I have to chuckle at this quote from the article entitled "So You're Thinking About Getting a Dog," written by Houzz contributor Alison Hodgson. It's true, dogs can be messy. But I wouldn't trade having dogs in the house for anything. Despite the ever-accumulating dog hair and dust, the scratch marks on the wood floors, nose prints on the glass and occasional throw up on the rugs (why can't they get sick on the tile floor?), our dogs are a constant source of laughter and joy. Sure, I wish they could help with the daily housekeeping routine rather than adding to it. But ultimately our dogs are worth the extra work. They're always happy to see us, they stay by our side when we're sick, and they do funny things that make us smile when we've had a bad day. What could be better?
Adding Ella (above) to our pack has ultimately been a very good thing. However, her first week with us was difficult. To be honest, I was beginning to think it wasn't going to work. I even called Ella's foster mom in tears. There were times Ella tried to be the dominant dog over Phoebe and Henry, which worried me. But after a couple of reprimands (from me, not from the dogs), she got the picture and has behaved herself ever since. Ella also had separation anxiety the first two weeks, which resulted in things getting knocked over, scratches on wooden blinds and furniture, and hours of endless barking. It was her pitiful barking that was most upsetting to me. But looking back on it, adding a third dog could have been so much more challenging than it was.
I'm pleased to say that Ella has settled in nicely. The three dogs get along great. Instead of barking and panicking when we leave, Ella now sleeps during the day, sometimes curled up on the guest bed with Henry (it can be difficult to train an older dog who is used to sleeping on beds and sofas out of the habit, so we conceded. A towel on the bed helps keep hair off the quilt).
Last Thursday, as required by our county shelter, Ella was spayed -- at 10 years of age, poor girl! Additionally she needed to have two mammary gland tumors and a few other growths surgically removed. We also had her teeth cleaned. They were in bad shape; I doubt her previous owner took any interest in preventive care. The vet had to extract 11 teeth, which I thought was a lot. But did you know a dog has 42 teeth and will manage just fine even when many of them have to be removed? The morning after Ella's surgery, she gobbled down her breakfast with no difficulty.
Pet ownership is a big responsibility. It requires a time commitment (our dogs enjoy long walks and hikes nearly every day, thanks to their dedicated dog daddy) and a financial commitment (Ella's day at the vet set us back more than $500), but the payback is great. Read Alison Hodgson's article on Houzz.com for four questions to ask yourself before getting a dog.
Lastly, I'd like to encourage you to adopt from your local shelter rather than buying from a breeder or pet store. The larger shelters have literally hundreds of animals coming through their doors each month, and there is bound to be one that will make a great addition to your family. And because many people these days are having to surrender their pets due to financial problems or change of residence, there are more purebred dogs (like Ella) showing up at shelters.
Do you have a pet adoption story to share? If so, please leave a comment!
Thanks for reading this (long) post. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some vacuuming to do.