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Should I own a dog ? - Carers UK Forum

Should I own a dog ?

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi, I am carer to my wife, and had to take early retirement 3 years ago to be full time carer. Over this time, I have found the day to day routine rather boring and have little mental stimulus. I have been seriously thinking about getting a small dog to give both me and my wife a common interest and something else to talk about. Many people have said this would be good for both of us. My only concern, is what would happen if anything happens to me, as my wife is chair bound and cannot get up without help ? Am I being selfish in wanting a dog ? I do tend to overthink things.
Has anybody else had this problem, if so what how did you resolve the uncertainty ?
Many thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts
I think it might bring joy and interest and satisfaction to both you and your wife, but, yes, you do need to 'think ahead' for if the time comes if you can no longer look after your dog properly. Why not talk to a dog rescue centre, and see what they think? It would be lovely if you took on a rescue dog who needed a good home (I'm brutal about this, but I think there is absolutely no point at all buying a 'brand new' dog specially - and expensively! - bred, when there are so, so many dogs in desperate need of a good home - ditto for cats!)(plus pedigrees very often have inbred health problems!). The people at the rescue centre should know 'what happens' if owners can't keep their dog any more, and hopefully they would undertake to rehome your dog if that time comes.

My bro and SIL have dogs, which I'd never thought they would have (alas, they got pedigrees and, alas, they have inbred health problems!), but the dogs bring so, so much joy to them (and boy, do those dogs have the life of riley - they couldn't be more loved and fussed over!!)

Let's see what others here think, they may point out problems I haven't thought of.
My mum in law was expected to be busy non stop. However, she had a dog, and come rain or shine would take him for a walk across the moors and come back refreshed despite being downed at times! It as her time, and a "permitted activity". Not only would the exercise be good, but you would have daily "me" time.
There is a charity which is clled the Cinamen Trust I think which promise to care for dog should the worst happen and anything should happen to you during the life of your dog- have a google and look them up.

The Rescue I support SLR= Southern Lurcher Rescue retain "ownership" of the dog once it is adopted so if anything happened to me I hope her identity chip would pick up that she is an SLR dog. I know SLR are a very special rescue but others may offer similar peace of mind.
I could give you a million reasons why it's a good idea to get a dog but just bare in mind even the small ones need daily walks, poop picking up, annual vets checks , regular worming & flee treatment and training, also cost of pet insurance-make sure you get lifetime cover.
Yes, you can arrange with the Cinnamon Trust to take care of your pet if anything happens to you- they promise to care for it for the remainder of it's life. The Dogs Trust also offer the same kind of service.

But any pet needs a lot of looking after (the old saying "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' is very true; walking twice every day whatever the weather/grooming etc. They can also be expensive in terms of feeding and vet's bills; my cat costs me between £12 and £15 per week for food; I stopped having pet insurance when it got to £40 per month (he was about 12 at the time - classified as 'geriatric') - as a kitten his insurance was about £7 per month. Currently he is having treatment at the vet's for a kidney problem and so far we've racked up a little shy of £400 in bills.

If I want to go on holiday and he goes to the cattery that's another £11 per night on top of the cost of my holiday - luckily I have a neighbour who will feed him if I'm only away for a couple of nights.

But the plus side and it is a BIG plus is that pets are wonderful companions - they give unconditional love and loyalty, and I don't know anyone who would be without their furry friend :)
Dogs are great, but they are expensive to maintain and do tie you down a lot.
I keep a dog, but I am very unsentimental about it. In the past I have put down dogs with long term incurable health problems - if my dog cannot run and function normally then it it straight to the vets - dogs are not people.
Hi Scally
I couldn't disagree with you more -in terms of sentimentality- no they are not people- that I can not dispute, but they are certainly more loving, loyal and faithful than any human. my dog is my soul mate and reason for my existence! She keeps me going through thick and thin. I have always formed the strongest of strong bonds with my dogs and yes I have had the unviable task of putting them down when that time comes, and although I mourn their departure as I would for any family member, I am not one to say that I could never cope with that loss again. In this house it has always been a case of the -The King is dead - long live the king. I have only had a few months of my life dogless when I was working away for a few weeks and couldn't get a local job again in a hurry to give me enough time to put into a new dog, and it was by far the worst few months of my life.
One of the most harrowing things I've witnessed is my brother's dog being put to sleep. She was 'terminally ill' so to speak, as in the vet had given up on her just about ('further investigations' would have been extremely costly, and distressing for the dog, and were a long-shot at the best), so it was a question of 'when' not 'if'.

I've always been very 'pro-suicide' (as opposed to being forced to linger in a painful and distressing incurable condition), but watching a human being get an injection kit ready, and seeing my brother and SIL's little dog being held and stroked, and looking up and them while the needle went in, was utterly, utterly dreadful. The moment of death, of that passage from life to death, is very, very hard to witness. It should never be trivialised, or made 'routine' or a 'no-brainer'. Never.

Yes, dogs are not people, but once we take on a pet we have an indelible responsibility for it, and we owe them the respect not just of ending their suffering should that be necessary, but of respecting the 'significance' of their passage from life to death. Even if we also know that it is, at that point, the only 'merciful release' possible.
A cat decided to attack one of 'my' wood pigeons yesterday, maimed it, and left it hiding behind the bins. I found it alive a few hours later, fatally hurt, and had to dispose of it to put it out of its misery. I chose to drown it in a bucket, though a swift neck break might have been kinder, I really dont know.
Today a sparrowhawk attacked my bluetits, that's more reasonable, it has to eat to survive.
Nature is red in tooth and claw, but domestic cats are not nice and cuddly, many of them kill or maim for fun or instinct. Dogs are far better than cats, on the whole.
But that's why I'm not sentimental. Its a very simple matter of life or death, nothing to worry about really. Happens to us all, eventually. Just a question of when and how. An excess of sensibility and/or fastidiousness is more likely to contribute to your early demise than to preserve you in a real crisis. We all need to develop resilience, and part of owning a pet is taking full responsibility for it, no easy or laughing matter.
It is estimated that the USA alone spends $60 billion a year on pets. Thats nearly the size of the Greek debt, and could solve most African child poverty and infectious disease at a stroke!
That's why I can't recommend pet insurance highly enough- for the unforseen and very expensive moments when pets can be brought back to a happy and healthy state. I hear of endless cases where vets bills have gone into thousands but thankfully there is most often a happy ending. When making those all so important life and death decisions I would hate finaces to play any part in the equation. It can often be a costly business and one the new and inexperienced dog owner fails to include in the budget. They are happy to spend thousands on a designer style pet and then loose interest. Don't get me started on how many dogs turn up in rescue with so called problems nearly always caused by their human interaction to date.