Puppies aren’t expendable

We see happy dog owners walking their dogs around campus, letting them play out on Fountain Mall and bringing them to the farmers market and other events around campus. All we see is how adorable the dogs are, and we think, “I want a dog, too.” What we don’t see is the commitment and the troubles of adopting a dog.

Adopting a dog is easy. You sign a few papers and pay a small fee, unless it’s a special day at the Waco Humane Society and you get to adopt a dog for free. After your furry friend is spayed/neutered, which is required by the shelter, you’ll be able to take your dog. Everything seems perfect until you realize there’s more to it than buying puppy chow and dog toys.

Owning a dog requires patience, especially if you’re adopting a puppy. Unlike cats, dogs do not follow their own schedule and pee in a litter box. You’ll have to condition the dog by setting up routines for when to eating, playing and “potty-time.” Depending on the dog, this process might take weeks or even months. Some owners choose to enroll in dog training courses for extra help. At PetSmart, the training costs start at $119.

In addition to training, dogs also need vaccinations periodically. According to ASPCA.org, there are core vaccines that are required for every dog, such as for parvovirus, rabies and leptospirosis. At the Animal Birth Control Clinic in Waco, these vaccines can range in costs anywhere from $20 to $100, but these prices may vary at other clinics. Aside from saving up for vaccination costs, prospective dog owners need to worry about maintenance costs. Owners will most likely end up spending the most at the start of adoption for dog food, dog bowls, pet poop disposal bags, a collar, leash, toys, etc.

It’s important to think and prepare in advance when considering adopting. Even if prospective owners are fully prepared to adopt a new dog, some residential complexes do not accept pets. Oftentimes, complexes will require a pet fee, but others may not allow pets at all and can charge a huge fine if this is violated. In 2015, 47 percent of the Humane Society’s animal intake was from owner surrenders. Some shelters, such as Fuzzy Friends Rescue, are no-kill shelters, but others aren’t. Shelters keep animals for a certain amount of time, and if there are no prospective adopters for a certain animal, these animals will be put down to make space for others. The ASPCA said that over 1.2 million dogs were euthanized in 2015. If owners don’t surrender their dogs to a shelter, they either find other means to give up their furry friend, such as finding new owners online, or they leave their dog out on the streets.

“A lot of people end up posting them on pages [Free & For Sale] and getting rid of them themselves,” Libby Sisson, Waco Humane Society’s front desk coordinator, said.

Carelessly adopting a dog because dogs are cute ends up causing more harm to the dogs than choosing not to adopt. Dogs need a lot of attention and nurturing; more than most people realize. The next time you think, “I want a dog,” and venture to an animal shelter to find a furry friend, consider your financial standing, the time you can allot to your dog and, most importantly, check to see if your residential complex allows for pets.