Earlier I shared a little of the journey my daughter went through before being allowed to get a puppy of her own. Below is the letter we gave her of all the tasks and questions she had to complete in order for us to discuss it further. She did above and beyond this, which further showed us her level of commitment and responsibility.
If you are facing the same situation (of a tween asking for a new dog or puppy) or are considering getting a new family dog or puppy, this might be useful.
Thank you for your letter requesting a dog. The puppy you picked out is very
cute! However, before we can get a dog, we need you to do some more
research and planning, and provide us with more information.
1. Please check out a couple books from the library – one on training a
dog and one on caring for a dog. Read the books.
2. Do some research online about this breed of dog.
- How big will the dog get?
- What is its temperament?
- How long will it live?
- Is it a dog that is really tolerant of children? (remember any dog
we get has to endure your little sister pulling on it. We don’t want it hurt or her bit)
- How much social interaction does this breed need?
- How much training?
- Is it easy to train or will you have to spend a lot of time training
- How strong is the dog?
- Will you be able to walk it or will it walk you?
3. And finally, we need you to put together a plan for the dog.
- How would we get it?
- Where would it live?
- Who would feed, water, walk, and bathe it?
- Who would train it?
- Who would pick up its poop?
- How much does it cost to have a dog? While this puppy is free, we
need to know what the costs are going to be: food, spaying/neutering, shots,
training, equipment (leash, collar, house, toys, etc.), boarding or pet
sitting frees, grooming, etc.
- Talk to a dog owner to find out what else you need to know and plan
Once you pull this information together (on paper) and give it to us, we
will discuss it more. We need to know that you fully understand what type of
responsibility it is to care for a dog. We need to decide if this breed of
dog is right for our family and we need to make sure we understand the costs
and can afford it.
We love you and look forward to working this out with you.
Mom and Dad