My Dog and I: Bringing home a new pet

Why Do i Want a Puppy?

Dogs and all kinds of other pets surrounded me growing up, and many times my family made me take part of the responsibility for their care.

About seven years ago I felt that I was ready to raise my first puppy on my own.  But before I jumped into the joy of puppy parenthood, I asked myself a bunch of important questions:

  • Why do I want a dog?
  • What is my true level of experience and knowledge in handling a dog?
  • Do I want a puppy or an older dog?
  • Will I have the time, space, patience and money to care for and play with my pup?
  • What type of dog do I want, a mixed breed or a pure breed?
  • Which breed might best suit my own personality and lifestyle?
  • Where do I find the most accurate and reliable breed information?
  • Are there any good veterinarians in the area?
    • (In case of an emergency I wanted someone close by.  Sometimes the time it takes to get your pet to the right care can mean the difference between immediate help and long-term health affects!)
  • Where is the best place to get a puppy (breeder, rescue, pet store, etc.)?
  • What are my responsibilities in raising a well-rounded dog (grooming, socialization, nutrition, training, etc.)?
  • Is my neighborhood safe enough for walking my dog, is there a park nearby?
  • Will my cat tolerate a new pet, and vice versa?

I am probably forgetting a topic or two, but knowing the answers to these questions were the basis for bringing Oskar, my French Bulldog home!

Getting Ready for my Puppy!

I am a huge believer in pet adoption!  Alas, Oskar was a spur of the moment gift from my husband, a gift I have cherished every single day since we brought him home!

One day we strolled along Lexington Avenue and stopped by a pet store.  We had no intention of buying a dog (all babies are cute and you want to take all of them home!), but holding Oskar in my arms, he suddenly began nuzzling my neck and wouldn’t let go.  My husband sensed the immediate and deep bond between this dog and me, and the rest is history.  We both knew that adoption was the way to go, but we consoled ourselves in the simple fact that even pet store animals needed “rescue” and a home.

Bringing home Oskar was a most amazing thing.  But, there was also a huge drawback because aside from bringing home a new puppy, I ended up with over $800 worth of nonsense I didn’t need, including a $78 dog toy with a beating heart that Ozzie never even once looked at…yes; pet store staffers WILL prey on the emotions of a new pet owner!

When opened The Jumping Bulldog I promised that this was not something that would ever happen to my customers.  It’s simple, having a pet of any kind, a puppy especially, is expensive, and dollars spent on unessential items are better spent elsewhere.

So, here is my “Need versus Want” list to help you save money, and still have everything you need for a comfy home for your new addition:

  • Appropriately sized folding crate for crate training (read more about crate training in another post)
  • Puppy/ dog food that is appropriate for your type of dog
  • Wee-wee pads
  • A collar and a leash
    • (The collar is to get them used to having a restraint around their small necks.  If you want to walk your puppy around the house, it might be good to use a harness instead for a harness may prevent tracheal injury)
  • Tags with your and your vet’s phone number
  • A food bowl and a water bowl
  • A doggie bed
  • A grooming brush and puppy wipes
  • A baby gate (often cheaper than a doggie gate) to keep your puppy/ dog in one area
  • Two or three chew toys
    • (Too many toys all at once may be confusing to a new puppy.  If you want to buy more toys, it’s a good idea to rotate them to keep the puppy interested in its toys.)

Contrary to popular belief you do not need to begin feeding your 10 or 12 week old puppy treats right away, nor do you need to bathe him; so, that’s money you can spend a little later.  You also don’t need to buy clothes for your brand new puppy, even if you bring her home during the winter.  An old blanket or beach towel will suffice.

Once you know that you are bringing home a new pet, it is always a good idea to set up an appointment with your veterinarian of choice for an initial check-up and consultation.  The vet will tell you what you may need in addition to the items I mentioned above.

Having said that, happy pet parenthood, and relish in one of the greatest joys on God’s green earth 🙂

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