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Lefevers: Make sure you can pay for that baby or puppy

December 17, 2012

Babies and puppies are two of the most precious creatures on Earth and they are the two things that can always bring a smile to my face. There is something so therapeutic about the love that each of them provide and require.



Babies have a distinct smell that is unmistakably fresh and new. They exude the meaning of life in a way that is uniquely theirs. I donít often run low on words, but holding a newborn takes my breath away every single time.



Babies bring with them a heavenly peace and serenity that most of us long for as adults. They provide us with unconditional love and acceptance that is truly overwhelming. I believe that their very presence keeps the world from falling apart.



However, babies turn into toddlers and the next thing you know, they are pre-teens. No longer do they smell fresh like sunshine, but more like spoiled milk and dirt. We donít love them any less ó in fact, our affection morphs into an encapsulating sphere that contains every emotion known to man.



Yes, those little bundles of joy slap us with different stages of growth and development, each with its own variation of excitement and happiness. And that is what drives us back to having another baby. We yearn for that smell and the lack of ability babies possess to talk back.



Puppies are much the same. Those little stinkers are so cute with their fluffy hair and long, sticky licks to the face.



But, like a baby, puppies eventually grow up. In their toddler stage, they piddle on the floor, chew furniture, hide socks and bark at their shadows.



Throughout adolescence, they chase every single thing that moves, dig holes, jump on people, sort through the trash and truly believe they are still puppies when they climb up in our laps.



As adults, our lively mutts begin to show signs of aging with the gray around their muzzles and the occasional accident on the carpet. What was once a race out the door and up the hill is now a slow stroll to the back porch to bask in the sun. Itís simply the nature of a dog.



My husband says that both babies and puppies enter the home through the uncontrollable urge of the female residing within. Whether true or not, it seems to have been the way these things have occurred in our home, so Iíll go with it.



The biggest thing that these two creatures have in common is the cost associated with rearing them.



Babies go to the doctor for shots; puppies go to the veterinarian. Babies eat; puppies eat more. Babies need diapers; puppies ruin carpets. Babies and puppies, alike, necessitate copious amounts of time and attention. And when either becomes ill, they require lots and lots of money.



A friend of mine, the mother of a toddler, recently purchased a loving, lively, toy poodle for her little girl. He is the most adorable little thing this side of heaven. He played with his new little girl, chasing her from one side of the yard to the other until they were both emptied of energy and ready for a nap. Everything was fine, until the poodle fell ill. He became limp and practically lifeless.



Her husband toted the puppy to the animal hospital only to learn that this precious guy is diabetic. It seems that this is a rather common problem for toy poodles, but neither my friend nor her husband were made aware of this potentially life-threatening problem beforehand. In fact, not only was the puppy diabetic, but also had a virus, which created even more concern for his life.



The puppy stayed in the hospital for three days to the tune of $250 per day. Thankfully, they had an agreement with the seller that placed the burden of payment back on them, otherwise, they would have been out $750 right before Christmas.



And that brings me to my point.



Christmastime represents the highest volume of sales for puppies. People simply adore the idea of a puppy popping out of a box, licking and jumping all over the kids and it is a lovely sentiment. I would never begrudge anyone the opportunity to experience that moment with their child. However, when thinking of purchasing a puppy, it is imperative to incorporate them into your budget as a new member of the family.



Too many puppies turn into grown dogs who are tied up or penned outside, becoming more of a burden than an extension of family.



Domesticated animals should be treated with the care and love they have come to represent. After all, they accept us unconditionally, even when we fall short.



Please be responsible baby and pet owners and have a great week!