Daryl Lindsey
May 25, 2017 2:51 pm

When I brought home Zoey, an 8-week-old, mixed-breed rescue pup with the biggest, floppiest ears you ever did see, my entire life changed. Any free time was spent playing with my new dog, training her, socializing her to new experiences, and spending copious amounts of time on Google anytime she did something I found to be even the least bit abnormal.

There’s no doubt about it: I am her dog mom, and she is my dog child. Our bond is unbreakable. She is an amazing part of my life.

But she’s a lot of work, some of which I wasn’t entirely prepared for and had to adapt to quickly. Being responsible for a living, breathing thing (that will attempt to eat or chew on everything in sight) is no joke and comes with a mountain of responsibility. However, having a dog is totally worth it, and I recommend it to everyone.

If you have puppy fever, here are 10 signs that you’re ready to get a dog:

1You’ve been thinking about it for a while

If you’ve had it in mind for months (or years!) that you want a dog and the urge isn’t going away, chances are bringing a dog into your life is the right choice. You just need to make sure your lifestyle is suited for #DogParentLife. (See below).

2Everyone else in your home is on board

If you have a partner, relative, or roommate who is less than cool with the idea of a canine companion, you need to stop and re-evaluate your decision. This is a real life you’ll be responsible for, which means EVERYONE you share a residence with needs to know what they’re signing up for — and be OK with it.

3You have an outdoor space nearby

A big house with a big, fenced backyard isn’t always feasible, but if you plan to bring a pooch into your family, you need to make sure they get adequate outdoor time. Is there a place you can bring them several times a day to do their business and play? Is your street dog-friendly and walkable so your pup can get some exercise? Only consider bringing a dog into your life if you can give this to them on a daily basis.

4You’re financially ready

Newsflash: Puppy parenting is a HUGE financial commitment. After the upfront adoption/purchase costs, shots, microchipping, and a spay/neuter costs, you still have the monthly cost of food, pet insurance, and regular veterinary costs to looks forward to. If you don’t purchase pet insurance, there’s always the chance that huge vet bills will pop up. For example, Zoey got sick with a lung infection at 6-months-old, and a trip to the doggy hospital cost us $1,600 out-of-pocket. Ouch.

5You have extra time on your hands

Listen. If you don’t have time to train, walk, and play with your dog, you should not get a dog. Can you commit to 30+ minutes a day for walks? Puppy classes on the weekends? Playing fetch at the park, or taking them on hikes? Take a hard look at your schedule, because your dog will be demanding.

6You have the urge to nurture something

Nurturing is a lot of work, but it’s rewarding work. If you’re feeling the urge to put in the effort (and receive a lot of love in return), you’re on the right track.

7You’re OK with your home being “less than perfect”

Your dog will make keeping a clean house infinitely more difficult. Muddy paws on the carpet? Toilet paper strewn around the house? Dog hair in and on literally everything? And let’s not forget the inevitable accidents that will occur if your puppy is still learning proper house-training. Make sure you’re ready to accept these things as part of regular life before you bring a dog home.

8You think stuff is just stuff

The first week we brought Zoey home, she got into my closet and chewed up a beloved pair of leather-and-wood heeled clogs from Anthropologie. Since then, there have been countless similar incidents: Goodbye couch cushion, chair leg, and husband’s passport! You’ll need to accept that these things will happen while you work with your dog on training — and that stuff is just stuff.

9You’ve done your research

If you’re contemplating a canine, you better be sure you do your homework! Different breeds will be suited to different lifestyles. If you live 12 stories up and aren’t home for most of the day, super-active shepherd breeds or working dogs are probably not the right choice for you. Make sure you’ve read up on the types (and sizes) of dogs you’re interested in, and you know what you’re getting yourself into.

10You looooooove dogs!

Duh. If you feel the urge to squeal with delight and pet every dog you pass on the street, that’s a pretty solid sign it’s time for one of your own — if, that is, you’ve made sure you have the time, money, and patience to do it right.

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