We at PawzNRead believe that the dog homecoming is perhaps one of the happiest moments in the lives of pet lovers. But this happy moment of dog homecoming must be well thought out. It’s a decision that involves essentially four stages including the need, rationalisation, preparation and settling. The time taken, effort and amount of deliberation may vary, but each step is important for a strong and lasting dog-human bond.
Mr. Popo’s (our respected Paw-in-Chief) homecoming was a series of fortunate coincidences. However, looking back, we can clearly see that we too went through the four stages of dog homecoming even though they were hurried. In our ‘Dog Homecoming’ series, we will share with you some things that we learnt basis our own experiences in each of the stages over a set of four articles.
Paraphrasing a line from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert: getting a dog is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit. We see so many dogs being abandoned, simply because this first crucial decision was taken for the wrong reasons. So, when you start thinking about adding a new pack member, ask yourself these questions:
Will I be able to cater to all the needs of a two-year-old baby for the long-term?
Given our experience, a dog is like a routine bound two-year-old baby. Starting from toilet training to companionship, meals, grooming, play / exercise, vet visits, a dog’s needs are limited but all very important for their wellbeing. The thing that you need to evaluate is will you find true joy doing all of this for your dog. Mind you, not just in the short-term but in the long-term as well.
Is / will my family have the same love and commitment for the dog?
Remember that dogs are pack animals and need caring from the entire pack to be truly happy. For example, if your partner is not on the same page about getting a dog, this will not only mean a lot more work on your part and a possibly unhappy environment. There are examples, where people warm up to pets after getting them. However, there are many more examples where the dog is given up. We suggest, have the discussion, do not force a decision and try fostering to see how things go.
Will I be able to take care of my dog, even if my circumstances change (for example, relocation, marriage, children, job change / loss etc.)
We never know where life takes us and how things change. Many a times people give up their dog as a response. We have also seen many people plan for such changes and really leave no stone unturned if something unforeseen happens. We believe that if you don’t abandon humans, don’t do it your dogs…period.
Only if you can answer all the above with a yes, it is time to move to the next stage. However, if you really want a dog but are unsure of the long-term commitment of time, energy and finances, we highly recommend you foster.
Look out for our next three articles from the ‘Dog Homecoming’ series