I lost a dear friend of mine this past Thanksgiving weekend in the form of a female, black-and-white springer spaniel by the name of Fergie. She was with me for more than 12 1/2 years. She was my pet, my hunting companion and, of course, my best friend.
We all can't live forever, and, sorry to say, neither do dogs. It is so much like losing a family member and really hard to describe the feeling, even though you know it was the best thing to do for her because she was very ill. My dilemma right now is whether to get another puppy, even though I would have to go through the same sadness and actual mourning again at sometime in the future.
There are many pros and cons of owning a dog, and I guess down through the years I have witnessed all of both. You see, when you get a puppy, they are just like a baby and need much care. House-breaking is one of the first priorities with your new pooch, which for some takes time and much patience. There will be the constant chewing and gnawing on most everything, including furniture, plants, trees, clothing, shoes, newspapers and even me. Barking, hopefully, can be held at a minimum, but it is their right of expression, so they say.
There are many, many breeds from which to select if your decision is to go forward to bringing a furry friend and new member of your family into your household. There are hounds, pointers, setters, terriers, toys, spaniels, herders, labs and many others ranging in size from a Chihuahua to Great Danes and mastiffs and even mongrels.
Regardless what breed you choose, there will be a whole lot of new responsibilities to take on. Will those responsibilities outweigh the friendship, love and affection and security you will receive? Some say a dog will reduce stress and even control blood pressure better than any drug out there and even improve your mood. Now that is a plus.
Some of the responsibilities and expenses that you will undertake will be veterinary checkups and shots. These modern days bring modern medicines, and of course modern prices. There will be office calls for Fido similar to your own, and prices again will be similar to your own. There will be treatments for fleas, worms and most any kind of varmint that would dare venture and infest into the fur of your loving companion. Injuries, too, can occur. Grooming and bathing is always on the list, as you should brush regularly regardless of length of coat. Good grooming is, of course, another expense. Getting dogs spayed and neutered is always on the list, unless you are in the business for more pups. This is another big expense no matter what way you go. Cleaning up the back yard of dog poop is also a light task that has to be done quite regularly. Leaving them out when they have to go is another duty that you just can't forget. Nutrition is held sacred because you want your pup to have the very best of food, plus treats and many toys to satisfy their loneliness and boredom. Fresh water also should be required on a regular basis. Ah yes, vacation time in the summer months, and if you have no one to watch and take care of your best friend, off they go to the kennels, or the slammer. Some kennels are good and some are bad. You see, dogs have no idea why they are put in the slammer. They thought that they fulfilled their duties well. How could they. This could get expensive for top flight care also, while you are away.
Now, I have to make up my mind whether to get another puppy or not. Most breeds of puppies right now are in the $400 and up price range, unless you go to the pound. I have had three Springer Spaniels, and all three lived to the same ripe old age of close to 13 years. I do miss a good, happy dog in the house. Dogs will give you the type of affection that is needed and enjoyed. An old dog saying is that they will not judge us, just love us. Many humans have never learned that saying, or never will. Having a dog at your side, listening to your problems and just being there for you and most of the time being obedient and watchful is indeed worth all the expenses and negatives and responsibilities you can think of. All of this, plus a waggly tail. How much more could you want?
I'm still trying to decide.