Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, January 26, 1998

It's nice to have a dog, but . . .

By MYRON HEUER

I was quite surprised to find our apartment complex permits pets. For a price, of course: $100.

But not too many have pets. I know of one dog in our building. She's a cute little dog; let's you pet her head. I am aware of several cats in the building, but I've not seen them. I see the dog because she takes necessary trips outside, whereas a cat will have a personal toilet inside called the litter box. They can become smelly if you don't clean them often.

They say it's good for seniors to have pets for companionship. Some nursing homes have a house dog, who is everybody's pet. I think that is a good idea. But there is much to consider when you get a dog or puppy.

First, the purchase price. Then to the vet for shots; newspapers strewn about the house during house-breaking time. License, dog collar and a bed to sleep in. Of course, the dog would prefer sleeping in you bed.

Then to the supermarket. You'll probably find an entire aisle for pet food and accessories. There are an assortment of puppy chew toys in the shape of a turtle, a bone, a banana, a fat rope, and bones made out of cowhide.

Puppy treats including the popular Milk Bone in various sizes, and the very popular Snausages. The Snausages looked good enough for a human treat. They come in beef and cheese flavors. You'll have to make sure you have enough chew toys for your puppy. Although it will most likely prefer your sneakers.

That reminds me, be sure to sign your puppy up for training class. Then she or he will walk right next to you instead of dragging you along.

Up to now, I think I have spent several hundred dollars to have a companion. Don't forget the regular trips to the vets for more shots, worm medicine and anything else to keep your dog healthy.

Have you noticed how often cute little puppies are used on television commercials?

"Aren't they cute," you'll say to yourself.

You almost say, "Let's get one."

Almost, until you realize that cute little puppy will grow up to be a dog . . . I mean a dawg. And they're not so cute anymore.

I neglected to mention another cost. Remembering what Bob Barker always closes "The Price Is Right" with the phrase, "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered."

I want to make it clear . . . I am not against pets, especially dogs and cats. We've had plenty of both over the years. We enjoyed them very much. But, as far as dogs go, I don't care to take them out to go to the bathroom when it's 30 below.

If you get a pet, be sure you can take care of it properly. If you can't or don't want to spend a lot of money caring for it, don't do it. But if you do make the move, go to the Humane Society. They can set you up with a good pet.

You'll probably get one just as cute as those on television commercials, or one as smart as Eddie from "Frasier," or Lassie.


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