Help me find consensus from the hive mind. I have been wanting and preparing and planning to get my very own dog, my first dog, for years. However the question that keeps raising its head, is should I, given my personal circumstances?
This question has been asked in several guises on askmefi and while I've welcomed the advice, none of the scenarios people have laid out have corresponded that closely to my own circumstances. So here are the facts of my situation:
- I live in the UK in a 2 bedroom mid-terraced house with a garden and (not very high) fence overlooked on all sides by other gardens and houses.
- I am out of the house from approximately 9am to 1pm, 2pm to 5:45pm, Monday to Friday, and my single housemate is out all day (ie I'm 4 hrs maximum out of the house)
- I work 2 miles from home and can get back there in approximately 10 minutes.
- While this would be my first dog, I'm of course seeking any and all advice to help me perform this undertaking to the best of my abilities.
- I have a general size in mind, labrador, but other than that am willing to consider whichever breed or individual is best suited to my personal circumstances.
- I intend to take on either an adult rescue dog or seek a private ad for an adult dog requiring re-homing.
- I intend taking dog to any and all training to help me and the dog learn how to behave.
- I'm prepared to go the crate training route if that helps.
- The dog will be walked before work, lunchtime, after work and on weekends, I'm thinking 1-2 hrs per day.
Some caveats. I rent and my current landlord doesn't allow pets, which means either in the future I manage to convince her otherwise, or I move to somewhere that does (I realise this is not easy). The point being, if I have to move to get a dog, I will move, and will pick a place as well suited to dogs as I can, and also a similar distance from work. I consider the coming home to lunch, non-negotiable and will definitely be living in a location where that is possible, will arrange for a paid dog walker if at any time I can't get away. I'll do whatever it takes to get good at looking after a dog, this is not a hasty ill thought out decision, I moved jobs so I could be close enough to home to make the lunchtime dog deal possible. I'm aware of the great costs and responsibilities the decision to get a dog involves, having experienced some of it vicariously through various dog owning friends.
Without fail though, whenever I explain my circumstances and my plans to people, they'll give me a huge range of answers, ranging from 'Wow, most people in your position just get a dog without even thinking about it, just do it.', to 'I can't believe how cruel you are for even thinking about getting any dog. It's always wrong to have a dog unless you're home all day.' So what is the consensus? Given dog will not be left alone more than 4 hours, I'm open to the best breed for me (given my size range), and will quite likely be changing my home to one as most dog suitable as I can, is it right and fair and responsible for me to get a dog?