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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm always surprised and a little annoyed when 19 and 20-year-olds (who still live with their parents) come to the forums to ask what type of dog they should get. Of course the dog will be "100% their responsibility." And when you move out, the dog is definitely coming with you. Riiiight.

Unless you're paying the bills right now at your parents' house, you're not even 100% financially responsible for yourself. I'd like to say I'm a pretty responsible person, both financially and socially, but I can't imagine having a dog that was "100% my responsibility" when I was 19 or even 20 for that matter. You're NINETEEN. TEEN. Do you know what having a dog really entails? Food/treats/toys, vet bills (planned and not), walks (even when it's freezing or pouring or excruciatingly hot or you're sick/tired/whatever), obedience... and those are just the major things.

Yes, I'm generalizing. I admit it. And maybe this isn't the case with every single 19- or 20-year-old. There are probably even some 30-year-olds who could potentially fall into my generalization. I admire and appreciate that you want to rescue a dog and do the right thing, but I'm just not sure MOST 19/20's really understand what taking 100% responsibility for a dog really means. It's almost like having a kid. That pup is YOURS. EVERY DAY. For the rest of it's life. Even when you want to go snowboarding for the day or you are sick or want to go visit your friends for the weekend.

I wish there was some trial system where you could borrow someone's dog for a month or so and see what it's like to truly have a dog that is yours.

I'm sure at least one person is going to get on here and tell me it's none of my business when/if someone wants to get a dog, but if you're posting about it on an open forum, it becomes everyone's business. Now, I have to ask...am I the only one who thinks you should wait to get a dog?
 

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I wish there was some trial system where you could borrow someone's dog for a month or so and see what it's like to truly have a dog that is yours.
This would be interesting, and it has nothing to do with age.

Some people just don't care. It's a generalization only because you tied it to age, but, really, "what are you thinking?" should apply to anyone who doesn't take responsibility for the dog(s) they brought into their care. A person could be 40, 15, 34, 27, whatever and fall into this. I guess the counter to what I said is that "younger is 'more likely' than older" but, to me, it's just the not caring part. Only when really, really young (like a 6 yr old) would I start into the inability part due to finances, etc (a teen can get a job since they are living with their parents, that money is likely a lot of discretionary income, so they could buy the dog food, some dog toys, pay for yearly check-up/shot renewal, grooming, etc, assuming a stable financial situation in the household where the teen doesn't need the job to help the household function)
 

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I'm always surprised and a little annoyed when 19 and 20-year-olds (who still live with their parents) come to the forums to ask what type of dog they should get. Of course the dog will be "100% their responsibility." And when you move out, the dog is definitely coming with you. Riiiight.

Unless you're paying the bills right now at your parents' house, you're not even 100% financially responsible for yourself. I'd like to say I'm a pretty responsible person, both financially and socially, but I can't imagine having a dog that was "100% my responsibility" when I was 19 or even 20 for that matter. You're NINETEEN. TEEN. Do you know what having a dog really entails? Food/treats/toys, vet bills (planned and not), walks (even when it's freezing or pouring or excruciatingly hot or you're sick/tired/whatever), obedience... and those are just the major things.

Yes, I'm generalizing. I admit it. And maybe this isn't the case with every single 19- or 20-year-old. There are probably even some 30-year-olds who could potentially fall into my generalization. I admire and appreciate that you want to rescue a dog and do the right thing, but I'm just not sure MOST 19/20's really understand what taking 100% responsibility for a dog really means. It's almost like having a kid. That pup is YOURS. EVERY DAY. For the rest of it's life. Even when you want to go snowboarding for the day or you are sick or want to go visit your friends for the weekend.

I wish there was some trial system where you could borrow someone's dog for a month or so and see what it's like to truly have a dog that is yours.

I'm sure at least one person is going to get on here and tell me it's none of my business when/if someone wants to get a dog, but if you're posting about it on an open forum, it becomes everyone's business. Now, I have to ask...am I the only one who thinks you should wait to get a dog?
Well, there is a trial system in a sense- there are many many dogs in rescue and shelters that need foster homes. The foster typically has partial financial responsibility but they would still be able to see what a dog needs both in terms of items (food, medicine) and time (exercise, training). Fostering may turn a person away from dogs in general, towards or away from certain breeds (like realizing they need a lower energy dog than they thought), make someone wait longer or they might find the perfect dog for them while fostering and end up with a great match.

