Dear Porky & Buddy,
Can you help me? I am 13 years old and I really, really, really want a dog, but my mom won’t allow it.
She says they are dirty and we can catch diseases from them and that she would end up taking care of it and blah, blah, blah. What can I tell her to persuade her?
First of all, ditch the phrase “blah, blah, blah.” Then try this approach: “Ask not what your mother can do for you — ask what you can do for your mother.”
So . . . are your grades up to par? Is your room clean? Do you ever help around the house? Do you complain about it? Ditch the complaining.
Because, in fact, your mother is right. If you have a dog it will be your parents’ ultimate responsibility, as the adults in the family, to make sure he is trained, fed properly, walked, taken to the vet, and licensed and to clean up or repair any damage that he might do in your house or the neighbor’s yard.
You are 13. You need to start acting like you are 23.
Make a pact with your Mom. You will save up a certain sum of money to contribute toward the expenses of owning a dog. You will spend some time at the local shelter interacting with dogs (and not come home whining about how you want to adopt one immediately).
You will go to the library and check out some books about how to choose the right dog, how to care for a dog, how to train a dog, how to practice good hygiene around a dog so you don’t catch any parasites or diseases. (It’s rare but it can happen.)
You will figure out what equipment your dog will need and what it will cost. You will talk to a veterinarian about what she recommends for routine health care and the costs of vaccinations, office visits for check ups, and flea and heartworm medications.
Then, and only then, will you be ready to help your Mom (and Dad) with the responsibilities of caring for a new pet.
Will it work? We have no idea. Will it be worthwhile? Absolutely, because even if you still can’t persuade her, you will have impressed her with your maturity, you will have learned a lot, you will have had fun helping out with shelter dogs, and you will be ready for your own dog when you really are 23.
And if it does work then you and your Mom (and Dad) will experience both the joy and the awesome responsibility of having a dog in your life.
So good luck, either way!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.oswegohumane.org.