So, you’re considering a furry, new addition to the family? Congratulations! Adding a canine companion to your family can be the most rewarding experience in the world, but it’s important to consider the extent of responsibility you are willing (and able) to take on before taking the plunge.
Caleb and I love Kenzo & Vík and we are so lucky to have a lifestyle that enables us to put their needs first. I work from home whenever I am not on-location or at our studio for a photo session so I am able to be home with Kenzo & Vík. When we brought Kenzo home as a 9 week old puppy in 2014 I was able to be home with him every day for the first 2 months and I would bring him to my photo sessions whenever possible.
When we decided to get our second dog, Vík in June of 2017 we planned over 8 months in advance. I organized our wedding bookings, weekday sessions, and consults with Vík in mind. I knew that bringing home a new puppy would be a lot of extra work and I wanted to be with him as much as possible for both training and bonding purposes, along with making sure Kenzo was still receiving enough attention as well.
Fast forward to today when the boys are full grown thankfully, when we have long wedding days Caleb’s Mom and Dad are willing to come let the dogs out multiple times a day or take them to their house so that they do not have to be alone. We are so blessed to have family close that loves our boys as much as we do.
1. Take a look at your budget.
Adopting from a shelter or purchasing from a reputable breeder, requires a huge financial commitment. Even if you stumble upon a friend looking to give away pups for free, you will still be responsible for registrations, microchips, vaccinations, spay/neuter fees, food, and supply costs.
That new puppy will be your baby, and you should make sure you are able to give him/her a comfortable, happy home! It’s hard to pin down just how much getting a dog actually costs once everything adds up, but remember that you’re taking responsibility for a living being! Take some time to decide whether you can fund the upfront cost of a puppy in addition to comfortably supporting that animal for years to come!
2. Check your space.
With an increasing number of adults electing to stick with apartment life versus buying a home, it’s vital to consider whether or not your new furry roommate will be comfortable in your home. Consider the size of your living space when choosing to adopt or purchase a puppy. What breeds are you looking at and how large might your new puppy grow to be? Remember that certain breeds are more active than others and need space to run and stretch their legs!
3. Evaluate your schedule.
Dogs are social creatures, and puppies need an incredible amount of love and attention. Be sure to evaluate how often your furry friend will be left at home alone. Will you be comfortable leaving him/her outside of a crate when you’re not home? If you travel for work, how will you make arrangements for your puppy’s care?
Remember, daycare services and kenneling are convenient for occasional circumstances, but leaving your pup with others too frequently can create confusion and fear for your animal, which could damage your relationship over time.
4. Monitor your behavior.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love a good dose of puppy-love, but being a full-time caretaker comes with a whole other level of responsibility (and stress)! Take a few days to monitor how you behave when you’re at home. How do you react when you’re stressed, irritated, or tired?
You can also consider spending some extended time with a friend’s dog and monitoring your emotions. Make sure you won’t become bored with having an animal around or, worse, annoyed with the having to meet the pup’s needs. Remember, an animal may only be a part of your life, but you are that animal’s entire world!
5. Look to the future.
Getting a puppy is exciting, and it’s something that most people wait a long time to do. It’s easy to get excited and jump at the first available opportunity, but remember that you’re taking on a responsibility that will follow you through many years. Be sure to consider how likely your situation is to change in the future. If your income, living situation, or daily schedule are likely to fluctuate, perhaps wait a bit longer to take that plunge.