Given today's economy, a young person may have a job and be a contributing member to their family's finances but not be able to (or willing to) afford to move out. Some young people help care for younger siblings, saving much money on daycare for example, and be financially helpful "in kind" basically. If someone is attending college locally and can live at home, it is generally a stupid financial decision to move out-- far better to save up the money. Dogs CAN be expensive, if there are high vet bills or behavioral issues, but the average dog is not that expensive really. I figure I spend about $100 month on all of Chester's care and Luna's food (her other needs being covered by the rescue). A ton of teens could afford this if they made the decision to forgo some of the more typical teenage pursuits (skip a night at the movies and dinner out and that cover's half the dog's expenses for the month easily).

The main reason I caution a person still living at home (at any age) to think carefully about getting a dog is the difficulty in many areas with renting while owning a dog and for pre-college age, the requirements to live in a dormitory and the potential for missing out on good opportunities for internships or study abroad/other states. If a person can reasonably predict their living situations for at least the next couple of years, that takes a lot of the potential problems out of the equation.

And for the record- at 20, I was financially self-sufficient so it is possible.
 

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For the most part I agree with you, but like KBL said, responsibility has nothing to do with age, I know several people who are quite older than me and I wouldn't trust them with a goldfish (No offense to goldfish lovers, I know they have their own set of requirements as well). But this shouldn't stop responsible young people from owning a dog. My boyfriend and I got Puck when I was 18 and he was 19 and we were living on our own, and we did make a few mistakes (feeding Puppy Chow, for one, blech!) But over all, Puck has a much better quality of life than his sister who lives with my grandpa, she is tethered outside most of the day because she is an under-exercised terror who constantly escapes due to boredom. And while Puck is not perfect, he still gets daily exercise, high quality food, regular vet visits, and plenty of love. So while not all young adults are responsible enough for a dog, it's still not right to ban all of them from getting one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The main reason I caution a person still living at home (at any age) to think carefully about getting a dog is the difficulty in many areas with renting while owning a dog and for pre-college age, the requirements to live in a dormitory and the potential for missing out on good opportunities for internships or study abroad/other states. If a person can reasonably predict their living situations for at least the next couple of years, that takes a lot of the potential problems out of the equation.
I think this puts it much better than I could have and now that I've read it, I think the fact that in having a dog you may need to forgo those college or early life experiences is what makes me so crazy about it.

And for the record- at 20, I was financially self-sufficient so it is possible.
Kudos to you! My mom had to start paying her own way when she was 16, so I know it's possible, but I maintain that the vast majority of 20 y/o's are not financially or socially ready to make that sort of commitment.

Morrwyn--I don't think they should be banned by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not much older than those 20-somethings (or so I like to tell myself) but I just think people should very carefully consider getting a dog at such a young age.
 

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Here's a twist :p.

I'm 24 going on 25 years old. I have an almost 14 month old Siberian Husky and live at home with my parents. The twist: (I did previously have a job) I am unable presently to get a job and for the foreseeable future will not be getting one. This isn't due to my being lazy. My mother has MS/Diabetes/PTSD/Bipolar and a bunch of other problems - I am her primary caregiver and within the next year - maybe two, my father will be put on the lung transplant list and if he should get it I will be his primary caregiver for a minimum of at least 6 months.

Since I do not work I don't have my own (steady) income (I do help people out who pay me a bit sometimes) but Bella is most certainly 100% my responsibility. It could be argued that my parents "pay" for me to live here and take care of my mother (but I really do it because I'm a good daughter and was raised better than my siblings who don't care). I do pay for her food, some of her toys (sometimes my father just likes to buy her toys), and her regular vet care. My father would pay for any medical emergency that should arise if I don't have the money at the time - in which case I will pay him back (though I don't have to).

Now, the question would then be - is Bella really not 100% my responsibility (I know TECHNICALLY because I would have help from my father with emergencies if need be but just a general overall without the technicality)? Was I then irresponsible for getting her?

