Mommy, Can I Keep That Stray Dog?

How many times have you seen this situation where a child comes through the door with a dog in tow? It looks skinny and skittish and is in need of a good meal and a bath. The child is looking with big eyes imploring, pleading, and desperately wanting a yes.

Well you may look at the animal and feel sympathy with its plight. But before you say yes to your child, consider this. When you take on an animal (of whatever kind) you are taking on a new family member and all the responsibility that go with it. A pet is not another thing in the house. It has a personality, a sense of loyalty to family members (if you treat them right) and has needs just like any person would.

Dog's ancestors were able to take care of themselves in the wild, but modern day dogs have been so domesticated that it is not an option for them in this day and age. Have you ever seen a perfectly healthy stray dog? I think that would be rare unless he wandered into your yard only a few days after being lost.

In this situation your first responsibility is to take care of the dogs immediate needs. You also want to take the dog to the vet to have him checked out. You should then do whatever it takes to find the dogs owners. After all, this is someone's pet and they may be mourning the loss and are desperately looking for it.

Look for posters that have been put up and consider making your own to let people know that a dog has been found. Do everything possible until all efforts have been exhausted.

If the owner has not been found then start looking at your options. If you are entertaining the idea of keeping the dog, then decide who is going to be the main caregiver. Is that you, or the child? If it is the child then realize that the child knows nothing about taking care of a pet. Don't assume that the child will know what to do. Although, one thing you can be sure of in most cases, is that a child will give unconditional love for the dog. As a matter of fact, children won't look at them as pets but as a close personal friend.

If the child is going to take care of the dog then you will have to teach them how to do this.

1) They need food and water daily, obviously. If it is a large dog that eats a lot it can certainly dip into your budget.

2) Dogs need to be exercised daily for good health. A good run in the back yard or a throwing of the Frisbee or stick can be very therapeutic for the dog. Dogs do not respond well if they are not shown affection and are exercised every day.

3) They need regular veterinary shots and flea protection and heartworm medication. Regular baths are a must, and don't forget you need to take care of their teeth. There are simple solutions to that like a tooth biscuit.

4) Dogs will respond to training if you make it a fun and rewarding experience for them. They will look forward to it because it's a game for them. They will follow the rules of your home if you are consistent.

If you are willing to do all this then not only will you enjoy the relationship you build with your dog but you will also earn their loyalty and trust. Don't be surprised just how much of a family member your pet can be. Your child will also learn some important lessons in responsibility for others. It can be a beautiful thing!

All the best!

About the Author

Willie Jones http://www.petshopdepot.com

Willie is a freelance writer and researcher who loves to share her views with others and enjoys other peoples views. After all, is this not how we share and learn from each other? If you would like to send me an email please send it to willie@petshopdepot.com. I will receive it and answer. Pet Shop Depot

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