Owning a dog is a big deal, that’s no secret.
Pet ownership is (and should be) a big decision with many factors. It goes far beyond just wanting a cute puppy to play with. Making the commitment to take care of another living being besides yourself can teach you a lot about yourself, about unconditional love, about responsibility, and even about making mistakes. All things considered, owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Here are 7 commitments you make when you own a dog
1. You commit to being a responsible dog owner.
Being responsible isn’t always easy, it’s true. But it’s incredibly important when the thing you are responsible for is a dog. Dogs love you unconditionally, rely on you completely, and trust you with their lives. It’s so important to maintain and deserve that trust. Being a responsible dog owner means providing your dog with the essentials they need to live a happy and comfortable life. It also means consistently learning and asking questions, so you know what’s best for your dog.
2. You commit to keeping your dog for their whole life.
In an ideal world, getting a pet would always mean keeping them for their whole life. Unfortunately, here at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), we know this isn’t always the reality. When you own a dog, you must be prepared to keep them for their whole life. Dogs are not something you get “until” a certain event in your life, such as moving or having a child. Those of us who own a pet know that they quickly become part of your family. If you wouldn’t dream of giving grandma away to a shelter, don’t do it with Fido either!
There are many steps you can take before making the decision to surrender your pet. If you need help or resources, contact HSSA’s admissions staff at 520-327-6088, ext. 105.
3. You commit to advocating for your dog.
Advocating for your dog means always doing what is best for them. You are your dog’s voice, since they don’t have one. You are responsible for their well-being and quality of life, and you also make every decision for them throughout their life. That’s a very serious reality. Luckily, advocating for your dog is something that you can be great at, as long as you do your research, stay aware, and ask questions.
4. You commit to improving your life.
It’s not just your dog that benefits from your companionship. Your canine companion is more than just a pet, they’re a friend. Studies have shown that owning a dog improves your mental and physical health. It can also help you get active by exercising with your dog, socialize at the dog park or anywhere else dog lovers go, and increase your quality of life. Service dogs can also provide you with assistance and support (physical and emotional), if you are in need. The benefits are truly endless.
5. You commit to spending time with your dog.
Spending time with someone who lives in the same house as you is easy. In fact, it’s practically unavoidable! Luckily, dogs make the best roommates. Who doesn’t love spending time with a dog?! Your dog needs the interaction, too. Making the commitment to dedicate part of your day to your dog every day is an important part of being a responsible dog owner. This includes (but is certainly not limited to) walks, cuddling, and playtime.
6. You commit to animal welfare.
Animal welfare starts in your home, but extends far beyond your four walls. Responsible dog owners know that you are ultimately responsible for your pet’s welfare, and you create the conditions in which your dog lives. Most people who love pets also love and care about all other animals. Being an advocate for animals everywhere is a rewarding, at times heartbreaking, and always important part of being a human being. How much or how little you choose to do is up to you.
7. You commit to a lifetime of love.
The love that a dog can provide is unmatched by any other living being. It is a truly unconditional love, a strong love, and a selfless love. Loving and being loved by a dog is joyful and fulfilling. They are part of our families. They are our best friends. Making the commitment to this kind of love is the best commitment you can make.
Thank you so much for reading our September series for Responsible Dog Ownership Month. If you missed them, don’t forget to check out the other posts in the series, Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?, 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Your Dog, How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?, and What It Really Means to Advocate for Your Dog.
What does being a responsible dog owner mean to you? Leave us a comment below and let us know.