married life // pets

Pets

Images by kalyxcornucopia and Vanessa Rossi.

When we lived in Manhattan, there was a pet store just down the block from us. Whenever we would pass by, we’d stop and look at the puppies rolling around in their cages, and always theoretically wish we could have one. One day I even went in and asked to hold a tiny toy Dachsund, who immediately snuggled up in my arms like she was ready to come home with me. I think that was the moment I started really, really wanting a dog.

Growing up, my sister and I were constantly surrounded by animals (we grew up on a farm). There were the usual farm suspects — chickens to feed, horses to ride, and there were even a few peacocks roaming around sometimes. And then there were the animals that were more like pets — there was always a cat who had just had a litter of kittens, and always a dog or two. I kind of took it for granted, I think.

Now that Mr. Lovely and I are in California with a little more space, both of us are absolutely itching to get a dog. I see people on our street every day out walking their pups, and I find myself wanting to be one of them! I’d love to come home and have a little tail wagging to greet me at the door, and have an extra body to snuggle up with us while we’re watching Downton Abbey on the couch. It’s lovely to have a pet to care for.

Do you have pets? I think that we’re hesitant to dive in because we know that having a pet is a huge responsibility and requires things like a semi-steady schedule, which always seems to elude us. (That, and I always hear horror stories about pets who fall ill and rack up thousands of dollars in veterinary bills…) But I suppose it’s just like adding a member to the family; when a need arises, you take care of it, and make things work one way or another.

In any case, I’d love to hear your input, or hear about your pets! (Links to photos of your little buddies are totally welcome!) xoxo


25 comments

  1. Emily on said:

    Such a big decision to make! We settled on a cat because we travel back to America for long stretches and we can’t bring him with us. Luckily we found a nice older neighbor who minds him while we’re gone for a month or more! It’s been different having a cat in suburban Dublin than in rural Maine – he keeps coming back all banged up and is currently at the vet from another scrap. I think Dublin cats are tougher! Can you get pet insurance in America? It’s only €45 for the year here and keeps our emergency costs down :)

    • chelsea on said:

      Oh wow! I don’t know the situation with pet insurance in the US but I’ll definitely look into it! (And how handy that you have such a sweet neighbor to watch your cat for you — that’s awesome.)

  2. Yelle on said:

    We really want a pet (a dog!) too! For us it is also a schedule issue. I am just finishing up my bachelors, he just got his masters, we’re both getting settled in our new jobs and we haven’t gotten down even to a weekly routine. We also travel a lot, take a lot of weekend trips and we never have to think about pet accommodations! But soon, soon, I really want a dog too!

    • chelsea on said:

      I know — it really made things easier when we were looking for an apartment as well. We have a friend with a dog who was looking in the same area we were and they had a tough go of it. Still, it doesn’t stop me wanting one! :)

  3. Ali on said:

    Hey! If you guys want to talk pets, let me know. I think having a cat would be easier with your schedules, but I’m a dachshund person myself and if you can find a good petsitter, it can work out. However, I will say – don’t buy from a pet store, please!! Pet store puppies are usually from puppymills (or at least really bad breeders) and they come with a host of genetic issues/medical problems. Not to mention the terrible conditions that their parents are left in. I would also suggest getting an adult dog from a over a puppy because it is typically just easier. Anyway, send me a message if you guys want to chat(I’m Jason’s little sister). Mr. Lovely and I are FB friends. :)

    • chelsea on said:

      Haha, thanks Ali! We’ve definitely talked about either adopting or rescuing if we decide to get a pet. And good advice about getting an adult dog, too!

    • chelsea on said:

      Oh my gosh, those photos are gorgeous! I love the one of them playing!

  4. I probably shouldn’t comment because I’m totally biased. I think I’ve spent a total of 3 months in my life without a dog. That was in college, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and got a dog anyway. Whoops! There’s just nothing like coming home to a pet. We have a teeny tiny dog so she’s really more like a cat, responsibility wise, but the bills certainly can add up. $200 to clean her teeth last month, yikes! And travel is a killer. But, like you said, we make it work because it is so worth it for the insane squeals we get every time we walk in the door!

