Am I making the right choice getting a dog or am I selfish?

(23 Posts)
ijwtbh Mon 24-Feb-20 16:13:40

Wanted to start off by saying I have never had a dog before, Which is why I am posting this, I do not want to rush into anything and end up regretting it or making a mistake, If I am doing it I want to do it right.

For about a year I have been thinking of getting a dog, Everytime I come close to it I talk myself out of it and tell myself that if I still feel this way in a few months I will think about it more seriously.

Its not like I have a burning desire to have a cute puppy, I would be more than happy to rescue an adult dog. I have the money to be able to afford insurance, food, toys, etc, I work from home so would be around a lot and the dog wouldn't be on his own, I am single, with no Children, and I am in my 30s.

The part that is putting me off (but at the same time I am thinking this might be a good thing for me).. I have depression and see no meaning in my life, I do not look after myself properly at the best of times, I have no motivation, When I am not working I just exist, my entire reason for being at the moment is to get through the day and make it to tomorrow.

I am thinking that getting a dog would help me, I would have no choice but to look after him, feed him, walk him, play with him, I am thinking it would help with the loneliness, Would give me a reason to get out of bed everyday, motivation to better myself. Is this selfish of me?

If I do go ahead I am 98 per cent sure I have settled on a Border Terrier, I live in a rural place in the countryside so he would get plenty of exercise, Would a Border be an ok choice for a first time owner?

First time owners, Are you glad you got your dog in the end or have you regretted it?

OP’s posts: |
lazylinguist Mon 24-Feb-20 16:17:53

Hard to say! I can see that getting a dog might be great for you, for all the reasons you mentioned. But you'd have to be pretty sure that you would reliably walk it and look after it even when your depression is at its worst, otherwise it's not fair on the dog.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 24-Feb-20 16:21:09

Acknowledging the benefits a dog would bring to your own life isn't selfish at all. It only becomes selfish if you get a dog without regard for the dog's own needs and how you will fulfill them.

I see nothing in your post that makes me think you'd be unable to care for a dog properly.

confusedandemployed Mon 24-Feb-20 16:21:32

I think it sounds like you would be able to give a dog a great home. So what if part of that will benefit you?

FWIW I got 2 dogs aged 29, and it was the single best decision I ever made. 17 years later, one is sadly deceased but one is still with me. He's very high maintenance now: old, deaf, blind and a bit confused but still brings me joy every day.

ParsleyPot Mon 24-Feb-20 16:24:06

Go for it OP!

theconstantinoplegardener Mon 24-Feb-20 16:28:08

Border terriers are super little dogs who make great companions. As a breed, I find that thei

GhostsToMonsoon Mon 24-Feb-20 16:34:47

I didn't get my first dog until I was nearly 40 and we love her to bits. If you work from home that makes it a lot easier. It's fine to think about the benefits that having a dog could offer you, as well as the home you could offer a dog.

Chris Packham has talked about how his dogs have had immense benefit for his mental health, saying “I cannot stress strongly enough my belief in the benefits of companion animals when it comes to mental health issues.”


TeddyIsaHe Mon 24-Feb-20 16:36:28

I think you sounds like a fabulous owner. You’ve considered all aspects of dog ownership, and it’s not selfish to want a dog to bring meaning and something to live for.

theconstantinoplegardener Mon 24-Feb-20 16:36:44

Sorry, posted too soon...the recall of border terriers can be a bit hit and miss, so you might find your dog has to be walked on the lead. Apart from this, they are fantastic dogs for a first-time owner.

Kirkman Mon 24-Feb-20 17:07:48

Its sound like an ideal set up.

The only issue is the fact that you struggle to look after yourself. I know you say you would have no choice to look after the puppy. But that's not always true. I work with a rescue and we do get dogs in from people who are lovely. It should have been a great set up, but it not because people become so ill they can not provide the care that the dogs needs. It's not their fault, they could have seen how hard it was or how I'll they would get.

New dog/puppy blues and feelings of regret are very common, in the first few weeks, as well.

I am not saying you shouldnt get a dog. Not at all. But maybe you can have contingencies in place for times you maybe feel you cant (for example) walk the dog.

It's difficult for first time owners. Because rescues can be unpredictable and, sometimes, need as much/more care than puppies. Often, when in rescue, the dogs true personality doesnt come out for a good long while. Problems may not have come to light while in rescue kennels. Lots of smaller rescues have dogs in foster, which can help know a dog better.

In my experience of fostering quite a few dogs, some of them have been far harder than puppies.

You sound like a lovely caring person, you sound like you have the potential dogs, interests at heart. I don't see any reason to not have one, provided you do the research and have plans in place.

I have 2 dogs. I have back up plans just in case theres a time I cant walk them. Never needed it, but it's there just incase.

I even have a plan about what I would do if me and dp break up as well. grin So it's not just because of your depression I think you should have a back up plan. you know the potential struggles you will face which is great. So plan around them.

JimandWilson Mon 24-Feb-20 17:14:21

Do it, OP.

Fresh air, no matter the weather, will help your mental health.

You will meet other dog owners who want to chit chat- this is also great for your wellbeing.

Dogs can give you things to laugh about and loads of affection that can boost your feel good emotions!

You sound like an ideal owner to give a pooch a great home. There's no obvious reason why a rescue centre wouldn't place a dog with you- go for it!!

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 24-Feb-20 18:28:26

Provided that you would still walk and feed the dog in your worst times (and have back-up in case off physical illness or if you ever really can't cope mentally), go for it.

The outdoors is great for mental health, and canine companionship is also good for you.

Booboostwo Mon 24-Feb-20 18:42:47

It’s 50:50. For some people a dog helps pull them out of their depression and has a massive positive influence in their lives. For other, normal doggy behaviours are a source of anxiety which then becomes overwhelming.

