Three years ago I started thinking about getting a dog. Seeing neighbors out with their small dogs, I knew I wanted what I consider a real dog, a big one, not a dog that would fit in my purse. I made a pros and cons list for dog ownership, but over time the list of reasons for not getting a dog has gotten longer and longer.
Where I live there are a lot of rules, and one of them concerns the size of dogs. Specifically, the dog cannot weigh more than 25 pounds. The neighborhood rumor mill supplied this story: A woman was told to get rid of her dog after management showed up at her door with a set of scales and demanded to weigh the pooch, which unfortunately came in at nearly 30 pounds. The owner moved out and took the dog with her.
A size limit means I can’t adopt a young mixed-breed shelter mutt because there’s no real way to know how large the dog will be when it grows. According to a study, shelter staff correctly guesses a dog’s breed only 67 percent of the time.
There are no sidewalks here. What we have for half the year are increasingly narrow roads with snow banks on the sides. I don’t have a fenced yard either, which means no place to let a big dog romp and play.
By the time I got this far, I knew it was hopeless. I never even got to the part about potential veterinary costs, or the price of quality dog food and grooming, flea treatments and toys.
I’ve found a partial solution, however. I’m thinking of signing up as a dog walker volunteer at the shelter. Maybe I’ll fall in love with a tiny, purse-size dog.