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Sunday, 8 July 2012
Ask Digby - From Celia, NYC.
I am writing to you as I am having a little trouble dealing with the loss of someone close to me. Three months ago, I lost my best friend, a Boston Terrier named William. He left me suddenly after he became very sick and the vet said it was kindest to put him to sleep. He was a true gentleman and my life hasn't quite been the same without him. I do get lonely sometimes and think about getting a new puppy, but I'm not sure whether it would be fair to do so. I adopted William with my then boyfriend however the relationship deteriorated last year and so I am now on my own. I worry that I won't have time for a puppy and that a single income isn't enough to ensure that a puppy would be well looked after. I have plenty of love to give, but I guess I'm just doubting myself.
I do love looking at all of your pictures, and they make my days just that little bit brighter. Should I continue to admire other people's dogs (my sister has two pugs and I do get to babysit them often), or should I find myself a new best friend to maybe fill the void left by William (even though I probably never could)?
Firstly, let me tell you that I am very sorry that William left you. I can tell you that he didn't leave you by choice, and it sounds like he loved you just as much as you loved him. I didn't know that you could love a human this much until I came home with my family, at a little over 2 months old (for a dog that's quite a substantial length of time, and when living with the breeder I was a real dog's dog). Now, I wouldn't have it any other way so any puppy who came into your home would love you for whatever you had to give.
As a dog myself, I can probably give you a little insight into what a dog actually needs so that you can assess whether you can give it. I commend you in not acting selfishly, you are considering the well being of someone other than yourself which tells me you would be a great owner.
A puppy needs a lot of training and companionship - but they also need to learn independence. At first you'll probably want (and need) to spend a lot of time teaching your puppy the rules of the house. A week or two should be plenty, so if you can commit to a two week vacation from your job you are well on your way to giving a puppy the attention he/she needs.
On an ongoing basis, a dog needs a walk every day. Or two. Dogs need other dog friends too, but your sister's pugs should be able to help in that respect. If you can commit to going out every day, no matter the weather, then that's another tick in the "Yes, get a new friend" column.
Sometimes dogs can get hurt. At the very least you need to have a little money set aside for vet bills beyond vaccination, desexing and initial check ups. Insurance can be an affordable option too, so even if you are short on cash that is something to consider. If you don't have the money to commit to a dog now, maybe you can open a savings account now and look at the situation again later.
Dogs need love too - but I have no doubt you've got that covered!
Please let me know if you do decide to get a new dog - and share pictures!