Deciding to bring home a little fluff ball of love, also known as a puppy, is one of life’s greatest joys. The excitement, the cuddles, that new puppy smell—all culminate in a rich, delightful experience for the whole family. What’s not to love? Taking on a new puppy can be an ideal experience for many families but, unfortunately, others underestimate the commitment a puppy requires, often resulting in behavioral problems or relinquishment to the shelter. Consider this puppy’s perspective, as you deliberate whether a puppy is right for your family. 

Dear future family,

My name is Charlie, and as you can plainly see, I am an adorable chocolate Labrador retriever puppy itching to find my forever home. I thought I’d found one already, but my last family wasn’t ready for all the energy and time that I needed, so I ended up back in this animal shelter. A lot of my canine friends here have had similar experiences, and we talk a lot about what went wrong. While I want nothing more than to come home with you and your family, please consider what I need to ensure I thrive during my first year of life, which costs time, money, and commitment. 

#1: A warm welcome

As excited as I am to join your pack, I need a little time to adapt. I will probably play great with the other dogs, cats, and children at home, but I need time to relax and recharge, too. Having a space to call my own, with a bed and a couple of my own toys, will help me feel safe and secure. A crate in a quiet room works fine, so long as you don’t use my crate to punish me.

#2: Veterinary care

Shortly after you bring me home, you should call Palisades Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment. I’ll be needing a series of puppy vaccinations against harmful diseases, such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Frequent physical examinations, deworming, and parasite prevention are also important during my vulnerable puppy weeks, so plan to visit the veterinary hospital at least every three to four weeks in the beginning. These visits should become less frequent as I get older. Don’t forget to factor in the expense of my neuter procedure!

#3: Puppy supplies

I may be small, but I require quite a few items to keep me happy, healthy, and safe, including high quality puppy food, water and food bowls, collar, leash, identification tags, bedding, toys, and training treats, as well as miscellaneous items, such as puppy shampoo and training pads. Remember, costs quickly add up, so make a list, and do the math before deciding to bring me home. Also, keep in mind that many of these items will need replacing as I grow. 

#4: Socialization

There is no one I will love and adore more than my own family; however, meeting and socializing with a large variety of two-legged and four-legged creatures is essential for my behavioral health. The more people, places, and pets I safely meet, the more confident I will feel inside and outside my home. Puppy classes are a great way for me to socialize, especially in my early weeks, when I haven’t received all of my vaccinations. Palisades Veterinary Hospital will have some recommendations, I’m sure. 

#5: Time

Many families underestimate the time and patience puppies require. Expect to spend a lot of time playing, training, cuddling, and taking me out for exercise. In the early days, I’ll need frequent potty breaks, and shouldn’t be left alone for too long. As my permanent teeth come in when I’m around 12 weeks old, I’ll need lots of opportunities to chew. I may find the baseboards, or your favorite pair of shoes, suitable options, so please be patient with me as I learn what is off-limits. Large, active breeds like mine require plenty of physical and mental exercise, to feel stable and content. Prepare to routinely exercise and train me, or else I may develop unruly behaviors—or worse, fear and anxiety. 

#6: Lots of love

Last, but certainly not least, puppies require boatloads of love and affection. I know, I know, this is the easy part. I mean, who could resist my velvety brown fur, my adoring puppy gaze, and my chocolate button nose? Adoring me may be a no-brainer, but ensure you factor in all of the above circumstances before taking the leap into puppyhood with me. My only wish is to have a stable, secure, and committed family to grow old with, and I hope you wish for the same!

With love, hope, and lots of sloppy kisses,

Charlie the chocolate Lab 

Like all good things, taking on a puppy requires time and effort, but is almost always worth it. When you choose a puppy, let the Palisades Veterinary Hospital team partner with you, and help ensure you raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted pup. Call us if you need guidance or advice.