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Dear Dish-It: I Want a Puppy!

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Dear Dish-It,

I really want a puppy. When I was younger my parents promised me that when I turned 12 I could get one as long as I took care of it. But now they’re saying that they never said that. It’s not fair! I promised I would take care of it but they don’t believe me. What should I do?

Puppy Love

Dear Puppy Love,

Growing up with a dog can be an enriching experience, but it's also a HUGE responsibility. Much bigger than you realize. Your parents know you better than anyone, and if you’re like most 12-year-olds, they might suspect that you’ll stop taking on those responsibilities over time. Which means they’ll be stuck walking, feeding, playing, and cleaning up after your pet. Understand that owning a puppy requires sacrifice: you’d have to give up time with your friends and you may even lose some sleep.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Puppies require a lot of time and training. For the first little while, it’s like having a new baby in the house. They have bundles of energy, they pee in the house, and they chew on anything they can sink their teeth into. Your parents may not want to deal with that. Also consider the cost. Your parents may not be able to afford a pet. There are so many expenses that come with a puppy - food, immunizations, neutering, vet bills and then, of course, the cost of purchasing the puppy itself which could be in the hundreds or thousands depending on the type of dog.

Prove That You're Responsible

Talk to someone - preferably someone your age - who has had a puppy and ask them about all the responsibilities. If, after you’ve done your research, you still want one, ask your parents for a chance to prove that you're responsible. See if they’ll let you get a small, inexpensive pet like a fish, hamster or guinea pig. If you show them that you can look after the pet everyday by feeding it and cleaning its cage or tank, maybe your parents will be more willing to reconsider the puppy idea. And if they’re still not sold, try asking for a dog instead of a puppy. Chances are it’ll already be trained (so no chewing on your mom’s fancy shoes!) and if you get it from the pound it will cost less. 

Have Your Say

Do you have any advice for Puppy Love? Leave your comment below!