Just some thing to think about! :D as I like to throw in twists :).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Niraya, I'm 25. Not much older than you. :) And you are clearly a responsible, wonderful person for being there for your family.

However, I think you're sort of proving my point. The economy SUCKS. Getting and maintaining a well paying job is not easy. I think par of being 100% responsible for a dog means that you are the sole person who is paying for their bills and yours. Not taking into consideration "gifts" that people give you. I am extremely close with my parents and the rest of my family, but if something happens to one of my pets, I would never expect them to pay for any portion of it. Sure that would be wonderful if they did, but I'm their owner. In getting them, I knew it would be my responsibility to provide for them in every necessary way. I am certain you are a great dog owner and I'm sure Bella is your dog, as opposed to your parents', but if they're going to pay if things go wrong, that's one hell of a safety net.

For the record, I NEVER said that 19 or 20 year olds are lazy or irresponsible. I definitely wasn't, but I was heading off to college and most certainly wasn't ready for the responsibility of having a dog. My middle sister? The thought of her having a dog terrifies me. My youngest one is 19 and she would be completely capable of doing it, but I think she truly understands the level of commitment it takes and at this time, I don't think she would get one. I just think having a dog is way more than what MOST young people (and some older people, but that's not my point) can handle. I can't imagine being in your situation. Much less having a dog in your situation. Do I think you were irresponsible? Never said that either. :) But, your specific situation probably makes you a hell of a lot more responsible than MOST, not ALL other people who are pre-college age.

BTW--I'm going to be spending a lot of time in your neck of the woods over the next few weeks! My girlfriend is getting married in Easton next month :)
 

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I'm only 22. I'm still in college. I live back-and-forth between my parents' house and place in my university town. My dog is fed a 5-star dog food, gets exercise and lovin's daily, and is taken to the vet when needed. My financial future is not set in stone, but I think a large percentage of the population is in the same boat, given the state of the economy.

I, like others, only disagre with you when it comes to attaching age to this generalization. Age and maturity/responsibility do not necessarily correlate. I'm only 22, but I did a couple years of research before getting a dog, and I understood the gravity of the choice. When I was 11 my family got a Westie, and I was largely responsible for him. Not completely, of course, and not financially, because I was 11, but I taught him his basic commands and I fed him and helped bathe him and worked hard to housebreak him and cleaned up quite a lot of messes in the meantime. So when I finally started seriously considering finding a pup of my own, I knew what it meant to get a dog.

I know a lot of people my age who fall into your generalization, but I also know quite a lot of older people who do as well. My aunt has a pointer of some sort who lives outside, and spends a LOT of time in a 5x5 kennel. When she opens the door she's wonders why he goes crazy and runs around the yard.

When it comes to ability to own a dog I think a person's education and dedication is a lot more relevant than how long they've been breathing.
 

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OP is stereotyping a bit, I'm 25, own my own house, and have a stable career, but I definitely see the point being put across. Worst of all it's the dogs that will suffer, and that really upsets me. What really irks me are the people who see others getting a dog and simply get one too, they're no better.
 

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Oh wow! Why in Easton? lol It's kind of ....yeah. Nothing real special here lol. Look me up if you have any spare free time if you want! I'm always here! lol

Thank you for the kind words :).

And my father is a huge safety net. I also have carecredit or credit cards and payment plans set up. My parents are an absolute last resort if I don't have the money for nutjob over here. I don't expect them to do it but I know that my father would. He loves Bella - he'll tell you otherwise and that he hates her and all she is, is a pain in the ass but she loves him more than the world and I think he feels pretty close to the same thing for her lol. I feel that he wants to see her healthy and that nothing happens to her.

Considering everything - I'm VERY fortunate. Beyond fortunate really to have the family I do that is willing to help me out IF I need it. In reality, I personally don't think I'm anywhere near 100% responsible for monster but my parents will tell you I really am.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
She grew up in Allentown. I guess she lives in Easton now and is getting married in Emmaus. I wish we were bringing the dogs! :(

OP is stereotyping a bit, I'm 25, own my own house, and have a stable career, but I definitely see the point being put across. Worst of all it's the dogs that will suffer, and that really upsets me. What really irks me are the people who see others getting a dog and simply get one too, they're no better.
So am I, literally. I'm 25. I own a house and have a stable career. :) The difference is I'm not in college anymore and I waited until I lived on my own to get my own dog. BTW, I admitted to generalizing! See:

Yes, I'm generalizing. I admit it.
I never, ever said a 19 or 20 year old wasn't physically capable of having or taking care of a dog. IMO it would be advantageous to both them and the dog to wait so you don't have to miss out on certain experiences.

