Daily Archives: October 14, 2011

Lessons from Dog-sitting

(Photo source)

One of my friends went away for a few weeks and I got to dog-sit their furry family member.  They have a small sized poodle mix, Shelly, who is adorable.

I love animals, and I know they are a lot of work (and money), but after this dog-sitting stint, I am even more convinced that I am not ready for a pet right now. This is what I’ve learned so far.

Pets are like children who never grow up

Pets will always need people to pick up after them, to feed them, and take them out for exercise.  They cannot care for themselves and are wholly dependent on their owners and care takers to care for them.

Unlike children, who can start to take care of themselves as they grow up, your pet can’t heat up food you left in the fridge for them.  If you don’t feed them, they likely won’t eat.

With all the time I spend out of the house – working, volleyball, spending time at BF’s, coming back to visit my parents. etc., I would not have enough time to care for a pet.

Pets need a lot of Attention

When I didn’t pay attention to Shelly, she would whine and cry, until I pet her or played with her.  I couldn’t even really sleep in on weekends because she whining and wanted me to get up and pay attention to her.

And even though I sound a bit bitter about my (lack of) beauty sleep, she is just so adorable and cute, that I can’t stay mad at her.

Pets are part of the family

Maybe this is a no brainer, but coming from someone who has never had a pet, I realized this.  Shelly has a personality, she has a temper and she is just like a person – only furrier and has four legs.

She gets scared of bigger dogs than her.  She will bark at squirrels and cats when there is a pane of glass between her and said animal.  But without the glass, she is a big wuss.

Pets age and need medical care

Shelly is fourteen years old.  Her hearing, eyesight and sense of smell have seen better days.  Because she is a small dog, her limbs are still okay, and she doesn’t have trouble going up and down stairs (like older bigger dogs).

But when she needs to see a vet, one day,  I am sure they are not cheap.

Ignorance can be Bliss

This is a different lesson from the above, but none the less, it’s something that was reinforced while dog sitting.  As I mentioned above, Shelly has started to lose her eyesight, her hearing and her sense of smell is not what it used to be.

Since Shelly is a small dog and a coward, she tends to avoid big dogs.  She will bark at them behind a pane of glass, but out in the real world, she will be between my legs shaking like a leaf.

One day, we were out on a walk and there was a big dog across the street barking really loudly at her.  The dog was probably at least 5 times her size and if she saw it, I’m sure she would have hid between my legs and refused to move unless she was carried away.  But since Shelly couldn’t hear the barks, and couldn’t see the big scary dog, she bounded along her walk with the bunny ears flapping behind, as if she owned the world :)

I couldn’t help but laugh and reflect.

Conclusion

I still love animals, but realize that right now, I am not ready for the commitment (both financially and time-wise) to a pet.  I am open to getting a pet later, and maybe when I have a partner who can also share the burden responsibility.

Do you have a pet?  What are your thoughts on pets? 

Cheers,

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