I'd like to officially go on the record and state that some people should not be allowed to own a dog and are best left to care for a houseplant, or better yet, a pet rock. These people fall under the heading of irresponsible.There are indicators, however, that even genuinely good, caring members of society should be wary of when deciding whether or not to bring a canine in their lives. Here are 5 signs indicating you should not be a dog owner:
1. The Protector
"I want a dog to protect my home in case of a burglar." If this is your sole reason for having a dog and you honestly will not have the time, dedication, and attention required to care for a pet, invest in a burglar alarm and/or home security system. Yes, many dogs will protect their human family in a break-in situation, but his or her sole purpose should not be just for protection. Those of you with dogs who are protecting, as long as the dog is loved, fed, and well cared for, more power to you.
2. The Slacker
"I will take the dog to the vet if I see he's sick, but that's it." Please oh please invest in a houseplant if you feel this way. Dogs need year-round care and not just when physical symptoms exist. Often times physical symptoms surface only when an injury/ailment has advanced. If seeing the vet on a regular and/or as-needed basis doesn't sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of pet rocks looking for a good home.
3. The Bandwagon Jumper
"I just watched a dog show on television, and now I really want to get a _______ (insert dog breed here)."
This one causes me the most angst. Some of the most popular breeds are turned over in puppy mills for fast cash. Ask any of the folks who cherish the Dalmatian breed about how the numbers soared due to the popularity of 101 Dalmatians. It is both sad and tragic reality that the most popular breeds are also the most damaged. I always emit a sigh of relief when my favorite breed flies under the pop culture radar. If you want a dog because he seems "cool" on television or you think he would make a good addition to your family, do research first. Talk to credible folks who own that breed, read the background and history and any potential health problems. Visit a dog show and get first hand information from breeders who truly care about the sanctity of the breed.
4. The Sneaky Pete
If your landlord won't allow pets, please on a stack of dog biscuits obey the rules and don't sneak a dog into your residence. Eventually, someone, somehow, somewhere will rat you out and chances are only one living being will suffer: the dog. One can only surmise how many dogs waiting for a home at shelters across the country landed there because someone found out about them. Obey that "no dogs allowed" policy and if a dog is truly your desire, find a way to move and make it happen.
Ask a shelter worker why a pet was dumped there -- you would be amazed at the number of people who say their landlord found out about the dog.
5. The Busy Bee
If you are gone a large percentage of the day (or night) due to work, family commitments or otherwise, it isn't fair to bring a dog into a life of near solitude. Because dogs are pack animals, they thrive with the pack, i.e.: you. Without mental stimulation and left to his or her own solitary confinement, a dog will slowly lose his or her spirit. If you really want a dog and feel bad about leaving him or her alone, consider a doggie daycare or in-home pet sitter to keep your pooch busy and stimulated while you bring home the bacon.
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