There are 30-somethings or a 50-something out there who are not ready to own a dog. I have a certain co-worker in mind... but that's not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is that getting a dog is something that is going to change your life, so it's a good idea to evaluate your situation before you take the leap. That is all!
 

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Ah! Well that's pretty cool. :D A congratulations to her!

I can attest to an older person not being responsible or "mature" enough to own a dog. My mother being one of them. She's....50..something. lol 56! That's it! She's 56 and has two Maltese who are now 7 year or so years old. This doesn't have anything to do with her actual physical capability to take care of the dog because she still kind of can. She is actually not "mature" or responsible enough to take care of them. Granted, 7 years ago she was a lot better but 7 years ago I also told her she absolutely should NOT get dogs (I'm also only the daughter, so what do I know, right? lol)- but her diseases have diminished her ability substantially to properly care for them. They are now mostly my responsibility.
 

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I never, ever said a 19 or 20 year old wasn't physically capable of having or taking care of a dog. IMO it would be advantageous to both them and the dog to wait so you don't have to miss out on certain experiences.

There are 30-somethings or a 50-something out there who are not ready to own a dog. I have a certain co-worker in mind... but that's not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is that getting a dog is something that is going to change your life, so it's a good idea to evaluate your situation before you take the leap. That is all!
Agreed on that part. It is hard for anyone to consider the ramifications of a 10+ year commitment to a living, needy creature. But the life changes that most people go through between the ages of about 18 to 23 years are different than say, a 5 year time from between the ages of 30 and 35. Regardless of someones ABILITY to be responsible for a dog, an important factor should be the opportunity costs to owning a dog.
The human brain- particularly the frontal lobe AKA the judgment center- doesn't fully mature until about 23 to 25 years old. Until then, there is a lower level of impulse control and lower ability to think strategically and to evaluate consequences of behaviors; exactly the sort of long term planning that is needed to consider the pros and cons of dog ownership. So it makes it harder for a teen to weight the immediate gratification of a fun, loving new best friend with the consequences like limiting their job choices, their dating choices, their education choices etc.
This isn't to say that a young adult should not get a dog, it is just to say that sometimes delayed gratification is worth it. I love Chester, he's wonderful and is a great addition to my life, but I am so very thankful that I waited until I had my own house and a steady career and had gotten to fully experience college (living in the dorms, study abroad etc) and the early post college years while "free" (I travelled and worked abroad and moved around to some of the major US cities on both coasts). Now that I'm more settled, what I have to "give up" to have a dog is less than it would have been 5-10 years ago. Now I mostly "give up" small things like the occassional late night out or chance at overtime at work and have to do a little extra planning for vacations or a weekend away.
 

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I'm new here, still waiting to get my dog later this year, but I wanted to say that I agree with the OP. Yes, there's some generalization and there are certainly 19 and 20 year olds who are qualified to own dogs, but I think the vast majority would be better off waiting. There is so much moving and instability during and immediately after college that an irresponsible owner will be likely to give the dog up or give a lower quality of care, while the responsible person might give up important life opportunities in order to care for the dog. In either case, the person would've been better off waiting a few years.

I'm 28 and I've been waiting to get a dog since college. Sure, I've wanted a dog more than anything, but the situation just wasn't right - I was always traveling every week with work (not something I could've predicted when I was in college), then after that job I was unemployed for a while. Now I finally have a house with a stable job only 10min away (and no travel!) and I'm ready to get my dog. Delaying the gratification of getting a dog can definitely be the best situation for both the owner and the dog. Until then, get a cat, or a bunny, or some other easier pet (I did just this, and have two wonderful rabbits as a result).