    • chelsea on said:

      Aw! I want to meet your pup!

  5. I absolutely love my dog and couldn’t ever imagine my life without him. I got him for Christmas in 2007 (after I begged and begged for him). I didn’t do any research on the breed. I didn’t look into how much taking care of him would cost. All things I don’t recommend doing. Oh, and I was only half-way through my senior year of college too. The first 12 months were rough, not going to lie. I’m sure you are aware that certain breeds have health issues and personality traits. After I got him I quickly realized that puggles are one of the most energetic dogs. Ever. He didn’t start to “settle down” until about 3 or 4 years old. Puggles also have a lot of breathing issues (mostly from the pug side). Fortunately I have been very lucky, and he hasn’t really had any of the problems because he is mostly beagle. But I would strongly recommend looking into the breed(s) and see their health issues and personality types to see if it fits into your lifestyle.

    Also, I am pretty sure that some pet insurance companies won’t cover (or completely cover) certain breeds due to their high risk of issues. I would look into that too if that’s something you are thinking about.

    All in all, I personally think that dogs are well worth the time, energy and money that you put into them. I can’t wait to get home and see his cute little face every single day (you can see a picture of him here: http://sweetnessinstarlight.com/contact/). He truly is a part of the family and will always be no matter where I am in my life. I will always make time to play with him, make sure that if I’m out of town he is taken care of, make sure to take care of him when he is sick, etc.

    Hope this helps!!

    • I thought of one more thing…my boyfriend and I have been thinking about getting another puppy for awhile now. In order to see if we were ready for that we fostered a few puppies from a local shelter. You might check around your area to see if this is something you can do. The shelters always need extra help (and space) since they have so many puppies at a time. It was a good way to help them out and also help us out to see if we could really handle having another dog. :)

  6. BWA on said:

    I think the best thing to do if you get a dog is to crate-train it. The dog we adopted last year was already crate-trained, and we crate-trained a new puppy. This led to only like 2 puppy accidents in the house, quicker house-training, and you can leave the lil pup in there while you’re away for a couple hours if you’re worried they’ll tear up the house.

    The breeder we bought the puppy from highly suggested it, and I think my parents would too!

  7. Whitney on said:

    I’m dying for a pet but just don’t have the time or steady schedule…for now i have to settle for my parents pup! And the horror stories about vet bills scare me!

  8. Mary Holmes on said:

    I’ve always lived in an apartment so I’ve opted for a cat whom I love (little Nani is like our daughter, we’re weird) but I think a small sized dog would would great! Maybe you have a friend or family member near by for those nights you can’t make it home “on time”?

  9. Corrin on said:

    We’re a family of dachshunds. I’ve lived in Indianapolis, Chicago, and now Austin with my mini and my sister lives in Manhattan with hers. They are great little traveling dogs and they love city life!

  10. Megan on said:

    My husband and I also have busy, non-regular schedules, but we still wanted a dog. We have a small pomeranian that we were able to litter box train. So really, he is no more responsibility than a cat. No rushing home to let him out, or making him hold it in a crate for 8+ hours. It was no more difficult to litter box train than to teach a dog to go outside. But I don’t think I’d try it with a big dog.

  11. I can’t think of a time in my life that I haven’t owned a dog, or two! We now have two mini dachshunds and I would love a cat, but my little hunting dogs won’t have anything to do with it. We had one for about a month and had to give it to my parents! Animals are so important in a home, especially with kids. They complete a home!

