Our family has adopted an eight-week-old puppy from a pet rescue - a sweet Dalmatian who had been rejected for being “too ugly” due to her sparse display of spots.
While we are delighted to have added a dog to our family, it seems as though puppies - especially Dalmatians - spark an urge in strangers to give unsolicited advice.
One morning last week, I took my puppy out for a pee, and a nosy passerby called to me from across the street. “Hey, you know Dalmatians are a lot of work right? And a puppy? You’re going to have your hands full with that one. That dog is going to be so hyper, I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into,” he said, slowly shaking his head as the words spewed from his lips.
Flashing a fake smile, I thanked him for his concern and let him know that my last Dalmatian - who had lived to be 15.5 years old, had actually been a pleasant pup.
Seemingly relieved, he retracted his cautions with an, “oh well I’m sure you know what you’re doing then,” and then wished me well, and went on his way.
I’m not sure what his purpose was in pushing his cautions as he passed by, but his unwanted warnings had me wondering: why do people feel so compelled to share their concerns with strangers, without having any backstory or real cause for concern?
Then I remembered a viral video that I had watched on YouTube a few years back called “Gift” by Zsemberi Film. In the short film, a family adopts a little girl and welcomes her into their home, and after she makes messes and gets in the way one too many times, the family quickly loses interest in her. Eventually, the dad puts the girl in the car, drives out to a field, throws her favourite stuffy, and as she chases after it, he drives away. In his rearview mirror, you discover that the girl is actually a puppy, sitting solo in the centre of the street, abandoned and confused.
The video pulls on your heartstrings and for good reason.It sparked a slew of comments about pet adoption and abuse, and shed light on a big problem in regards to animal welfare that needs to be addressed.
Children love puppies and it can be easy to give in to their sweet little pleas to add a furry friend to the family. But just like the decision to have a child should be well thought out, so should be the decision to adopt a pet.
While I may have gone into adding a puppy to my family fully prepared for the sleepless nights, nibbled-on shoes, and late-night walks, many people rush into giving or adopting a pet without thinking about the long-term impact that their decision will have on the life of that pet, and themselves.
I’m not sure if the stranger on the street had good intentions, or if he was just being a busybody, but I do know that it is important to carefully consider your decision to adopt a dog, because it’s not something you should be doing on a whim - it’s a lifelong commitment that you have to be willing to make.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @bitsofbee.