I grew up with dogs, and when it came down to me creating my own home-away-from-home, I always knew I’d sooner or later find myself with a fuzzball. Thankfully, I live in an apartment complex that welcomes furry friends. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have stalked the Tampa Bay Humane Society website along with Craigslist ads about dogs for sale. My desire to find a dog to walk and feed and pick-up after him only grew more and more intense as the months went by. But then I saw a photo of “Barney” on the Tampa Bay Humane Society’s website. Without saying a word I turned my laptop around to show my roommate, Margaret this adorable little guy. We agreed to go the next day to meet him.
Before I give away the ending to this exciting tale, I had made a list of requirements that both a canine and myself would need in order to let myself take on such a life altering step in both of our lives. This became a loosely-binding contract I’ve had with myself upon my search for the ultimate dog.
Requirements for my Future Canine:
-Must be a smaller breed- I stated this for a few reasons 1.) Smaller dogs=smaller poops to clean up 2.) I live in an apartment complex, there’s enough room, but it isn’t fair for a larger dog that needs to run freely to be cooped up in an apartment all day long 3.) I wouldn’t want a dog to overpower me, even if he wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’d know it and he’d know it. 4.) I have family who live thousands of miles away. God forbid there was an emergency and I’d have to go home, I’d like that security knowing I could easily take my little guy with me if I had to
-Must be friendly
-No known histories of illness, I’m a college student; I’m not on the loosest of budgets.
-Must be spayed/neutered
-On a personality scale, my dog needs to be calm, cool and collected. If he’s too high-energy, then he’ll probably be miserable. If he’s too mellow, then we might both be miserable. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with age. Ages 1-4 would be ideal.
-(Most importantly) Must be a rescue. I have seen far too many ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan to know better. But really, I have adopted dogs both from the Humane Society and from breeders. From my experiences, the dogs that my family has rescued are well behaved and have far less health problems. Also, every dog is spayed/neutered when they come to the Humane Society.
Requirements for Myself:
-Financially, I need to be prepared for vet visits, food, grooming, medications, toys, the $300 pet deposit my apartment requires, and anything else that may come along with having a dog.
-Personally, I need to be in a good place. I can’t be emotionally unstable and have a dog to seek refuge when I’m feeling down. My priorities need to be set.
-My roommate and I need to be on the same level in order for a third mouth to feed. We talked about getting a dog here and there and I would show her pictures of dogs to adopt and vise versa but we always went back and forth on it. Some days, we’d say “ugh I can’t handle myself, how can I handle a dog?!” We need to jump off that metaphorical bridge together.
-I needed to have time for a dog. My schedule fluctuates like any other college students’. I need to ensure that my pet will have more than enough time with me- I'd even be okay if he got sick of me from time to time.
While I admit that these requirements are specific and leave little room for error, I took most of them seriously when I found my pup. It wouldn’t be fair to you or to your future fluff-ball if you compromised and didn’t first think about what you need. I’m certainly not saying that you should use my list for yourself, but these are things that were important for me.
What'd be important for you? Please feel free to comment! :-]