  12. Melissa A in PA on said:

    I think you are very smart to seriously consider the responsibilities of owning a pet instead of just diving in head first. My hubby and I have two Weimaraners whom we love dearly. But they are a great big commitment. Someone must come directly home after work every day. They need to be exercised for about an hour every day (easier if you have a low energy dog or a small one that can play inside). They cost gobs of money because they are older have a slew of health concerns. I work at a veterinary hospital and I can’t tell you how many people I see EVERY DAY complaining about how much it costs to maintain their pet’s health. I think a lot of people only think about how much the pet costs initially but it is not realistic. Your pet will be going to the vet for a least one well care visit per year for a check up and vaccinations ($100+/yr), heart worm protection ($60-$120/yr depending on size), flea/tick prevention (~$200/yr), not to mention vet care for sickness, concerns, or injury (and yes, your pet can get injured while taking a walk down the road – we have been there with a shard of glass to the paw pad). Not to mention food, toys, leashes, collars, replacing any number of items a pet may destroy. It is a serious lifetime commitment that won’t be cheap. But the companionship, love, and laughs are worth every penny.

  13. Cheryl on said:

    I think it’s wonderful that you are giving it thought before jumping in. My only advice is to get whatever companion you choose from a local shelter. Pet stores typically support the misery that are animal mills, and while purebreds are nice, so many amazing, fantastic, grateful animals will live out their lives in a shelter for lack of a home. My late dog was dumped at a shelter by his family while they were on vacation – he was a big black dog and no one wanted him. My sister took him home and eventually he came to live with me. He ended up coming to work with me at the hospital and visiting elderly veterans. He was so very much loved by everyone who met him. I like to think that it was his way of giving back for my sister having rescued him.
    I hope you will consider a shelter dog – and pet insurance can be a great thing!

  14. ashley on said:

    I have a mini dachshund, she actually looks a lot like the image on the right, just with black as well. She is my second dachshund, so I have a soft spot for them. They can live about 16 years like a lot of small dogs (my last dog lived to 15) so it is definitely a big commitment, but very worth it. After having a dog I think it’s impossible to imagine life without one. They are definitely another thing to worry about when you have to be away, but how much they love you doesn’t make it hard to rush home. I also support adoption at a shelter, just make sure you know the dog’s story, so you can fully understand their behaviors. It’s great you are giving it time though and really thinking about it before diving in. More people should do that, there would be far less pets in shelters.

  15. A million years late in responding, but I felt I needed to, as I’m a dog mama and absolutely LOVE it.

    I wanted a dog so badly when I was a college student, but I held off because I was worried I wouldn’t have the time needed to raise one properly and give it the attention needed. When I got my first dog, I had just graduated and moved to a SMALL town with no friends, no prospects, nothing. I went to the local shelter several times before choosing my dog, Lucy Belle. She’s been with me for the last four and a half years, and every day has been a delight.

    There’s something heartwarming about coming home to a pet who is thrilled to see you. She made my house a home. And when my husband and I got married, she came along for the ride, thrilled to have a new person in her life (though she was wary of him for the first six months of her time in my home, as we believe she came from an abusive situation.) Dogs are a big commitment, especially when you get one as a puppy, but the rewards of having one far outweigh the negatives.

    Either way, I think it’s great that you are really putting the time into thinking about adopting a dog. And should you decide to move forward, I hope y’all consider a shelter pup! My life would not be the same without my Lucy, and she has made life all the better by simply being a part of our family.

  16. Kate on said:

    somehow i missed this post when it first went up….i had been begging my then boyfriend, now husband, for a puppy since we first started dating. we bought a house in march this year and got a bloodhound puppy in july. he’s a HUGE commitment, but so adorable. he has allergies, so we definitely have dealt with our fair share of pet bills (hoping to get his allergies sorted out soon!) the good definitely outweighs the bad, but our pup needs constant supervision – he’s not so much destructive as just mischievous! i talk obsessively about him on my blog, here’s a few pics :) http://peonyforyourthought.blogspot.com/search/label/henry

    i think if you really really want a pup you should do it! i think for our next dog we’d go with a slightly smaller dog, henry is 90lbs at 7 months (and growing).

    this comment is months behind, but i don’t think you have a pup yet? so hopefully stull valid!

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