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Old 01-23-2012, 02:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pets?


I don't know if there's a better place to post this, if there is feel free to move this thread.

I've pretty much wanted a pet my entire life, before depression (I started getting depressed at maybe 9 or 10), addiction and recovery (day 21). The past year I've been at my most depressed, most empty and most lonely. I don't feel very loved. The fact that I quit everything made me even more empty on the inside. I was wondering, is now the time to finally get a dog? I've researched it for a long time, I know how much work I would have to put in. I'm just not sure how it would change my life (outside of the positives) and if I would be able to deal with it. The obstacle in the way is, even though my father and brother want one too, my mother does not - but shes agreed to a small breed. Im 22 still living at home. My plan is when I move I'll move somewhere that allows pets and take the dog with me, if the pet bonds with me more than the rest of the family. But yeah, it's a weird place to put this topic but I wanted some thoughts. I can't think of anything I've wanted more in my life than an animal friend, but I am worried about not being able to handle the work.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I got sober in Feb. 2010 and went through the break-up of a longterm livein relationship at the same time. I was depressed and sad too. (my previous dog had died years before). I went on Petfinder and adopted a little adult dog in May 2010. He's a great little guy (Pom) and it gives me a reason to get out no matter how crappy i may feel, we walk a lot, talk to neighbors, take rides and he loves to go to Petsmart too. Sammy also loves the cats.

you also have help from your family. Petfinder puts you in touch with local rescue groups.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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We have three cats (though I'm also a dog person and have always wanted a dog). They are a tremendous positive force in my life. My opinion, whatever work you put in, you will get back tenfold.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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huuuuge responsability! But to quickly answer your question, getting a dog it's ALWAYS worth it! Just make sure you get the dog for the right reasons, i.e. not to"fix" you but to be your friend.

Make a list with what you (don't) want (egzample: not shedding, not needing much exercise, not barky, not too bright - those needs huge amounts of mental stimulation, not too... whatever) and then have a look around. Best way is to go meet a breeder and take it from there.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like you have thought this out and are prepared for the work that is involved in looking after the animal.
If your family is on board I say go for it. It will likely help you feel more wanted and needed. Just remember it is a long term commitment and be prepared to stick with it.
Good luck.
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Dazed. I don't know where I'd be without my dogs They are my life.

Please weigh out the pros and cons for you regarding getting a dog. Include your family as you live with them. The spaying/neutering cost, the shots, the expense of vet bills and good food. The time it takes for daily walks and doggie cleanup. For me the rewards are endless but owning a pet is a huge responsibility.

My life mission is caring for senior pets. I have 6, ages 9-15. My 6th dog I rescued from our shelter on December 26. She is 12. My dogs are all shelter rescues, dogs that were brought in because they were old, sick, owner moving, etc. Some of my others are deaf, blind, diabetic and so on. My home is kind of a retirement center for unwanted old sick pets. Imagine the trauma for a senior dog being dumped at the pound

Sorry for such a long post, but I have seen so much in the past 20 years of helping shelters.
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I truely believe that pets help. They become part of the family.

If you are not 100% sure at this point, you could always volunteer at a shelter. Maybe help them with the care of the animals until you feel ready.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I work with canine rescue. I see the number of dogs dumped onto the shelters when a person's or a family's situation changes. You are 21 days into recovery. That's enough responsibility. Focus on that, and don't make a pet who is dependent on you be part of that recovery.

If you love dogs, volunteer at the local SPCA or city animal management center. That's a great way to get the love of an animal while leaving you flexible enough to deal with whatever comes up in the next couple of years.

Sounds like you will be a great human companion for a dog. However, there is plenty of time to own a dog; just be sure you can give it the most stable environment. For now, work on you!
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey Dazed

I know what you mean about wanting a pet.... but maybe you need to devote some more time to you and play with animals at the pound. That way you satisfy your need to give love, but not have the long term responsibility of caring for a pet until your sobriety is further established. I am sure all the animal rescue centers need volunteers to help walk, play or feed the animals.
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've been in the early stages of adopting a dog months before I even thought I'd need to recover. It isn't something to dump my problems on, it's something I feel like I've been building to for a long time and have wanted in every condition I've been in my life whether I was a child, an adult, depressed, happy, drinking and smoking or sober. I've already sent in applications to volunteer at shelters, which I plan on going through with (long waiting lists around here, no kill shelters are apparently very popular for volunteers) but I also don't think it'll give me much in terms of how life would be like with a dog in our house as the conditions would be very very different. That's the only real worry I have, is how it will change my home life. I'm a very habit based person (as per my addictive personality) and change of any kind or scale is tough, even the ones that are positive. It's not even that I want to play with a dog (which I really do) I don't want to do everything alone anymore, sleeping, watching tv, whatever. I feel silly sitting on a park bench alone with nothing to do, I don't have any motivation to walk around outside by myself anymore - I feel like a freak. Id love for a little friend cuddling on my lap or enjoying things with me. So for homelife change, it all sounds great except that I'm sensitive when it comes to work, studying and I have sleeping problems.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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on my way to recovery i decided to adopt myself a dog, it really helped me alot on them boring nights at home, instead of reaching for the beer i went out for a walk with the dog, and instead of buying alcohol i spent the money on the dog instead
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

I got my DD a golden retriever almost a year ago. I like dogs, but definitely prefer cats. However, I've never regretted getting him. He's a wonderful walking companion and all around terrific dog who fits his breed to a T.

