To Add or Not to Add

April 2, 2011

by Debbie McMullen with Pawsitive Reactions • November 18th • has one comment already! Everyone is different. We all have stories to tell about the dogs that we have acquired in our lives. Some of us go to shelters or rescue groups when we get the urge to fill a void. Some of us go to breeders. Some of us do both at different times in our lives. Some of us simply end up keeping a dog that we found or the one who found us. Some of us fail as foster mom’s (or dad’s!) and keep a dog who was supposed to be temporarily in our lives but should that really be considered as failing? Some of us simply can’t resist an email with a sad face in need. The stories are endless.The criteria that each of us use to decide that another crew member is an option differ as much as the ways that we add the new pup. So many things can make a difference in whether the decision is an easy one or a hard one. Possessing a desire to fill a void left in one’s heart after having lost a crew member is usually one of the easy decisions. So is feeling so comfortable with the number you currently have in your life that an addition would not create unrest. Having dogs who are super dog friendly makes thoughts of the more the merrier easier as well.

There are many things that should factor into the decision to add if none of the above situations apply to you. One of the most important considerations is whether you can financially afford to add another crew member. Food, toys, beds, supplies, and vet visits all add up. It is important to be realistic as to whether an addition would create a hardship on you or not.

Time is another consideration. Do you have time to add more duties to your life? This is an especially important consideration if the new addition you are considering is a puppy. Puppies take a lot of time and energy to raise properly and rightly so! The breed that you are considering adding is important as well as some breeds are naturally more active than others.

Aside from the previously mentioned considerations, how your current crew approaches having a new dog around is important to note! If they are not at all welcoming, then that is something you should be working on modifying before you contemplate an addition to your crew.

If they are welcoming in most scenarios, then that is one less con that you have to consider. Simply taking into consideration the best personality type to add to your crew is the best route to success in this case. If you have a mix of males and females, you should consider the current dynamic and whether one sex might be a better choice than another. If you are unsure of the answer to that question, enlist a dog behavior savvy friend or hire a professional to give an opinion.

Having senior dogs in your home creates a special situation to consider, especially if you are contemplating adding a very young dog to your crew. You must be very cognizant of keeping your senior dogs physically safe and secure while still allowing a young dog enough exercise and stimulation. Making sure that you are up to such a task will ensure your best success.

Make sure that you take all facets of adding a new crew member into consideration. I recently had to do just this. A close friend has an oops litter (not something I condone but it truly was an accident) and the breed mix is not a pairing that is likely to ever be repeated and includes one of my favorite breeds. The mother dog is a favorite of mine and of a delightful temperament. Three of my dogs adore puppies and would be very good with an addition that young. The fourth would be accepting enough to deal with. But among my considerations is the fact that in my house, I do everything! I am the sole human present so I have a lot on my plate. I also have a difficult foster dog living with me at present with no concrete leads on her placement prospects at present. Add to that, being self employed is not a secure income at times and you have what I call not the best timing to add a crew member.

Should perfect timing always matter? No, because life doesn’t always happen according to our self-imposed schedules and many of our best memories are created when we let life just happen. But I am nothing if not practical. And my biggest blockade is the presence of the foster dog. So at this writing, the puppies are just our weeks old and the decision is leaning towards no. But could that change? I honestly don’t know.

I do know that I am comfortable with my crew as it stands. I am also not especially eager to take on the work of a puppy, especially a puppy of such lineage that will need much socialization and expertise. As previously mentioned, we all have our criteria that will differ. We each must make our own decisions on changing our household dynamics. But taking all facets of the consequences of a decision into consideration will give each of us the best chance of living happily with such a decision. The results of my particular dilemma remain to be seen. Stay tuned.


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1 Comment

  1. caninesoul

    Nice post!

    There are plenty of reasons to adopt senior dogs, there are a lot who have a clean bill of health who just need a home to call their own. Sadly, not many people adopt adult dogs, let alone “senior” dogs. I always wonder what we can do to educate people that senior dogs have many great qualities that make them great pets. I try to steer them away from the negatives, and focus on the positives.

    Sadly, it isn’t just senior dogs that tend to be neglected, even black dogs -regardless of age, tend to be adopted before dogs of other shades. I wish that more people would adopt based on the dog’s personality than their appearance.

    Sadly, that brings us to the issue that most people who want to adopt a dog don’t even know what they’re looking for.. more people should be educated on how to find a dog that is the perfect fit for them. It’s not like buying a car, or a pair of shoes. This is a companion that will be with you (hopefully) for the rest of their life!