When you think about it, making the decision to share your life with a dog is the ultimate long-term relationship, involving as much – or perhaps more – commitment on your part than one with a human partner.
Getting or caring for a dog should be taken as seriously as such a long-term relationship too, and given the same gravitas and respect as a marriage; and this article will tell you why. Read on to learn why having a dog is the ultimate long-term relationship, and why you should take it just as seriously as getting married!
For better or for worse
Dog ownership is not all a walk in the park. It’s loads of them, every day, come rain or shine, mud, bitter cold, picking up poop, dealing with diarrhoea and dog breath… There are plenty of great things about dog ownership, but plenty of less palatable sides to it as well!
Don’t go into dog ownership with a rose-tinted image of you and a pretty little toy dog looking and behaving perfectly at all times… That angelic-looking Shih Tzu might have a real taste for roadkill, or a penchant for rolling in fox poop, and you’ll still have to deal with it!
For richer and for poorer
Dogs are expensive to keep, some much more so than others; but most dog owners underestimate the cost of dog ownership and this can come as a massive shock. You can’t predict what the future holds, but you should take all possible steps to mitigate against future problems and expenses and ensure that you could still care adequately for your dog if your situation changed.
In sickness and in health
As your dog gets older, they’re more likely to develop any one of a number of health conditions that can be hard to manage, costly, and take up a lot of your time. Some dogs will of course develop health problems at a much younger age, and whilst doing your research and taking pains to select a healthy puppy is vital, you cannot predict the future health of any dog.
When you take on a dog, you’re committing to take care of their health, however that pans out; whether they turn out to only need preventative healthcare and are never ill a day in their lives, or if they develop a costly and complex condition.
Additionally, as your dog gets older they might not smell as fresh, might have the occasional accident in the house, and might go through some personality changes; and they need you much more then than they did when they were in full health.
To love and to cherish
Dogs need love, affection, consistency and plenty of your time. Even if you ticked all the boxes on paper in terms of responsible dog ownership and providing for all of your pet’s needs, that intangible bond between you needs ongoing work too, just like any relationship.
The “obey” part of wedding vows is more commonly absent than present in modern day wedding ceremonies, even traditional ones; but it remains relevant when it comes to your relationship with your dog!
This is of course in the context of your dog being obedient and respectful to you and the rules you have in place for them; and for your part, training and managing your dog and keeping them in line is vital too.
Forsaking all others
Having a dog does not of course mean that you can’t have other relationships; like a partner, or even getting another dog too. So you don’t need to forsake all others in this respect; but you should never place another relationship above your commitment to your dog either.
Don’t get another dog if this is not in your first dog’s best interests, and don’t get involved with someone that doesn’t like or want your dog as much as you do!
…Until death do us part
The vast majority of dog owners outlive their dogs rather than the other way around; and dog ownership means committing to caring for your dog for the entire duration of their lives, until their death. A vital part of this means knowing when it is time to let go, and as well as providing the care necessary to manage any health conditions and keep your dog comfortable as long as they still have a good quality of life, it also means knowing when they’ve reached the end of the road, and it may be time to put them to sleep to prevent suffering.
Even if you should be the partner in the relationship that dies first, and your dog outlives you instead, your responsibility to your dog does not actually end upon your death!
If you’re of the sort of age (or have health issues) that mean your dog might reasonably be expected to outlive you, you should make provision for their care and ongoing management as part of your will and instructions for after your death.
Really, this is wise for dog owners of any age to do!
(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)