Sunday, February 26, 2012

There's No Such Thing As A Perfect Dog-Taking On A Pet In Retirement (or any time)

In the past few weeks I've been posting less. Many of the posts I've made have to do with the new members of my family, Trevor and Wilson.  Folks who have read this blog for awhile may remember that a year ago, I said goodbye to my beagle, who was then eighteen years old.  Almost a year later I said farewell to his brother, an eighteen year old lab.

At that time, I thought I might wait for awhile to bring new members into the family.  Instead, I found myself missing the pitter patter of little paws.  First one dog entered our lives (less than a month after the previous fellow left us), and then a second, must younger dog came along.  The latter is a fourteen month old puppy, who has at time, tested my patience-and my house proofing ability.

Readers who are not dog folks (at least currently) may wonder "why?". Why put up with the bad behavior?  Why bring new four legged members into the family at the time when your lifestyle is changing? It's true that dog ownership requires a certain commitment at any age of life.  Many retirees choose to leave the responsibility of pet ownership behind. Others add pets to the family for companionship for security.

If you're considering adding a pet to the mix, consider this.  A pet, especially a dog is a commitment.  While I would never put a dog above people, pets require long term love, training and some expense.  As I said on another blog recently, all four of my dogs were abandoned (more than once) by people and families unprepared to train them. One family got rid of my beagle when he was a puppy because he chewed and howled when the sirens went by.  My current beagle was rejected because he had a malignant tumor removed and no one wanted to deal with either the expense or the emotional issues.

This is not to say that dogs are not worth while. My dogs provide companionship, love and an early warning system. I would not live with out them.  I also would not say that dogs inhibit retirement.  I have taken week long vacations both with and without my dogs.  I do have some schedule requirements, but these would be more difficult to meet when working that at this point (I remember running home from work, feeding the dog and letting him out............and then running back to the restaurant to meet for a late dinner). My husband used to say that the kids left the next, but we still had the dogs!

I took on two dogs while living on a fixed retirement income.  For me it was the right thing to do.  Will it increase my costs?  Yes, mainly when I travel, although should the beagle have cancer again, I'll need to have a conversation with the vet.  Do they require a commitment of time?  Absolutely.   This is not a difficult issue for me, as I am mainly home throughout the day.  Are they worth the extra time, attention, cost (and yes, the price of a new kindle)?  Without a doubt.


  1. You make really good points about the joys of having a pet and most importantly about the commitment. When I was still working long hours (hubby still works full time now) we decided not to replace a dog who died. Our youngest child left for college about the same time so for 8 years we had an empty nest and didn't have to rush home as you described. Life is different now as I work only occasionally and we adopted a rescue dog. She is a joy and at times a challenge and definitely a cost center. We are happy we did but really thought about it first.

  2. We have been searching for a cocker spaniel to add to our retirement home for over 3 months, and there are none to be found locally. I don't know why female cocker pups became rarer than $3 gas, but they are.

    Now, we are looking at shipping a puppy in from Montana. That scares me. Spending all that money, sight unseen, and putting the dog through the stress of a plane flight wouldn't be my choice. But Betty wants to move forward, so this seems to be our only choice.

  3. Bob I have to admit I would probably not take in a dog unseen. However, we have always adopted only rescue dogs.........

  4. The kennel provides all sorts of guarantees, a microchip, first set of shots, and the shipping container.

    We have to have a cocker due to allergy problems my wife has with dogs. Rescue shelters simply don't have puppies that are an acceptable breed.

  5. Life would be dull without our little beagle, will always have a dog I am thinking

  6. Well, we just paid our money and will have our newest family member here on March 6th. I see several fture blog posts!

  7. About half of my friends are dog people and the other half arent. The ones who are dog people, however, could not live without their pets--they are kind of like children to them and they often need the dogs more than the dogs need them. The dogs give them a reason to get up each morning!


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