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So, I'm only 21; however I've lived away from home since I was 17 and have grown up around dogs. I've worked with them for the past 3 years also, for a year in a boarding kennels, a year as a dog behaviorists assistant/dog walker and for the past year and currently in an RSPCA shelter.

Biscuit was found as a stray and had just had puppy's and was still producing milk etc, she was covered in burns and scars. She was very hormonal and set to be PTS after she'd served her 7 days as nobody could get into the kennel with her, gradually we formed a bond and they gave her a little more time but she still wasn't responding to other staff members so they still wanted her to go. I started taking her home at the weekends and socializing her, her fears were:
- Men
- Joggers
- Cyclists
- Lorry's/buses
- Other dogs
- Extreme fireworks fear

I have fostered her for the past year and worked on all of these issues with her, she now has a handful of human and canine friends and will happily walk past joggers/cyclists/lorry's with a waggy happy tail :)

She was recently diagnosed with cancer and the shelter has said that if she has to go back there to be re homed she will be put the sleep. I realized that my age may sound like an issue but dogs are my life, i'm due to start studying canine behavior and training at university and I have found a house with a friend that Biscuit adores (who is also a man, shock horror!!) that is animal friendly. She will be left at home for 3 full days a week but we have alternate days off so for the rest of the week someone will be about to take her for big long walks and give her snuggles on the sofa.

I've had mixed opinions about my age, the responsibilities and taking on a dog with fear aggression and other behavioral problems. What are your opinions? Am I ready?
 

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Age is mostly just a number. I got my dog free off craigslist when I was 18 or 19 and she's still with me, going strong. I've learned a lot since then about training, diet, etc. but I've never wavered in my responsibility to her.

You sound like a responsible person but can you handle the vet bills that come with an ill dog? If you're prepared for that, I say go for it. You learn the most from the dogs with baggage. I did anyway.
 

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It sounds like she is already yours, in your heart anyway, if not on paper. I think from what you've said you are more than emotionally and mentally capable of taking on this dog but I have the same question as Tofu. Can you financially afford to take care of this dog? Cancer treatment can be very expensive, even if it is something that can't be treated the meds to keep her comfortable as the disease progresses can also be hard on the wallet.
 

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Age is mostly just a number. I got my dog free off craigslist when I was 18 or 19 and she's still with me, going strong. I've learned a lot since then about training, diet, etc. but I've never wavered in my responsibility to her.

You sound like a responsible person but can you handle the vet bills that come with an ill dog? If you're prepared for that, I say go for it. You learn the most from the dogs with baggage. I did anyway.
It sounds like she is already yours, in your heart anyway, if not on paper. I think from what you've said you are more than emotionally and mentally capable of taking on this dog but I have the same question as Tofu. Can you financially afford to take care of this dog? Cancer treatment can be very expensive, even if it is something that can't be treated the meds to keep her comfortable as the disease progresses can also be hard on the wallet.
Sorry for the late reply and thanks for getting back to me :) This is the problem, i'm paying for myself to go through university and don't have a huge amount of extra money though she will be insured for everything other than the cancer and i'm going to put back a small amount of money each month for emergencies for her. I had a consultation with my vet ant they've said the first malignant tumor was completely removed and the second tumor was benign so they're pretty sure she's now cancer free :))) This is a dog that i've fostered and worked with for a year and although I don't have a lot of money nobody would care for her as much as I do, and the thought of her being put to sleep now when she still seems to be happy and healthy breaks my heart. I don't know a lot about dog cancer, I understand that I could possibly end up saying goodbye to her before i'm ready but I just want to give her a chance at a happy life. What do you think? How much am I looking at roughly if the cancer returns again?
 

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Cancer is a big variable... you might find other options for treatment: At the local vet school, help from the humane society, help from a local pet charity, setting up a pet charity to get lots of donations, you might work with a Vet to defray the "labor" costs that you might do yourself and just have to pay for the meds...

I agree with everyone that you have the skills and probably the time, but not the cash.... So trade on your skills right now, as I've suggested above, to anticipate the worst case scenario. If cancer doesn't return, then you've learned something ... and if it does then you're in better shape.

Talk to various Vets and to your university about various cancer treatments and costs... I know it does range from a few hundred to a few thousand. Also, if she is cancer-free, there may be a way to get on insurance??? Discuss with the Vets...
 

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You know, does it matter if you can pay to treat the cancer or not? If she goes back to rescue, she will be put to sleep. So even if you have to put her to sleep because you can't afford protracted or complicated treatment, she gets more time with the person she loves and she's put to sleep in a loving way accompanied by a friend.

Given that her only other option is being put to sleep, I really don't see the downside of you adopting her. At the very least, she gets a few more cuddles before the end.
 

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To me it sounds like you have the necessary experience and know what it means to get a dog. Don't worry about your age. I'm 23, and knew ever since my family dog died (I was 20) that I wanted another dog. I waited for the right circumstances, and just went ahead. Sounds like you thought this over pretty well. Good luck with this dog. :)
 
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