Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pooches: What Are the Real Dog Essentials?

The other day E was at the store standing behind three little boys that didn't speak English. They were trying to buy a generic brand shampoo when they realized they were short 10 cents. One of the boys left to go find money, and when E realized what was going on, he gave the boys a dime so they could buy the shampoo. The boy did come back with a quarter, which he tried to pay back to E, and when E told him to keep it the boys were very excited. After they left, the cashier told E that the boys were buying the shampoo for a dog they just got, and they were happy that now they could start saving to buy a leash.
I teach in a neighborhood where pet overpopulation is a problem, and many dogs are being left homeless as people are still struggling with the effects of the economy.
My students are often telling me stories about how they want to help the dogs left behind in their alleys or how there are so many free puppies being given away in boxes that they will take one home, and it becomes their responsibility to finance it. Knowing how many dogs need homes, I do believe this is a better option to keep them safe and off the streets and avoid over-crowding the shelters.
We actually started a Dog Club at my school where we talk about how to care for our dogs, the dangers of overpopulation, and how to help dogs in our community.  The biggest question I am usually asked is what do they need to buy for a new dog. We all know how expensive dog ownership can be, but I'm often stumped trying to figure out the essentials when you're trying really hard to care for a dog, but you just don't have money to spare.

What are the essentials dogs really need to be able to live a happy life?

Also:
We usually tell new dog owners this, and this is what I used to consider the "essentials".
Check our Facebook page for extra photos and storylines beyond the blog.


21 comments:

bigalrlz said...

The shampoo story really reminds me how what is a tiny bit of $ to me is a huge chunk of change to someone else. I'd say the most important dog essential, especially in the city, is a good leash/collar combo, including ID TAGS. It's awesome you've started a Dog Club at school, such important life lessons can be learned by caring for a dog :)

mandi mankvitz said...

A big heart and lots of patience! And, a good leash, collar (with tags!) and kibble... Some of our local food pantries now collect pet food, so maybe this is a resource in your area for the dog club? Great work, E!!

houndstooth said...

If it were me, I'd pay for a leash for the boys and for a few toys and tell the store owner to give it to them when they come in. What a sweet story and dedicated group of boys!

What I would consider essential is a collar, leash, ID, vaccinations and a lot of love and patience.

Livierules said...

Ditto to the first two comments. What to buy first is definitely a good collar and leash. Love & patience can't be stressed enough! Petey and will be together 8 years in 2 weeks!!!!!!!!He was basically a feral dog when I got him and I almost gave him back but....happily, we both hung in together....:)

adventuresofadogmom said...

Aw... what a sweet story.

I've actually given several humane education presentations to school kids about what it takes to care for a dog.

Of course they will need a collar and a leash with proper identification as well as food and shampoo but they also need to remember that the dog will need vaccinations as well as heartworm prevention and maybe even flea and tick prevention.

But, aside from the material things they also need to be able to spend time with the dog, playing, working on manners, etc.

Debra@Peaceabull said...

Great story. I have to agree that a leash, collar, ID, vaccinations and insect repellant are high on the list. Food and access to clean water, of course. Anything can be turned into a toy and when "their people" are playing with them I think dogs are happy.

Alden said...

That's amazing that you started a Dog Club at school to teach the kids how to care for their dogs. I agree with earlier comments that a collar with ID tags and leash are essential, as well as decent food, heart worm medicine, and flea and tick repellent. I feel like the medicine is especially important because in the long run, it costs much less than vet costs if the dog happens to get sick.

My boyfriend and I have the means to spend extra money on our dog, and perhaps spend a bit too much money on her, but this just reminds me that dogs don't require much to be happy and well cared for.

Katherine said...

Food, shelter, good health, exercise and socialization/training. To be able to take your dog anywhere with other dogs seems to me to be a great dog life.

K-Koira said...

A collar, leash, and food are the three main essentials, in my opinion. For a free puppy, likely flea medication or treatment, shampoo, and an immediate visit to the vet that includes immunizations.

Corbin said...

