Think carefully about consequences before getting dog

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 7:25pm

It is a matter of concern that so many pets in Hong Kong have to be surrendered for adoption or euthanasia.

While animal-unfriendly policies in Hong Kong are partly to blame, another reason is that people often only decide to get a dog on the spur of the moment, when their friends tell them how enjoyable it is to have a pet in the house.

Often, we buy a dog without thinking about the consequences. We forget that we need to take it out for regular walks, groom it daily and spend time with it to develop a close bond.

At the beginning, we may be earnest in doing these chores. However, slowly over time, due to our busy schedules and juggling family and work responsibilities, we may neglect these duties, causing the pet to suffer.

We must also remember that when we develop a bond with a dog, there is a time when we will have to bid farewell to it due to old age, as seven years of a dog’s life is equal to one of ours. This often breaks the heart of family members, especially if they have had the dog for a long time.

If we have children at home, we must always teach them to treat the dog with dignity and respect; that it is a not a toy, and we cannot just vent our frustrations at it when we are feeling upset or angry.

Indeed, before we consider owning a dog, we could perhaps help look after a neighbour’s pet to learn more about responsible ownership. Alternatively, if we think that we cannot afford to have a dog but would really love to spend time with one, we could consider looking after dogs for several hours during the weekend at an animal shelter.

Since owning a dog is no small thing, it is important that we think carefully and prudently before making such a big decision. Hopefully one day Hong Kong will have pet-friendly policies in place, so all people can enjoy the companionship of animals.

Eunice Li Dan-yue, Shanghai