How does anyone ever really know when they’re ready to get a dog?
The answer is never cut-and-dried. Maybe you want a dog because your friend Simone has one and, man, is that dog cute! Maybe you want one because you just moved into a new condo and suddenly you’ve got a big backyard. Maybe you’re just tired of coming home to an empty house.
There’s no wrong reason to get a dog. There is bad timing. Here are eleven foolproof signs you’re adult enough to get a dog.
1. You’ve had the same job for more than a year. Holding down employment is a good sign that you’re reliable! And also that you have enough money to feed a dog.
2. You’ve got (some) savings. Dogs aren’t cheap! Expenses pop up. If you’re responsible enough to save, you might be responsible enough for a dog.
3. You’ve kept a houseplant alive. Don’t like houseplants? How about a fish? An herb garden? Have you made it a whole week without your phone dying on you? Come on, work with us here.
4. You have a plan. You know where your dog will sleep, where she’ll eat, and where she’ll go to the bathroom. You know which dog park you’ll take her to and you definitely know which filters she’ll look best in on Snapchat.
5. You’re bored. Or, if not bored, then you at least have some leisure time on your hands. If you’re working 60-hour weeks and going out of town every weekend, now is not the time.
6. You have reliable help. And not just your mom, either. You’ve thought about arrangements for your dog when you’re away (boarding facilities, dog-walker, etc.), and who to call when you need help (veterinarian).
7. You wake up before 8am on your own. Sleeping ‘til 11:00 (noon?!) just won’t cut it when you have a dog. If you’re a morning person you’re already halfway through the battle.
8. Your hours are predictable. Life throws curveballs, but if you can’t predict when and where you’ll be next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 3:15 a.m., you’re not ready for a dog.
9. You’ve got vacation days saved up. You weren’t just planning on getting a dog then immediately going back to work for 10-hours a day, were you?
10. You’re not grossed out by poop or puke. When you can successfully clean up another living creature’s bodily fluids, you might be somewhat ready for the inevitable mess of a dog.
11. You don’t break down when stressed. Part of becoming an adult is learning to manage stress. Owning a dog can be stressful. They can also help calm you when you’re stressed, too, so really it’s a wash.
Did your adulting skills make the cut? If not, it’s smart to shelve your dog desires and revisit them again in a few months. Plenty of people have wished they hadn’t jumped the gun on getting a dog, but not that many say they wish they’d pulled the trigger when they were even less prepared.