After looking for many months for a rescue dog, I finally received a phone call from a lady who was planning on letting her one-year-old husky go. I was ecstatic and drove all the way across the province to pick my new companion up.
The first week has been an incredibly exhausting, rejuvenating, and blissful experience that feels equivalent to bringing new life to this world. Unlike visiting a petting zoo, becoming a dog owner is a huge undertaking that can be overwhelming, especially for students. When asked, most people reflect on a deeper, more satisfying quality of life with a dog companion. However, being prepared to commit to taking responsibility for the entirety of a dog’s lifespan can be daunting. If you’re thinking of becoming a dog owner, here are a few things to keep in mind before taking up this new role.
Do your research
One of the most important aspects prior to pet ownership is understanding the temperament of the species. Dogs can come in all shapes, sizes, personalities, and trainability. While I had one or two species in mind, our current husky was not part of our shortlist. Initially, we opted for hypoallergenic breeds with friendly, approachable personalities. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our preferred breeds were unavailable. There has been a significantly higher demand for a canine companion during this time, so we’ve had to adapt.
Many resources exist on Youtube and Reddit that can provide some deeper insight into other dog owners’ experiences with their breeds. Then narrowing down your top picks, as well as a trusted breeder, can take you a step closer to finding the right dog for you.
Another key factor is considering the physical location of your residence. Do you live in an apartment or a single-family home? Certain building regulations may not allow pets. Also, some dog breeds shed a significant amount and pet dander can cause serious allergic reactions.
If you’re considering adopting a puppy, does your home have dangerous areas that can be hazards to your pets? For example, prior to adopting our dog, we blocked off certain regions of our home to help create zones and boundaries.
One of the most important considerations for myself was the cost of dog ownership. Our family owned rescued budgies that were much easier to take care of, with a lower financial burden. However, depending on the dog breed, cost can be a huge factor for a new dog owner. This is even more true if one is considering a newborn puppy. Puppies require immunizations, regular vet visits, food, treats, toys, and other pet supplies that can add up quickly.
Also, you should ensure that you are able to provide for the length of a pet’s life. For example, the average lifespan of a husky is 13 years meaning that the owner should be able to provide for the pet for that time.
Unlike other pets, dog owners have certain lifestyle factors that may need to be changed to accommodate their favorite canines. For example, are you an early riser or a night owl? Dogs often wake up early in the morning and require daily walks. If you own a highly energetic breed, it may mean multiple hours of the day spent outside with your dog. Other factors I’ve considered included individuals available to dog-sit in my extended family. If I were to leave for vacation, I would need to have a trusted individual look after our beloved pet.