Show us the picture of a cute puppy and we melt. Have a friendly dog near us and we will crouch down to scratch its ears and talk "doggie talk." Our youngest daughter was thisclose to getting an adorable puppy in June. But, circumstances changed and it didn't happen.
Every few months we revisit the same debate: should we get another dog? Some of things we consider when deciding to add a pet to our satisfying retirement lifestyle include:
- as we lose our mobility in later years how does the pet get proper exercise and daily walks?
- if eventually moving to a housing arrangement that doesn't take pets, then what?
- the costs associated with owning a dog can be substantial. Can we afford it? Even a healthy dog will add close to $1,000 a year to our expenses.
Of course, there is always the option of taking vacations with the dog. But that really changes the experience. Taking a dog restricts where you can stay, how you go out for meals, what attractions you can visit, and the times of year when such travel is possible. An RV would make it easier, but that isn't in the budget either.
On the plus side, the health benefits of owning a loving pet have been proven. Petting a dog or having one snuggled up against you on the sofa can lower stress. The companionship and unconditional love are welcome at any stage of life. The grandkids would love for us to have a dog. All that makes $1,000 a year sound like a bargain.
So far our back-and-forth on the subject has led us to either, "we'll discuss that again later," or " let's hold off while we still plan on making longer trips. A dog would be better when we are staying closer to home."
Both positions make sense. But, both mean waiting another 7-10 years. At that point we are likely to be moving to a condo or smaller place with no backyard and limited play areas. Is that fair to the animal? A dog would love the spacious backyard at our current home....should we take advantage of that while we can?
Do you see our dilemma? This is not a simple decision of "we love dogs, dogs love us, life is short, just do it." Or is it? Are we over-analyzing this decision?
I can't promise we'll follow what the majority says, but I would love you input. Pets change your life and are a major responsibility, but......