The Reality of Having Your First Pet

By Caroline Strogis

When a young adult grows up without a pet, this can lead them to start yearning for that comfort and playfulness pets provide, and once they first start living on their own, they may decide to get their own first pet to find exactly that. Seeing someone walking their dog puts a smile on their face and makes them daydream of having their own. But how realistic is this? There is a lot more to consider than many young adults may realize.

I thought long and hard before adopting my 5-month-old French bulldog puppy, Blue. She is a social media star and playful ball of joy, but she comes with a lot more work than people realize. My obnoxious puppy voice is sometimes a loud, stern, “NO!”

Sure, it’s fun to visit your friend’s house and play with their puppy. People beg to come play with Blue. However, house training, cleaning up after mistakes, and going for four or five walks a day gets tiring. As cute as Blue is, and as much as I love being greeted by puppy kisses, the 5 a.m. wake-up calls start to drain a person.

Pets, especially five-month-old puppies, require a lot of constant care and attention. This means if I want to go out at night, spend a day at the pool or tailgate before a football game, I either pay a dog sitter, or I’m staying in and watching from the couch.

Having a pet is also very expensive. Behind me are the days of going out to eat multiple times a week and getting my nails done. Vet bills, dog food, toys and leashes add up quickly. One ear infection and I’m eating peanut butter for dinner the rest of the month.

You don’t realize these things when you’re young and your childhood pets are a shared responsibility of the family. Blue provides me so much happiness, but also a fair share of burdens and stress. I feel so lucky to have Blue, but there is a lot more to the seventeen-pound ball of energy than just cuddle and playtime. Like anything good, it takes work.

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