ETA: I thought I should add that I grew up with dogs and I did all of the training and was involved with all of their care (though I wasn't financially responsible for them). I know how much work they are and knew when I would be able to take that on. For someone who's never had a dog, or any pet at all, it can be hard to fathom what it will be like, so I love your idea new dog owners fostering or borrowing a friend's dog for a while.
 

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I think anyone should be able to get a dog as long as they're responsible. If someone knows their child and will only partly help, then it's a no go. They have to give, as you said, 100% of their time. I'm not really a fan of people just letting their dog out to pee/poop in the yard and not taking them for a walk or people working long jobs and not giving the dog the mental and physical stimulation they need. I see that a lot around here and those people don't deserve dogs.

I don't like talking about myself, but at around 19/20, I would've been ready to have a dog. My brother? Not sure as we had hamsters when we were younger and I was the one taking care of all three of them (feeding, cleaning, playing). I wouldn't trust my brother with Luke and he's 26. I've wanted a dog since forever and finally found the right breed by researching. So three years ago, we got our first dog.

Now my aunt, she did a dumb thing (she's 40 something), she didn't weigh the pros/cons of a puppy (their previous English Springer Spaniel died) and thought she could handle the breed. I knew it'd be a bad idea and she's the type where you can't say anything to persuade her not to get one. So she did out of impulse. This puppy did what puppies do and bit her granddaughter. So the puppy had to go, she didn't have time to train the pup otherwise. So the pup was sold.

So for people like my aunt or what I described above, I don't think they should own a dog. To those responsible, I say go for it. And Niraya--you're such a wonderful person for helping your parents out. I hope your parents are doing well. Kudos to you; there should be more people like you. If there were more people like you, the world would be a better and kinder place.
 

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So for people like my aunt or what I described above, I don't think they should own a dog. To those responsible, I say go for it. And Niraya--you're such a wonderful person for helping your parents out. I hope your parents are doing well. Kudos to you; there should be more people like you. If there were more people like you, the world would be a better and kinder place.
Thank you very much :). Though I don't consider myself a wonderful person lol. It's actually quite stressful being the only person that will take care of our parents. As I said before - my other siblings are virtually worthless and I was I guess raised a lot better than they were. In truth they want nothing to do with their mother and only talk to her enough where they can stay in her good graces in hopes to get something when she passes, as terrible as that is to say. They don't see her hardly ever. My half sister who lives ~10 minutes away doesn't come to visit or see her unless she needs to borrow money (she does this quite a bit) but only comes out to actually SEE mom about once every 5 months? My half brother lives out near Pittsburgh but spent 7 years living with us because he had a drug problem and "no where to go". Basically he just used us.

My parents I think are about as well as they can be. My father was diagnosed with a pretty advanced lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis or IPF. His IPF is one that is advancing pretty rapidly and his lung function is about 31% but the doctors are astonished at the things he can do. He is an over the road truck driver (which is a pretty physically demanding job)and he still works full time and can maintain a healthy persons oxygen level while being active. The doctors said just looking at him they'd never guess his disease was so advanced and they only know that through the testing.

My mother with her mess of problems can really only get worse which is a terrible thing to say but true. She was actually very fortunate in the fact that she was diagnosed with MS later in life as it is most usually a younger (20ish) persons disease. She was diagnosed going on 6 or 7 years ago. She had spinal fusion surgery last year in March and went through quite a bit of complications (ventilator for 2 weeks, 2 blood transfusions [we're still not sure how this all happened as it was a minimally invasive surgery] and about 4 months of rehab). While her MS hasn't progressed and seems to be in remission you can tell that between all of her medication (she's probably on about 15 different kinds of medicine a day) and the diseases she is on/has they're drastically affecting her. She's slowly forgetting more and more things and quite a bit more often. She has problems remembering what the next parts of her sentences are mid sentence sometimes.


Sorry for the thread hijack :(
 

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Well.. when I was 18 I moved out, bought my own house, paid a mortgage, bills, vehicle payments, etc and I think when I was 20 (two years after I was living on my own) I got Cash (he was 2 years old and already trained at the time)... I like to think I was quite responsible back in them days, he was a healthy and happy dog, in some cases neglected and lonely as I worked lots, but he didn't seem to mind too much, he was never destructive or had behavoiral issues and always happily waiting for me to come home from work.. but I can admit I am even MORE responsible dog owner at 25... You definitely learn a lot along the way, and amongst my learning I decided to get Thumper as a puppy 11 months ago and I again, still keep learning as I go.

