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News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


Committing to Puppy Love

If you don’t mind picking poo off soggy lawns and keeping a dog-towel near the door then you may have what it takes for dog ownership in the Great Wet North.

By Jes Abeita , in Dog Days in Vancouver , on March 18, 2010 Tags: , , , ,

It’s harder than you’d think to go from being a dog lover to a dog owner in any city these days. Vancouver has been named one of the least affordable places to live in North America, and pet ownership is usually not cheap; so, it’s good to know what you’re getting into before you bring a dog home.

Are you longing for the the pitter-patter of little feet? Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/miss604/

If you want a cool-looking dog to sit quietly while you pick up on potential love interests (a.k.a. the “chick magnet”), borrow a friend’s dog. If you know you won’t be able to walk a dog in the rain… you may also want to just hang out with friends’ dogs instead.

If you don’t mind picking  poo off  soggy lawns and keeping a dog-towel near the door, then you may have what it takes for dog ownership in the Great Wet North.

First, I would check with your landlord. If your lease says you can’t have a dog, it would probably be wise to respect the terms and wait till you move someplace where you can bring your new friend home without facing eviction.

Second, look at your life… what type of space do you usually choose to live? How big, how close to possible walking routes, how noisy and what type of neighbors do you generally have?

Third, what do you want from a dog… lap-warmer, Frisbee-buddy, running companion, or bad-guy deterrent? If you need a bad-guy-deterrent but don’t have much space, don’t write off becoming a dog-owner yet. I’ve met a miniature pincher who ran off a burglar. He also bit a mailman, but that’s another story.

Now, do a little research. Personally, I prefer mutts, so I research types versus breeds.

Once you’ve got an idea what type or breed of dog you’re looking for, start looking. You can start your search online, or just head out to the Vancouver Animal Control or the SPCA shelters and meet the dogs in person.

If you’re hung up on a breed, you could go to a breed rescue organization.

Even the higher fees generally charged by the purebred rescue groups are considerably less than what you’d pay for a puppy from a reputable breeder.

Personally, I wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a dog from a backyard breeder or a pet store when I could spend less and feel like I’m more socially conscious than someone who would.

In Vancouver, and many other places, Petfinder is a quick way to find a dog in your area. . Many local rescue groups use Petfinder to post their dogs for adoption too.

Next Time: Committing to Puppy Love Part 2, Taking the Plunge.