When most of us think of getting a puppy, we imagine choosing the cutest one, enjoying an interesting car ride home and happily opening the door to your house proclaiming “welcome to the family!” Sounds perfect right? Well, I’m sure you will get to experience this iconic moment. However, there are a few other details you definitely need to be aware of before you decide to take responsibility for a dog.
1. Which dog are you going for?
When most of us think of getting ourselves a four-legged partner, we tend to choose pure breeds. Typically, people are convinced that these dogs are cuter and use them as means to elevate social-status. If that’s your purpose, then get yourself a Rolex or an iPhone. In a country where many dogs spend their days wandering in lonely alleys longing for forever homes, it is arguably unethical to buy pure-breeds when you could be adopting a street pup. After enduring a harsh life on the streets, these doggie warriors have developed strong immune systems as well an extraordinary level of intelligence that allowed them to be a boss on the road.
So if you’re looking for a brave little hero to stand by you through all of life’s difficulties, then consider giving a street dog a chance. Choosing to adopt rather than buying a furry friend may not change the world, but it will make a world of difference for a lonely puppy. Embark is one such organization that allows people to take home street dogs and puppies. Adoption Days are held twice a month on Saturdays at various locations around the island including the Colombo Good Market.
You can find out more at their event page here!
“I think all dogs are amazing and are loyal to us. However, pure breeds find homes anyway. So I really think street-dogs should be considered by anyone who wants a pet. My two dogs were rescue puppies. Both of them were left at a lake to drown. Today they are healthy, happy and extremely loved. They are always the first to greet me when I get home from work. “
2. Attention is in demand
Before you begin the puppy adventure, figure out if you have enough time to devote to it. If you were the type to fail your Tamagotchi or Nintendogs, I would seriously recommend figuring out a good plan to take care of your new pal. Caging it and going about your life is certainly not an option. Puppies have hearts that break too but it may go unnoticed because unlike humans they can’t always express their sadness. Bottom line: a caged animal deprived of attention will grow up aggressive and depressed. So get creative and find a way to make sure your puppy is comfortable and given enough attention. If your schedule really is beyond hope, then you need to accept that right now may not be the best time to have a dog.
“There’s no doubt that puppies are cute and great to have. But you need to remind yourself that having a puppy is pretty close to having a baby. So you have to be ready for the dedication and responsibility of taking care of another living thing”
“The first few weeks are filled with fun and cuddles, which is great! But then there is also a lot of responsibility. You need ask yourself whether you’re going to be able to feed it 3 times a day, wash it once a week and clean its poop pretty much around the clock”
“Remember that your cute puppy will one day get old and weary. Don’t lose interest by then because you’re all it has”
3. Trips to the Vet
Ever wonder what a puppy would say if it could speak? Well after “I love you” and “Squirrel?!”, I bet the next on its list will be “The vet? But whyyy!!” Nevertheless, much like how your parents dragged (and pinned you down) for your shots, you must force your fellow over there. All jokes aside, through experience I can promise you that one of the most heart-breaking things in the world is to see a puppy sick. So to ensure your new best friend’s wellbeing, remember to get it vaccinated on time.
4. Rice and curry Vs Dog food
I’m sure you have come across those highly persuasive dog food commercials. Forget that processed nonsense. Rice mixed with fish or flavoured soy meat with some greens is not only more nutritious for your four-legged pal, it will be easier on the wallet. I mean ask yourself, would you really want to be eating out of a can when you have awesome Lankan food? However, remember that not all the food we eat works well with canines. Keep them away from grapes, garlic, mushrooms, nuts, raw eggs and CHOCOLATE (yes, chocolate!). Don’t feel too bad though. When puppies get stressed, they just pee and walk away. So there’s really no need for cocoa 🙂
5. The training games
Let me hold your hand for this one. During the puppy years, you will run into a lot of chewing everything it sees, forgetting where the bathroom is and destroying your wife’s flower garden. But if you don’t correct this behaviour early on, the puppy years will drag on for another 12 years which means you will be divorced for the rest of your years. So head on to YouTube and watch all the training tutorials you can find. Here’s a good place to start.
But remember that you need to be very patient because your puppy won’t always understand what you say. “Sit”, “Shake” and “Paw” will sound the same to it for some time. Keep in mind that spanking is never the answer. Positive reinforcement is always the best. So make sure you remember to stock up on an endless supply of treats.
6. Rain Rain Go Away!
On warm days, your puppy will be a quite lethargic. But lots of water and maybe a bit of AC would solve that issue. Your real enemy is the rainy season. Don’t be surprised if you bathe your pup, wipe it dry and then find it lying in a puddle 10 minutes later. Yup the wet weather is pretty hard to deal with! However, when thunder and lightning follows, that’s a whole different story. Since loud noises petrified my puppy, I used to keep him on my lap when there were thunderstorms. Only problem is, he’s a massively fat Labrador now and still thinks he can sit on me when he gets scared.
So as you can see, having a dog is a lot of work and about a 10-12 year commitment. So get ready for some sweat, chewed up shoes and walking into pee puddles. But for all that hard work, I promise that you will be your puppy’s whole world. It’ll love you every day to make up for the naughty things it does!