It is a bit of a generalization as lots of people are individuals and quite different from the next. I know 18-20 year olds with deceased parents and no relatives that have had to raise younger siblings themselves... so It really just depends on the person and the scenario. A lot of people at the beginning probably arent quite prepared for a dog, I know I wasn't, but I wanted one and I did my very best to be as responsible as possible, but the thing is, you learn a lot of this as you go being a first time dog owner. No one, in my opinion, is a perfect and professionably responsible first time dog owner. In my opinion, we learn and grow as we go ;)
 

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I'm 19, live at home, and am jobless. I'm also not in college. I've been caring for my ill mother for most of my life and we just found out she may, once again, have cancer.
I have 3 dogs, two rats, a cat and a betta. They all receive adequate food, general care, medical care, etc. While I was working, I provided everything I could for them myself, but now I need help with it. I do everything for my animals, aside from finances. Everything. Even when I was in school, I still did everything, and didn't ask a thing of anyone else -except finances-.
It's perfectly possible for a young person, living at home, to keep pets. At this moment, I'm not working not because I'm lazy, but because there are no jobs available where I'm at.

In the end, it boils down to the individual, and whether or not the individual is willing and able to take responsibility. Is this kid willing to step it up and get a job to care for their dog should their parents' financial support halt? Are they willing to give this animal the care and attention it requires and deserves? If the kid is still living at home, does their family agree to help out?

But in the same turn, there are some people who should really take dogs on a trial run to see if they can handle it. Not everyone can.
 

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I got Sydney when I was 20, right along with moving into my first apartment. I certainly don't think I missed out on anything since I had already spent the previous two years living in dorms and all that jazz. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those first two years of college freedom but honestly I don't think Sydney has held me back from a single thing from the time I got her. Maybe it's because she isn't an especially needy or demanding dog and because my dad has always been open to watching her for a week or so when I've gone on trips. I've had lots of resume building job experiences, traveled a bunch and still made time to give my dog a healthy and enriching life. So to me I have some difficulty understanding what the down side would be if you're a reasonably responsible person. Maybe most people just aren't at my age? I'm almost 23 years old.
 

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Maybe responsible/mature isn't quite the generalization you were looking for? Like all of us we had specific challenges to make us who we are now... myself for example held down 4 part timer jobs while maintaing an 85% average in school. I NEVER had spare time, or the resources for a dog -- even though I begged my mom for years to get one.

What if you looked at it in a way that (again generalizing here and there are many many many exceptions ) Teens never really see things for the long haul -- they think in a way that is short term kind of like "RIGHT NOW a dog seems like a lot of fun" but I find many don't get to the "but in a few months when I am in school doing A,B,C ... I won't have time for a dog" Now, that being said, obviously everyone here young or old has gotten to step two of considering a dog ....

Myself, 23, I waited until I was done school. My partner agreed that once I was done we could consider a puppy , we had the house we had the car, he has the job ( I did... laid off next week woo! >.<) ... then when I was a few weeks from graduation we decided to go ahead ... let the research begin! I spent DAYS an NIGHTS and WEEKS researching, behaviours, breeds, training, shelters, breeders etc. before we new FOR sure 100% what we were looking for. First it was a piglet ( I just love them) but not allowed in city limits where we are ... second was a bulldog ... a woman my partner works with, she has an American Bulldog Xmastiff, and a male Alapha Blue Blood .... well... left alone in the yard and WHAMO puppies .... Loki was free and timing was right so here we are ....

so after that long winded story ... I would agree that "most" People don't think it through ..... age is not really to much of a factor BUT I feel IMO that "younger" people don't think it through the most.

I ALSO agree with the trial run, and most rescue organizations here (Ontario) have a very strict re-homing policies (atleast the ones I looked into on suggestion from the Humae Society) .... If I had a trial of an 8 week old puppy.... I would have taken the 5 year old shelter dog >.<
 
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