I definitely think a collar and leash are the most important, along with a name tag. I think it's great that you have a Dog Club. It's so important for young kids to learn the importance of caring for another living creature. Maybe some of the things you could provide them, if you don't already, is dates and times of vaccine clinics in your area. Or, if you have them, organizations that will help with the cost spay/neuter.
-Corbin's momma, Jenn

Two French Bulldogs said...

A Dog Club! What a fantastic idea
Benny & Lily

Trissi_V said...

A good leash, a good collar, ID tags, a brush (helps with bounding and taking care of the pup), food and a visit to the vet. Everything else can come later and can be stuff that you find on sale or at the dollar store even (ceramic bowls for food and water, a polar fleece blanket to sleep on...I use blankets to designate space for my pups at home, helps with boundary training).

Really, most dogs are so minimal...all they want is to love and be loved.

ohmelvin.com said...

Love that you do dog education at school! My answer would be a collar with id, a leash, access to fresh water and food and as many vaccinations as they can afford, starting with rabies. Love goes a long way on the road to all things.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

I think good food is the most important thing dogs really need. Though we all love to treat our dogs to the finest, I think a basic nylon collar, leash and ID tag can last a dog's life. In our area, there are great low cost clinics for vaccines and vet care. I love that these kids were saving their money to care for their dog. It is such a pet peeve of mine for kids to beg their parents for a dog and then not take responsibility!

Alanna said...

Cute story! I'm a student on a tight budget, but to me, essential expenses (especially for a new puppy) are vet exam, vaccinations, neutering/spaying, and name/I.D. Tags. Flea/tick prevention as needed depending on the season (I don't use during the winter/colder months). Appropriate collar and leash. Good quality food. Some money budgeted/saved for unexpected vet visits and treatment, and any travel or boarding fees (I fly with my dog a couple times a year).

Non $$ essentials: time and patience for daily walks/exercise and training.

Your dog club is a fantastic idea - when you're educated about what a dog needs and the options available to fill them it makes it a whole lot easier to make your resources go further (not to mention raise a healthy and happy pup)! I always love the crafty and creative ideas you guys post about finding and/or making inexpensive dog stuff.

sweetemaline said...

I think a dog club is such a smart idea! A little bit of education goes such a long way!

As far as essentials, I'd agree with what most everyone else said: collar, leash, ID tags, microchip (if possible - they do free microchip events all the time), decent food, and access to fresh water.

Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie
www.ourwaldobungie.com

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

Dog stuff adds up so quickly -- in quantity and cost!! I think we're all in agreement that leash/collar/ID is top priority. We've taken in a few dogs from friends that can no longer care for them and while we care for them as our own, we're not as willing to put the amount of money into them. We make sure they all have leash/collar/ID, and we keep an eye open for the free options - mostly covering microchipping and rabies. We also have a low-cost clinic that does spay/neutering and vaccines to get them up-to-date. Heartworm prevention, as expensive as it is, is also so, SO important.

And while it's not a necessity, we find that a crate comes in handy with a new pooch -- we see them all the time of craigslist for reasonable amount. Food, of course -- our shelter runs a pet food bank where they hand out free kibble.

It's so great that you're helping to change the way our society views animals -- by starting them off right EARLY. Such a heartwarming story about the boys!

Rachel said...

Your dog club sounds like such a great thing - what wonderful tools you are giving your students to help them help animals. That is seriously awesome!
As far as essentials, basically food, a leash and shelter. Pups can definitely use more things but as long as they are cared for and have food, I think they can survive on that. Like you said, I think it is definitely a better solution that an overcrowded shelter where the outcome is not always positive.

Annie & Pauls Mom said...

Collars, leashes, tags, shots, toy or 2, and a bed to sleep on.

Sarah said...

I don't think a certain level of income is necessary to give a pet a good life. Food, shelter, love, and having basic medical needs met are the bare minimum. I think there are plenty of low cost/free spay/neuter, vaccination and micro-chip programs that those needs could be covered through those programs with an owner willing to go the extra mile to take advantage of them. Maybe that's the only real need - that every dog has an owner willing to do whatever it takes to give them the best life they can. And that a good life is not a fancy collar or a raw diet. A good life, as any dog would tell us, is one with a human who loves them.

kissa-bull said...

That was supaw sweet of E! we send you extra sugary pibble kisses as a thank you!

Brinks and Bella

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