ten days, many years ago, and there was a pet rabbit in the house along with three dogs…needless to say the rabbit didn’t survive my being away, because nobody thought to give him water while I was gone.  All I’m saying is that the bulk of caring for your new family member is going to be all you, and if you’re prepared for that and financially you can afford the added cost, then might I suggest you first go to a rescue, such as the one we have here in King City, Dog Tale Sanctuary and see if you might find a dog who’s life you can save rather than just buying a purebred?  Once my boys, both purebreds are gone I will definitely be doing that.  For now, I get to enjoy the fact that I’m a four-legged rescued pup’s grandma.  If a furry family member is in your summer future, I wish you all the best that comes from adding to your family!

XO

Shantelle