The reason that it is driving me crazy is that there is no simple answer. I keep on going round in a circles, asking myself the same questions over and over again and getting the same answers, which all results in a big fat question mark!
Some people might think that if I obviously really want a dog then I should just bite the bullet and buy one, right? But my problem is that I couldn’t dream of bringing a dog into the family, only for the boys to fall hopelessly in love with it, and then months down the line realise that it was the wrong decision after all.
So, what questions am I asking myself?
Would our lifestyle suit a dog?
This might seem like a straight forward yes and no question. However, there are a lot of elements to our life that I have to consider.
For instance, I know that our recreational lifestyle is perfect for a dog. We love going on walks, we are always at the park with the boys, and we spend most of our evenings at home. So this part of our life would be great for a dog.
During the day however, I have quite a mix of being at home and also going out running errands. Both me and my husband work from home so there is often someone here to keep the dog company. The school run would be tricky though because you aren’t allowed to bring dogs onto the school grounds, so this would mean either tying it up outside the gates (something that I’m not so sure about) or leaving it at home, which in-turn would mean that I would have to take the dog out for another walk after the school run and I’m not so sure that I would have the energy to do that.
How would having a dog affect our holidays?
Going on holiday is supposed to be a stress free time. So would having a dog make it stressful? I suppose that it depends on what kind of holiday you want to go on. Obviously, if you are going abroad then you would have to arrange for the dog to go stay at a kennels, or possibly a member of family or a friend would take it in whilst you are away.
For us, finding someone to look after the dog would be quite difficult. This is because most of our family and friends either already have dogs (terriers that don’t like other dogs) or they just don’t like dogs themselves. So, we would have to factor in paying for the dog to go to a boarding kennel into our holiday budget. In the UK this can cost around £15-£50 per day, depending on the quality of the kennels.
There are holiday options in Great Britain as well, so this could be a holiday where the dog is welcome. There are plenty of holiday cottages that allow dogs. And don’t forget about the good old camping and caravan sites. These can be great holidays if you get the right weather.
We usually holiday in the UK anyway, so this wouldn’t be too much of an issue for us. But we do go away for weekends to stay with family quite often. Unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to bring the dog with us, so this is one of the areas that does worry me.
How much does a dog cost?
This is one of the hardest questions, purely because I can’t seem to get a solid answer.
There are so many different variations that you have to factor into this, that nobody can actually tell you how much it would cost YOU to have a dog. Apparently though, research has shown that depending on the breed and size of a dog, the overall cost of owning a dog (this is the cost of its whole life span) can range between £16,000 – £31,000.
This is because you have to make your own decisions about things like what pet insurance you would take out, which veterinary service you would use, what food you would feed the dog and how much you would spend when you buy the pet accessories you’ll need such as: bedding, collars, leads, bowls, toys, treats and car accessories.
I suppose that if I sat down and did a LOT of research, I might be able to come up with a figure. I haven’t done this yet, but it might be the next thing on my to do list.
What type of dog do we want?
When people start to look into getting a dog, picking the breed is probably the most exciting part. There are so many options that it can be quite overwhelming.
Personally I think that I would opt for a mixed breed. My ideal would probably be a Labrador and Collie cross.
I’m not just thinking about the type of dog though, but also the age. Should we get a puppy? Or, should we adopt an adult dog? You might think that a puppy is the best choice, but when you get a puppy you have to deal with all of the training. You have to accept that some furniture and clothes might get ruined and you will have to deal with those oh so lovely accidents!
Adopting an adult dog is completely different. You get to see the personality of the dog, which means that you can pick one that suits you and your family. You don’t need to worry about the teething and toilet training stage either. You can see how big the dog is, which means you don’t get any surprises as the years go by, and also depending on the place that you adopt the dog from, you can have support available to you during the whole life span of the dog if any problems were to occur.
So there we have it, the all so important questions that are so hard to answer. You might be able to tell that I still haven’t worked out whether or not we should get a dog. Hopefully I’ll have the answer soon so that it can stop driving me crazy!
Are you thinking about getting a dog? Or, if you already have one, do you have any tips on how to know if it is right for you?