Puppy Puppy Puppy

September 27, 2010 · 5 comments

Ok, so I’m sorta tired, but not necessarily in the physical sense.   If you’re just tuning in, I posted the trip report from Saturday’s night hike below.   You can also find it here at the forum, if you want to read the comment thread of chop-busting.

I’ve been thinking about getting a puppy lately.  A pit bull puppy, because pits are the kind of dogs I like to rescue.  The ones that really need rescuing are 1-3 years old, but I’ve done that before and don’t know that I have the time or inclination to teach an old(er) dog new tricks.  I’m still boarding Laila Jo Connolly as well, so I don’t need the added stress of a dog that might not be cat-friendly.  A puppy, I believe, would be ok with the cat – or at least learn how to be after a couple of claw-swipes on the nose.

I’ve never raised a puppy before, so every dog I’ve ever had has always been someone else’s dog first – and if they became my dog, chances are that person didn’t treat the dog particularly well beforehand, because the only dogs I’ve ever had have been rescues (mostly pits).

I posted a few weeks ago that I was thinking about getting a dog.  I mentioned this in conversation to my friend Laurie, who later emailed me (during the course of our separate email conversation) a link to the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge with the name of a dog she had been considering adopting.

Now, I never look at “dog porn” because I always end up wanting to adopt pretty much every damned dog I see.  But I couldn’t exactly be like “yeah Laurie, that’s a cute dog” without actually looking at the picture.  Well, I ended up stumbling upon the cutest little pit bull puppy EVAR (named Ripley) and figured he was perfect.  So, before doing anything rash like calling the shelter at 1AM, I emailed my sister a link and asked her for her opinion.  Katie responded that he’s the cutest thing evar and that I should definitely adopt him – so I told her that I was serious and not to f*ck with me on this one.  Katie responded that she doesn’t joke about sh*t like dog adoptions and that I really should look into adopting Ripley.  I called that afternoon, but he had already been adopted.

So I then spent too much time looking at dog porn at work, emailing links back and forth with Katie and Kerry (a girl who works in my office and will one day be my work spoose).  So now I’m all dog porned-out and really don’t know what to do.

I won’t get into all the messy details of the cute little puppies I’ve been looking at – you can go to petfinder.com yourself and cry your eyes out too, if you’re into emotional masochism – like I am, apparently.  I’m torn.  I’d really like to get a puppy – one that will grow up to be a big strong dog who can come hiking with me and share in all the fun I have – but I’m not sure if it’s the best idea or not.  And my mind is so mobius-twisted about the whole thing that I don’t know up from down, straight from crooked.

I’m sure that I’d be a good human to a dog – I’ve had dogs before and know how to take care of them (I’m going to leave the sappy emotional stuff out of this post – you can read between the lines for that – because this is a manly-man’s blog where everyone has Y chromosomes except for my readers); I know how much responsibility is entailed in adopting a dog – especially a puppy.  The thing I’m torn about – and this (if you promise not to call it melodrama) goes to the very core of my existence – is that I don’t know if I want to add that particular element of responsibility to my current life or not.

Getting a dog means I place it before work on the priority-scale.  That means I have to be home at more regular hours than I usually am – I have to touch base regularly to take the dog out.  I have no doubt that I can do this, but I’m not sure if it’s the best idea for me work-wise right now.  Rationally, getting a dog probably isn’t the best idea.  Right now I’m extremely mobile and my schedule is incredibly flexible.  If I need to stay in the office from 8AM to midnight, I can do that.  But is this really a good thing for me?  Would having that particular type of responsibility in my life put things more in perspective, work-wise?

My new gig is a good one and I’m making a lot more money than I did at the last one – which means that if I do things right, I’ll be able to pay off my student loans quicker than before.  And I’m all about unloading this debt.  Do I think that having choosing to adopt a dog will ruin this in one fell swoop?  No.  But I do think it’s a slippery slope:  what’s next on the list of things I’ll place before work on my priority-scale?

Thinking non-rationally for a moment, having a dog is an immense source of joy in one’s life.  And, as much as I am loathe to admit it, I’ve been pretty lonely for the last few years.  Rationally, the answer is (seemingly quite obviously) to just put more effort into internet dating – join Match.com, send more emails out on the sites to which I already belong, go to new grocery stores and laundromats and hit on chicks there.  But I’ve not done a very good job of any of these things so far, have I?

