I have only had one small dog in my household for nearly four years. I never really thought about (well not seriously) adding another dog to the family. Gizmo is a 12 pound Shih Tzu and requires a lot of work for such a little guy. I decided he was enough to take care of and he was company enough for me.
Is a One Pet Household a Wrong Choice?
Gizmo is extremely spoiled and attached to me. We have been through a lot together in the past four years. I am partial to the longer hair look of a Shih Tzu so I spend many hours grooming him to keep him looking good. I just didn’t have time to spend on another dog. Was I being more considerate of myself then Gizmo?
We may have extenuating circumstances, but in 2009 my husband was diagnosed with cancer. His care required a lot of my attention. Hospitals, doctors and tests became our way of life for several months. Family helped out by visiting with my dog and tending to his basic needs. His grooming was out of control and he was lonely and depressed.
I wonder now, that he wouldn’t have been near as depressed if he had had a companion to ease his lonely hours. Of course, at that time in our lives, I would not have been able to introduce a new pet to the household even had I thought about it. Gizmo and I were both devastated by my husband’s passing and we clung to and consoled each other. I thought it was enough.
My son and his family came to stay with us to help with the adjustment of our new life. He has two small children who loved playing with Gizmo. Gizmo came out of his sadness and depression quickly and enjoyed many hours of playing catch and getting lots of hugs from little arms. He had a companion even when I was busy. But then as was always the plan, my son and his family moved out and Gizmo was once more devastated and lonely.
Dogs are Meant to be in Packs and are Very Social
Since the beginning of time, dogs have traveled in packs. They are very sociable animals and enjoy being around their own kind. Just watch 2 dogs at play and you’ll understand how much they enjoy interacting with each other. I had not considered that, as I know many people who have a one dog household and appear to be fine.
I considered my own feelings of loneliness at being without my mate. Did Gizmo feel the same loneliness and despair that fills my heart? The look on his face told me he did. I started discussing the issue with other pet parents. Most of them told me they would never have a one pet household. Everyone, including pets, needs a friend and companion they can count on, especially when their pet parents are gone or busy.
Is a One Pet Household a Selfish Choice?
I cannot answer this question for everyone, but for me and Gizmo, I believe it was. When I got Gizmo I was going through some severe depression and loneliness. He was supposed to be my companion. I wanted him to be there whenever I needed him. I was unable to give him the same consideration at times though.
When we have a 1 pet household and have to work, even if it from home, our pets are expected to entertain their self. It is even worse when people work outside the home. The pet sometimes spends many hours alone. How do you feel when you haven’t had any social interaction with friends and family for a long length of time?
Ask yourself why you choose to be a one pet household. Is another pet too much work or too expensive to add to an already stretched time schedule and budget? I used those excuses myself. Then I started thinking about how bad being lonely feels.
We just recently added a new pet friend to our household. Gizmo and I have enough love to share with another pet. We will figure out the time and budget as we go. Besides, now I have 2 little guys to keep me company and when I am busy or gone, Gizmo has company too!