Why not try before you commit? Is there a local rescue you can volunteer for? Could you try Borrow My Dog?

pigsDOfly Mon 24-Feb-20 18:57:50

You've obviously given this a great deal of thought and you're wise to hesitate and consider everything.

I got my first, and she'll probably my only, dog when I retired.

My reasons were pretty much the same as yours OP. Although I don't suffer from depression, the idea of having no real reason for getting up in the morning felt pretty miserable to me.

I enjoy walking, and loved the idea that I'd have a little creature in my life that would come on walks with me and be around in the evening; I live on my own so it's just her and me.

I got her as an 8 week old puppy and she's nearly nine years old now. Never regretted getting her, although it hasn't always been plain sailing.

You say you're not looking for a cute little puppy. Getting a rescue dog that has passed the puppy, and probably adolesent stage, might be a better idea for you.

Cute puppies, are of course, cute. But they can be massively hard work and 'puppy blues' is a very real thing.

Border Terriers can be great little dogs.

It might be good to have a look at some of the breed specific rescues and see what they can do for you. Although any good rescue is worth looking at.

Go along to one or two and have a look, and meet some dogs.

And no you're not being selfish.

Spidey66 Tue 25-Feb-20 10:49:45

I was on antidepressants for the best part of 10 years. A few months after getting my dog, I was down the GP to say I didn't need them as I had nature's antidepressant! Slight blip after coming off them but on the whole my dog has helped massively. The unconditional love you get from a dog and the increased exercise and having to get out for a walk is all good.

It sounds like you have a good set up for a dog, and would recommend it.

carly2803 Tue 25-Feb-20 10:57:41

i think its a great idea OP - do it!

onyl thing i would rethink is the border terrier! they are terriers when all said and done, how about a wiggly doglike a spaniel?

they are "happy" dogs! never stop smiling

FoamingAtTheUterus Tue 25-Feb-20 11:02:53

Go for a greyhound. They're pretty low maintenance so far as dogs go and there are loads in rescue.

So long as you're committed to taking care of the dogs needs I think you should just go for it.

aprilshowers2015 Tue 25-Feb-20 11:10:22

Good for you OP, it sounds like you've really considered all parts of this and not rushing into it.
My MH was suffering last year, coping with DF terminal illness and his passing. DH and I had been looking for a dog for a while and found an 8 week mongrel from a rescue litter. She came home 6 weeks after I lost my DF and has truly been my saviour. I am someone whose mood can very easily "drop" and I'll not leave the house for days on end, and she gives me the purpose to get up and out every morning. We walk for a good hour a couple of times a day and it's amazing what a smile and greeting from a stranger can do for my mood.
Best of luck OP, I've no doubt you will make the right decision.

Ariela Tue 25-Feb-20 11:11:03

Could you start by doing a stint on Borrow my Doggie to see what you feel capable of first? I ask because a friend got a dog more as company once the kids were older and to walk on the school run etc (she too worked from home) but she felt the demands of the dog were overwhelming on top of demands from the kids, so had to hand the dog back to the rescue.

thestarvingcaterpillar Tue 25-Feb-20 11:35:04

Do it Op, I can honestly say that adopting my little rescue dog 8 months ago has changed my life. I HAVE to go out every day and walk, he doesn't care if my mood is low, he still loves me and he brightens my days. Dogs give the best cuddles too!
Good luck with your decision!

Wolfiefan Tue 25-Feb-20 11:40:39

I love having a dog.
But puppies are bloody hard work and can upset the balance of your MH.
If you work full time you wouldn’t have time for a pup.

frostedviolets Tue 25-Feb-20 20:05:04

The part that is putting me off (but at the same time I am thinking this might be a good thing for me).. I have depression and see no meaning in my life, I do not look after myself properly at the best of times, I have no motivation, When I am not working I just exist, my entire reason for being at the moment is to get through the day and make it to tomorrow

How will you cope if it maybe goes wrong?

In a lot of ways I have a ‘perfect’ family dog - virtually no barking, no noise phobias, lazy/sleeps all day, eager to please, no human aggression.


She’s uncomfortable around other dogs, she shows that discomfort by growling, showing teeth, air snaps etc.
At her worst the sound of a neighbours dog barking would cause her to hide and she would be immediately be tense at the sight of another dog at very many feet away.
Walks were beyond awful, I usually cane home in tears.

It’s better now because I am careful to avoid other dogs but I still get sad sometimes sad I still get anxious if I see large loose dogs about.

I think you need to consider this carefully, pets don’t always go quite to plan.

Sometimes things can happen that you didn’t expect, the animal can be a lot more destructive or disobedient than expected, develop phobias etc.

MasakaBuzz Wed 26-Feb-20 10:20:25

I have always loved dogs. However when I was working it wasn’t possible. I got one when I retired on health grounds.

Before I got her, I walked round the local park each day for about 6 months. I had to prove to myself that I was prepared to do it.

Dogs don’t have any choice as to where they end up. If you take one on, you have to be prepared to deliver the goods, ie walk it twice a day, each and every day. If you choose the right breed it doesn’t have to be miles.

When I get up and get my coat on shortly she will run round the house in great excitement “Are we going for a walk? Really”. “Yes we are going to the park - just like we do every day”. It never fails to make me smile.

Most of my social life comes from people I have met walking the dog. We have an annual Christmas dog walkers meal. I do other things with fellow walkers.

It’s a great thing to do. I don’t particularly always want to take her out, but that’s the deal, so I do it. I do have a dog walker for occasional days out.

I got a 9 month old rescue. Not sure I would want a puppy, but due to having a cat, that might have to be the case next time.

Go for it. If nothing else it keeps the medical professionals off your back a bit........!!!

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