Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog the Change for Animals- Responsible Pet Parenting

My son, who has own apartment, is ready to get his first dog of his own. I'm so excited to be a gramma! He's planning to get either a lab, golden retriever, or possibly a retired racing greyhound. He wants to adopt through a local rescue group, and if possible he'd like a puppy or young dog (We've had several of our senior rescue dogs cross over the bridge, so I can't say I blame him for wanting a younger one of his own.). We've been talking a lot about how a dog will change his life and the decisions he'll need to make. What is he going to feed the dog? How is he going to care for the dog while he's at work (9-5)? What about when he wants to go out after work, or has a softball game? How often will he walk the dog? etc. This has led to many interesting discussions about pet parenting. And when better to discuss this than on Blog the Change for Animals--a great day for promoting Responsible Pet Parenting to the next generation. So today, I thought I'd turn things around a bit--


My son with Kelly




















I've given him advice, but since kids so often listen to others more than their (extraordinarily wise, brilliant and never wrong) parents, I'd like to ask, What advice would you give my son? What should he know about responsible pet parenting? What are your best tips for a young man about to set out to adopt his very first best friend?
I'll be sure to give him all your comments.
Thank You!







26 comments:

  1. greyzoned at Angels Bark BlogApril 15, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    This is a great topic!!! So much responsibility when adopting your very own first dog! I do remember always loving dogs but for a long time in my life, I didn't feel I'd be a suitable parent because my lifestyle was too carefree: I took spontaneous road trips at the drop of an idea, I knew I didn't want to be tied down and wanted to be able to come and go as I pleased. I lived like that for a number of years and then I just started to KNOW, to know I was finally ready for a dog. I knew I was starting to settle down. And that's when I adopted my first rescued retired greyhound. That was in 1999 and I'm not 8 greyhounds later! Your son sounds like he has a great love of dogs and it sounds like he's been doing his homework on which breeds suit him. I highly recommend the book, "The Right Dog for You" by Daniel Tortora. Granted, it was written in 1983 and surely there are lots of books out there addressing this issue but I liked how this particular book was organized and it went into great detail on 110 different breeds and their specifics with regard to how to match their compatibility with your own personality and lifestyle. I'm so glad to hear that you are having that conversation with your son! Keep us posted! We'd love to hear what he decides to do. Thanks for a very important topic!

    ReplyDelete
  2. First, congratulations future gramma! Second, it is just so wonderful when young people learn to be responsible pet parents from their parents (like I did!) Finally, my advice would be that your son map out (maybe even literally, on paper) what he envisions the next 10-15 years of his life being like (buying a home? travel? a partner? marriage? kids?) and then have a very serious plan for how his dog will fit into all of those possibilities.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I join @Cascadian Nomads Bethany in congratulating you, Gramma-to-be! What an exciting time...your son's first pet of his own. You're right, there's not a whole lot the younger ones will take to heart from the older folk, and yet - when I first went out on my own, I heard my Dad's dinner-table-discussion pearls of wisdom in my head over and over. What you say will matter, even when it seems like it doesn't. Advice? Love your dog, treat them as you'd want to be treated. (And as for Gramma - I already know you will be there for him when he needs a sitter, helping hand, or some advice) Congrats and enjoy!!
    Thanks for blogging the change for animals,
    KimT
    www.btc4animals.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. WE want to say... Congratulations to the New Grandma!! Just remind him... we need LOTS of TIME with our Peeps. Time fur LOVE and getting Snacks and NAPPING beside our Peeps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats to you and your son. The very first pet of your own is such an important step. I got my first cat as adult when I was 18 and she was with me through college, dating, marriage and several moves. That's one of the most important things to be aware of - you are making a 10-15 year commitment!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's an important one. I volunteer with a rescue, and we often see pets being given up by the owner because the owner's new girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse doesn't like pets or doesn't get along with the specific pets. My tip is this: If you meet a person you think is special, be sure that they love your dog too (and if your dog doesn't like them, that might be a warning sign.) If someone told me, "It's me or the dogs," I would pick my dogs every time! Your dog will always be by your side, so stick by his side as well!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Parenting FurkidsApril 15, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Congratulations, Gramma Peggy! Something I'd tell your son is to make sure the dog he gets becomes VERY well socialized with children. There's no telling how many years from now he might want to get married and want to have some skin-kids as well. There's nothing sadder than a family having a dog that doesn't like the family's new baby. Now, don't you go spoiling that new grandchild too much when you're around it, Gramma Peggy. It's hard to get kids back home after they've been spoiled too much by the Grands.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations! I'm sure your son has quite a head start over other young, first time dog owners as he's been raised by you and taught a sense of responsibility and caring about pets. However, it is a lot different caring for your own. And a *lot* different getting a new dog- especially a young one or puppy- after you're used to the way your existing dogs behave. It's easy to forget the crazy puppy stage or getting-to-know-the-rules stage when you're used to seeing Kelly and Ike as they are now. I would advise against a puppy for a first time, busy young owner. They need a LOT of time and attention. My new puppy is almost 12 weeks old now and is quite the monster. I'm lucky enough to have my retired father at home to take care of him while I work, and I don't know if I could do it otherwise. Housetraining, basic training, keeping him from eating EVERYTHING, socialization... it's taking all my time and energy. It's fun, it's worth it- but I was prepared for it and knew exactly what I was getting myself into. And if you want a puppy especially, you need to give him all your attention for a while. I've been writing this reply for nearly half an hour, because every minute or two I need to get up and redirect Wager away from something he shouldn't be getting into, or praise him for pottying in the right place, etc. (hopefully this all makes sense, as I keep forgetting what I was talking about!) I can't go out for hours at a time. He's my focus. And even then, I have to stop myself from falling into "why can't you be more like Shiloh?" (my adult dog), and reminding myself that Shiloh went through this stage too, and that my attention and efforts are what made him into the great companion he is now. Puppies are great, but think hard about whether you want to or are able to dedicate the extra time and attention they need on top of what every dog deserves. I had a good friend that got a puppy- not exactly on a whim, but I don't think he really thought it through. (I think he also fell into the "dogs are fun to have when I want to spend time with them" category rather than "my dog is a part of my family"). He had fun showing him off and buying cool toys and taking him to the park. But he also worked several part time jobs and loved to go out on weekends and on vacations frequently. The poor lab spent a lot of time in his crate. Yet my friend seemed astounded when the dog grew up and started having behavior problems. He finally rehomed him saying he just didn't have enough time for the dog- I just wish he had realized that before getting him at all!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your son also might consider fostering first, to see if he really enjoys the experience. Some fosters can be quite short-term, which should lessen the "it'll be too hard to give him up" dilemma. Or, I remember reading an article where a college student who wanted to get a dog 'borrowed' a friend's dogs for the weekend. By the end of the weekend, they had changed their mind! I'm a believer in recognizing the worst of it up front- because there are definite downsides to having pets. For most of us, the rewards *SO* outweigh the negatives. But if you can go into it saying "okay, these are the worst parts. I still want to do this anyway!" then you're ready =)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for that great reply with lots of good info. I hate the thought of any dog spending all day in a crate. I'm lucky to work from home (and have offered to babysit his dog!) I know what you're saying about puppies, just the thought of it exhausts me! I'm so happy we have older dogs. Your new puppy is ADORABLE and I'm sure you're doing an awesome job with him.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's a good point about socializing it around children. And it's heartbreaking when a dog loses it's home through no fault of its own. Don't worry, I'll try to be a good gramma!

