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Dear Ann Cannon • My husband and I have always had a dog. But when our last dog died, my husband said he didn't want another one. Ever. I've respected his wishes, but I've recently fallen in love with a beautiful golden retriever rescue who's already housebroken and responds to basic commands. I would love to own this dog, but my husband (much to my surprise he's always enjoyed our dogs) won't budge on the issue. What do I do?
Dear Dog Hungry • OK. "Low Impulse Control Ann Cannon" would tell you to GET THE DOG ALREADY. Which is why she has three dogs living at her house.
"Responsible Ann Cannon," however, would advise you to carefully consider the issue from a variety of angles. Dogs, even charming golden retrievers who mind their manners, are a lot of work, not unlike human children. You have to feed them and exercise them, train them and groom them, even when you don't feel like it. Also, some dogs particularly certain breeds can rack up costly medical bills. Are you prepared to take those on? Oh! And let's not forget the cost and bother of arranging dog-sitting for your pet when you leave town. Ouch!
The most important consideration, however, is how other family members (especially partners who have no experience with dogs) feel about inviting one into your life. Pet ownership works best when everyone is pretty much on the same page. It's way easier to forgive the dog who chews up shoes and couches when everyone agreed that having that dog was a good idea in the first place. When it comes to relationships, minimizing opportunities for resentment is always a good call.
With all that being said, just go ahead and get the dog. Sure, your husband will be angry, and who can blame him? But since he's liked your other dogs, he'll get over it.
Dear Ann Cannon • I'd like to get a dog, but I'm torn. Should I get a purebred or a rescue?
Dear Conflicted • Here's the good news! You can have it all a purebred who's also a rescue. Score! In fact, one of our dogs (see above) is a rescue. If you're interested in a particular type of dog, chances are good you can get online and find a rescue operation specializing in that breed. You can also find dogs purebred and mixed breed at places like the Humane Society or at pet adoption events sponsored by various organizations. The great thing about rescuing a dog is that you can save a life AND feel morally superior to other people at the dog park.
Good luck in finding the dog of your dreams.
Dear Ann Cannon • I have a brave old dog who suffers from arthritis. She is the best bird dog I have ever known. She's 12 years old now and does not walk much farther than a block. She's quiet and gentle and near the end of her life, enjoying sedentary pleasures such as sleeping by the fire and lying with me on the couch while we watch TV. She takes five pills a day three for pain and two for her thyroid as prescribed by our vet, who believes she still enjoys a decent quality of life.
We rarely leave her outside, but we did for a few hours recently when we were away. A child who lives across the street heard the dog whine and later told me that we should put the dog down. I assume the child was echoing the sentiment of her parent, who gave me similar advice after our dog had a previous surgery. I told the child (calmly) that the decision to euthanize a pet is an extremely personal one and that it was none of her family's business.
Here's the thing. I remain livid. It occurred to me to ask your advice. What do I do from here?
Dear Upset • I agree that the decision to euthanize a pet is a personal one. I also know that that difficult decision falls on a spectrum. Some owners find it kinder to put a pet down earlier than later; others believe with proper support it's more humane to extend a life. Depending upon the circumstances, a case can be made for both calls. Meanwhile, everybody else should keep their opinions to themselves.
As far as your relationship goes with your neighbors, well, you get to decide what happens next. You can keep your distance, speak your mind or (eventually) engage with them as though nothing ever happened.
That part is strictly up to you.
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