Is It Time to Invest in a Furry Companion?

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Many of us have probably wanted a dog. Some of us have decided to wait and some of us, like myself, have decided to get one while still in college.

If you are unsure or skeptical about getting one, then don’t get one just yet. Also, you should avoid getting one just because you found one that’s adorable. But I believe that if you know deep down in your heart you can fully commit yourself to your new buddy, then you can go for it. I did, and I don’t regret it. I have never second guessed my decision. I know it makes planning to move on from my time at Edinboro University a little harder, but it’s something I’ve committed to and will deal with. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t get worried about what’s going to happen after I graduate in May.

One of the things that I’m worried about is moving. My dog, Roxas, isn’t even two years old, so maybe he will adapt faster than I think. But he isn’t a fan of car rides, so if I move across the states to California, I have to figure something out. I’ll probably have to dip into my savings and see about some anxiety medication. He’s also terrified of cars, so it might be a task taking him for a walk in a city.

If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, keep in mind you may move after you graduate and it might add some stress in your life that you may be able to wait on.

Another thing I worry about and what you should keep in mind is if you will be at home long enough to give him the attention he deserves. Right now, I work anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week and have class until almost 8 or 9 p.m. during the week. He stays with my parents and plays with their dog to keep him company, and I make sure we have our bonding time when I get home and on the weekends, so it works out.

I recommend that you think deeply on this. If you know you’ll be having someone live with you or have a place full off roommates, then perhaps you’ll be okay.

I also want you to be aware of the difficulty when it comes to looking for an apartment, especially in Erie, that allows dogs or any type of pet. I had a couple of friends with a dog that went apartment searching awhile back, and it took them months to finally find a place that even allowed dogs. Even when finding a place that allowed dogs, those places tended to be more expensive, with higher rent and some with a security deposit that is worth a month’s rent.

When it comes to vet visits and shots, I suggest you shop around before just picking one out of the blue. When I was growing up, my parents took our dogs to a vet just because it was a few blocks away, but with Roxas, I drive from Erie out to a vet in Waterford, where my parents have told me it’s far less expensive.

The first year or two will probably be the most expensive when it comes to making sure your dog is up-to-date on all of its vaccines. And whatever you do, do not skip out on these vaccines. Roxas was just a week off from his vaccine before he contracted the deadly parvovirus. To keep him alive, it took a minimum of $2,000 and lots of luck. It’s safer and far cheaper to get your dog vaccinated then taking a risk on, saving just a couple hundred dollars.

You will also want to keep up with their heartworm medication. I use Trifexis, which is around $160 for a year supply.

Plus, all dogs need to be licensed. If you get them microchipped, you can pay a one-time fee to get them licensed for the rest of their life. If your dog is fixed, the price of the license is cheaper, from $50 down to $30. If not chipped, then you’re looking at around $8 (not-fixed) to $6 (fixed) annually.

A decision you will need to make is whether to get your dog fixed or not. With my vet, it was around $350 to get Roxas fixed and microchipped.

Next is keeping your dog groomed. Some dogs require more care than others. Keeping your dog clean and nails trimmed will be something you need to do. Whether you pay for a groomer or do it yourself is up to you. Prices here vary on the dog’s size and temperament, as well as location. I found a dog wash, which is about $10, to be the best for me to take Roxas to get cleaned.

Finally, you need to buy them food which depends on the size of the dog you get, but for Roxas, who is 70 pounds, it’s about $40 a month. Your final costs are whatever you can and feel like spending on them such as: toys, treats, pillows, leashes and collars.

Keep these things in consideration when deciding if it’s time for you to buy or adopt a dog. If you can afford it and have the time to give them the proper care, then go for it. Otherwise, wait until you are more financially stable. There is no rush. You’ll come to a point in your life when you know it’s time.

When you do, you’ll have a best friend for life. You’ll work the entire day or be gone for a few days at a time on a business trip, but the second you unlock the door to your place, your lovable companion will become the happiest thing on this planet and greet you with unimaginable joy.

Andy Vest is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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