    ReplyDelete
  12. So true. How they treat your dog should tell you a lot about if they're the kind of person you want to be with.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's so hard for young people to think about 10 years ahead, and he may be in a different job, state, or even married by then. (gasp!) Who knows where he'll be, but he'll certainly make the dog a priority, I'm sure :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you! I hope his new dog will enjoy watching sports on TV, because if so, then they'll get to spend lots of time by his side!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. yup, I've offered to babysit his dog while he's at work! He's a good kid, he listens to his mom and dad most of the time :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. You make such a great point about planning for the future. He has so much ahead of him, and it will be great for him to have his new best friend by his side.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for recommending that book. Greyhounds are sweet, and he's done some research and feels they'd fit his lifestyle. We plan to go meet the local rescue soon. I know you've given yours a wonderful and loving home. I'll keep you posted as he gets his dog, and I know I'll be posting pictures!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't imagine I could offer anything more than what you already have -- by SHOWING him how to provide a good home through your actions. He has learned so much from you and now he'll be able to put that into practice himself. What an awesome gift, Peggy! YOU and Mike did that!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would remind him that a dog can live a long time and he is young and his life will change a lot over the next 15 years. His career could change or take him to another state, he might get married, start a family ...who knows? I think it is important for young people to realize that that adopting a dog or cat is a lifetime commitment. The dog will depend on him and he will need to make sure the dog accompanies him and remains a priority even as his life changes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What an interesting post! I'm sure your son will be a fantastic owner for his dog. A role model like you is worth at least a thousand words of advice.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would suggest signing up for an obedience class, even if he already knows how to train a dog. For me personally, I think obedience classes are a great way to help build a relationship with the dog. It also helps with socialization and exercise. Plus, it's a way to meet other dog owners and ask them questions.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great idea! Good for the pet and the pet parent. And maybe he'll meet a nice girl there...hehe! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awwww thanks that is so nice of you to say! Looking at that sweet doggy face next to you in your avatar I can say for sure the same of you. As for my son, I have to say, he's very loving with our dogs and has watched them for us many times when we've been away. So that's a great start!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you Kim! Thank you for reminding me, it's not so much what we say, but what we do. Kids may seem like they don't always listen, but they're always watching. He's learned a lot by having dogs in the home all his life.

    ReplyDelete
  25. greyzoned at Angels Bark BlogApril 27, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    GREAT!!! Can't wait to hear all about it! Thanks Peggy!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Fantastic topic for Blog the Change, Peggy! I have a feeling that your son will be a wonderful pet parent... he's had a wonderful role model!

    ReplyDelete

Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!

ShareThis