If you are friends with me, you know I've talked about getting a puppy for years. It comes up in conversation 50% of the time. So when I announced last week that I was bringing home a pup everyone was excited! It was finally happening! But owning a pet is a big responsibility, and there's a reason I waited. Everything needed to align for me to be able to give my puppy, the adorable little Teddy, his best life. If you're also considering adding to your family, hopefully my reasons for waiting are helpful to you!
Dogs require a lot of space, no matter how big they are. Living in a studio apartment, I knew it wasn't enough space for a dog with any kind of energy. Especially when my friend's puppy visited! And I didn't live in a place where getting to a communal dog area to run around was very convenient (park, dog park, field, etc.) When I moved into a house with a backyard last summer it felt more realistic that a dog could run around inside and outside. We also live a block from a park, so getting outside was much more reasonable than before. The space the pup lived in was one of my biggest factors and it was worth the wait.
Eating, sleeping, peeing, playing...your pup does not do any of this without your help. Dogs are a lot of time! When I lived with my parents in 2020 I spent a lot of time with their dog. Making sure he was fed twice a day, checking when he wanted in and out, and giving him the love and attention he deserves were mainstays of my day. And when I moved into my new place and finally had the space for a dog, I knew that my work schedule had me busy enough (we're talking working 40+ hours every week for months) that I couldn't give the time needed for a dog's development. And while there are lots of programs out there for doggy day care, I knew the first few months I wanted the flexibility to be around for bonding and training. As my work load finally takes a break after 13 months, now was the time to get that 1:1 puppy time before things ramp up again in the spring.
Dogs are time, but you also need to schedule that time. And work schedule aside, it's important to look at what you're doing the other 16 hours a day. All those dinner with friends, coffee dates, drinks dates, random appointments, and everything else we're always up to adds up. I knew my February/March would be relatively slow. When Teddy was available mid-February I knew it was a sign that I would be able to accommodate for the scheduling he needs instead of working with my own schedule. That said, when things do get busy for me again, I have the time now to set his schedule to line up with mine to make the future easier for all of us. I'm also really fortunate to have a support system that would happily take him if I could not, such as an upcoming wedding I'm in.
Pets are expensive. It may feel one-and-done after you pay the shelter/breeder and buy their supplies, but that's just the start! Before last year I was barely putting anything into savings and constantly felt like I was teetering on the edge of in the red. I knew before getting a dog I needed to feel very comfortable in my financial position. Dogs require vet visits, vaccinations, and various little things that add up. Who knew you needed to buy dog shampoo AND go to the groomer? Now that I have the financial flexibility to add another living thing to my expenses, I'm really smart about what my money is going into. I want my puppy to have the best life, but I also don't want to go into debt buying him a thousand toys.
Wondering if you can financially afford a pet? I went through a dog checklist and priced out everything they need and their yearly expenses (vet, groomer, day care, etc.) and made a spreadsheet of what about a year of expenses would look like, then broke down into monthly. Was extremely helpful in understand the financial decision I was making for the next 10+ years.
Teddy is truly one of the best decisions of my life, but clearly one I weighed for a long time. Because I took his needs into consideration I am able to now provide him a happy, healthy life versus a few years ago. You can follow Teddy and his adventures on Instagram.