Another thought would be that if having a dog would make me happy, I should do that because I’m more likely to be successful if I’m happy than if I’m lonely.

There are plenty of other non-rational arguments – such as I’d really like to have a dog – but I’m not used to giving much weight to non-rational arguments.  So I’m in a total quandry; a pickle, if you will.

Any thoughts?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 27, 2010 at 23:20

Here’s my $.02, as some one who has spent a lot of time involved in shelters and rescue.

I’ve had dogs who were “older” rescues (3.5 years +) and puppies from the same breed. Older rescues are INFINITELY easier than puppies when there is a good dog – person match. Some puppies, no matter how you raise them, will be aggressive with other animals. I’ve seen this happen with dogs that were only days old when they came into the shelter. With older dogs, responsible rescues have cat-tested them, and they may even have been fostered in houses with cats. After the first few weeks of adjusting to a new environment, a dog who is three or four years old will require far less attention and supervision than a puppy, unless there are behavioral issues. (That should be part of your consideration in the adoption process.)

There is also the ethical argument that puppies always get adopted. Always. The older a dog gets, the harder it is to adopt out, especially pits and pit mixes.

From what you’re saying about work and commitments, that will make it challenging, but definitely not impossible, to give that dog a good home. Keep in mind your dog is often going to be alone for nine or ten hours at a time, unless you’ve got a doggie day care arrangement. Even with a dog walker -and ideally one who could be on call for late nights- your dog would be alone for a lot of the day, which is not the best environment for a puppy. IMHO, the ideal dog for you would be maybe three or four years old and mellow enough to be happy snoozing on the couch most of the day, but young and strong enough to enjoy a good hike on the weekends.

As for the other arguments, regardless of what is happening in your personal life, there is no love like dog love. It is its own magic. I think you know that. :)


Katie September 28, 2010 at 09:34

Adopting my dog was the best thing I’ve ever done. I did it at not the best time work-wise, but I made it work. I have a job similar to yours where I can either work 40 hours a week or 100 hours a week depending on what I want to do. I did wind up cutting back but that was a good thing for me because I am a recovering workaholic.

He was a puppy when I got him and had a bunch of issues that the shelter never told me about so it was definitely a challenge and more work than I was expecting. I had sleepless nights and frustration, but sooooo much joy I can’t even tell you.

I wouldn’t trade the experience or the dog for anything in the world and he’s made me a much happier person.


The Naked Redhead September 28, 2010 at 10:15

Oh, get the dog already! Sheesh, breaking my poor heart here!

Look, I was the same way as you and I already HAD a dog. The issue was whether or not we’d add a second, so we have a little boarder at our place as I type. So far, it’s been great, and I’m so glad we’ve been able to give another neurotic mutt a good, warm, kind place to live. To me, that’s what it’s about at the end of the day…I can give her a better home than what she had, and if I don’t take her, who will? Will it be someone who won’t be gentle but firm with her (she is a nervous little thing)? Someone who will scream and yell when she cowers, instead of patiently earning her trust? Someone who “gets rid of her” when she has one accident too many?


I agree with @Lauren. Get an older dog from a shelter or rescue that gets to know its animals. The workers and volunteers will be able to match you pretty closely with an animal who would gel well with you and your lifestyle. Most places screen ahead of time to whether a dog likes cats, children, loud noises, is playful, shy, will “need work” or whatever. Just do it…you’re right, a dog really will make you happy, and will help you balance your life a bit. And remember, if you won’t rescue that dog, who will?

(Of course, please ignore that my last question could open the door to taking in every flea bitten, three-legged, blind and deaf mongrel. Which is why I can’t look at shelter websites myself anymore.)

Good luck and keep us posted!


Brian September 29, 2010 at 14:07

Go for it Ted…I mean who doesn’t enjoy picking up shit?


Elizabeth September 29, 2010 at 18:27

I say get the dog. But I’m on an animal-shelter-browsing binge myself these days even though I have no hope of ever adopting. At least in the near future. I’m also more of a cat person myself (unfortunately my parents hate cats, and my brother is highly allergic) BUT, if dogs are your thing, then go for it. Maybe your dog-yearning is subconsciously telling you that maybe you need a more regular schedule in regards to work and etc.? And who knows, maybe instead of the coffee shops or grocery stores, you can hit on cute girls walking cute dogs in the park. right?…


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