Ups & downs of dog ownership

Many people think dogs are easy to take care of. But dogs are much more than just dogs; they become family. Yes, dogs are extremely loving and fun to have, but they come with responsibilities that would surprise anyone who hasn't owned one.

Two years ago, my dad gave me the best gift I have ever received in my 19 years of life. To others, Penelope might just seem spoiled, but to me she is my baby, my best friend. I had always wanted a dog to call my own since I can remember, and the day I received her I knew that she was perfect for me.

Owning a dog is basically being a parent. Like babies, puppies go through potty training, which is not fun to clean up. After all the visits to the vet, all the food and all the grooming, your wallet starts to shrink.

According to the website, a dog medium-sized dog like Penelope can cost more than $1,000 dollars the first year. Many dogs eat things they are not supposed to and usually that makes them sick which usually leads to three things -- a vet visit, medicine and the owner staying in to take care of them.

Many times no one else has been at home to watch after Penelope, so I couldn't go out with my friends or do things I would like. Lucky for me, I live with my grandparents and mom, who love Penelope just as much as I do and are kind enough to take care of her when I'm at school or work. But I know people who leave their dogs outside all day with nothing but a bowl of water because they are too busy to take care of them.

Even after being woken up at 5:30 a.m. every morning by Penelope herself so she can go to the restroom, even after sacrificing some nights of going out to spend with her, even after all the expenses and even after all the things my friends tell me about spoiling her too much, I think it's all worth it.

But, if you're thinking about getting a dog, just make sure you have enough money, time and most importantly, love to devote to the job.

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