The vet bills have set me back quite a bit - so it's a big consideration in all these thoughts. Getting him fixed, along with standard shots, along with the crate, along with the doggie igloo, food, treats, toys galore...it adds up.

I'm very much a habit person like you mentioned and definitely worried about how much it would change my routines. In the end, we've adapted well to him. Or he did with us.

It's great you're taking the time to research and think through your reason for getting a dog and not making any quick decisions. One of the things that helped me the most was to read up on the breed of the dog.

My best to you!
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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on my way to recovery i decided to adopt myself a dog, it really helped me alot on them boring nights at home, instead of reaching for the beer i went out for a walk with the dog, and instead of buying alcohol i spent the money on the dog instead
this is one of the reasons I decided to adopt too. The weather was getting nice, I was bored and in the 30-40 mins. I would spend taking a nice walk in the evening, it could be the difference between staying sober or taking a ride to the liquor store. most of the people at dog parks are sober, it's nice to get some fresh air and the dog is usually ready to go even if i wake up at 6AM. He never admonishes me for wanting to take him out. He likes anything I like and he never steals the remote, lets me style his hair. This is my first toy breed, i previously had a chow and an Akita. It was just a bonus that he loves the cats, the antics that happen bring laughter more than feeling bored and depressed.

The rescue group made sure he was neutered and suitable for my lifestyle, they even paid for the first grooming and i got $200 worth of Petsmart coupons for various items. BUT be sure you have a couple of hundred set aside for teeth cleaning, vet check-up, heartworm meds, flea treatments, it adds up quick. (the cheapest source is drugstore.com which also does free delivery and 5% back quarterly on your purchases).

it sounds like you have thought this out thoroughly and if you are the type of person I am, it can only HELP in sobriety. (i won't tell you about the long conversations i have with the dog, but he always agrees with me which is nice).
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Sounds like you're being really thoughtful about it. Most of the time, dogs aren't much trouble other than the feeding/walking/bathing/playing they require, but other times they turn out to be a lot more work than bargained for. It's a gigantic commitment, a sweet life in your hands. While my pup is my little babygirl, she's also diabetic (requiring insulin shots 2x/day), has had hip and knee surgery (at about $3000 a pop, not to mention the horrible months of rehabilitation). I've never regretted taking care of the things she needs in life, but it's a huge responsibility, and I've been very very tested emotionally, financially, (etc) by agreeing to that duty for her. Just my .02 I adore dogs, I'll always have dogs.. but they don't live nearly long enough, and they sure can present with challenges we have to face with them.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I say do it, but that's just my opinion. As you can see, there are lots of wise voices here. My own experience with my dog has been really positive. I was always a cat person, but I lived alone and wanted some company and something to keep me safe. Getting her was the best thing I could have done for myself. I couldn't lay around in bed all day anymore watching TV. Whether I liked it or not, I was forced to get up, put some cleanish clothes on, brush my teeth, and take that dog for a walk. Twice a day, every day. I also had to feed her and play with her. Most days, just getting outside and walking for a bit helped my mood and my outlook, and eventually I cam to look forward to those walks. I started walking for fun. Having a cute dog is also a really great way to meet new friends. It really helped me a lot and I'm so glad she lives with us.

Anyway, I was obviously super depressed and I hope you don't find yourself there, but anything that you can love and loves you back and also gets you outside and also helps you make new friends is good in my book.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:03 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I adopted a little (big, actually) senior citizen guinea pig about two months before I got sober. Yes, I'm a 31 year old man with a guinea pig.

But I'd recommend that or any pet, so long as you ARE up to the responsibility of caring for it. My little guy (name's Cody) helps keep me sober-- he keeps me company, is dependent on me, and requires a little work. It keeps me clear in what I'm doing to know I have this little creature depending on me too. He needs food, water, and love. And to be kept safe from the dog.

That's my two-cents: having a pet to care for (albeit an easier pet than a dog) has been a joy and has aided me in my recovery. Who's gonna take care of Cody if Daddy's skunk drunk?

Dave
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:51 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I know for certain my cat helped to save my life when I was drinking. Pets have an amazing capacity to give love. I have two Siamese who I love dearly. But, they also require a lot of care.

One thing I have learned over the years is that you need to think of the long-term. What might your life be in 10, 12, 15 years? Will the dog still fit with your plans? I got a wonderful dog when I was newly married, but 7 years later when I had two small children, life with a big dog was very difficult.

And, I think it's also important to know that, if your pet gets sick, you owe it to him/her to take care of the problem and it can be costly. I just got back from the vet this morning with a bill of $320.00 and we don't even know what is the problem yet.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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i agree with putting a lot of thought into this decision. all three of my dogs were rescues and all had been given up by their owners. (one was given up because he got heartworms and the treatment is very expensive and sometimes fatal for the dog)

my income is small but the 'dog stuff' is part of my budget ( my former drinking money tho i sometimes get hit with an extra expense. if your mom agrees to a small breed dog there are many of them in shelters who would love to be your best friend. just make sure you can love and care for your dog for it's whole life and wouldn't end up, thru circumstances, dumping it on someone else. that could be traumatic for the dog.


my three are my three biggest reasons to stay sober so i can give them the excellent care they need and deserve.


not to mention, our daily walks are good for all of us!
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Try taking care of a plant. If it lives a year, then get a dog....
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