Soon may the wellerman come
Chances are you have heard the phrase about how a dog is “a person’s best friend,” but it is likely less common to hear that raising a puppy changes your life. From the pre-selection process to vet visits, to buying toys, treats, leashes, and more, there is a lot of work that goes into acquiring and raising a new little fur friend.
Scrolling through social media seeing how cute, cuddly, and smart dogs are can make just about anyone consider becoming a dog parent, but before you do so, let me give you some insights into my experience with selecting our puppy, “Weller,” as a New Practitioner who is busy and has never owned a dog!
Selection and preparation
Selecting how you want to acquire a dog is a personal preference. Some look for a breeder, some want to rescue, adopt, or might even have a friend who may not be able to care for a dog. If selecting a breeder, it is important to do your own research online, look at reviews, websites, social media, and schedule a call with the contacts to be sure you have a legitimate source. In my experience, I worked with my wife to look for local breeders for mini golden doodle puppies. It was important to decide on the type of breed, and consider other factors such as size, color, gender, and more. We were able to find a local breeder who was 20 minutes from our home, and had a lot of credible information on their website and social media.
Going through the selection process with a breeder can be quite educational and you may learn a lot in the weeks or months to come. Do note, that some breeds and breeders have waitlists and may require a deposit ahead of time. It is best to contact the breeder before sending deposits to be safe and ensure you trust the process they have setup.
Within the selection process, our breeder had a form to fill out where we were asked questions about our preferences, living situation, and more to best assess their breed with our preferences. We were sent weekly pictures, videos, and information on temperament testing of all the puppies in the litter. Another area to consider is if it is important to meet the puppies in person before selection or not, and discuss this with the breeder. Some people may be uncomfortable with not meeting ahead of pick up, especially if there are many puppies to choose from, but we felt very comfortable because of the thorough information we received ahead of time.
Puppy pick up day!
Puppy pick up is an exciting and emotional day. You bring your new furry friend home, but they are scared, anxious, and curious. It is a great idea to do your research ahead of time and be proactive in gathering tools, supplies, and educating yourself on training. One resource I would recommend is looking up Zak George on YouTube and checking out his free playlists on dog training. These were critical educational videos to help prepare and continue to work on training. We also followed a lot of dogs, trainers, or owners on Instagram—which was helpful in gathering supplies—along with our breeder’s website that included specific recommendations for our breed.
Balancing work, life, and dog
One final area to consider is balancing work and life with a new dog. As pharmacists, we are often asked to work long hours, travel, and have professional or social obligations outside of work. I urge you to consider if caring for a dog works with your personal schedule. It can be challenging to balance everything on your plate while caring for a new dog. This may also lead people to get an older dog, a rescue, or an already trained/conditioned dog versus a puppy.
Our journey raising “Weller” has been educational, exciting, frustrating, and challenging. Getting a dog will change your life, hopefully for the better! If you want to follow Weller’s journey, check out his Instagram page @wellerthedood!
Deeb D. Eid, PharmD, is a regulatory affairs Advisor for CVS Health. He resides in Grand Rapids, MI, and enjoys personal fitness, Oregon football, bourbon tasting, and spending time with his wife Kristen, family, and friends.