You recently acquired a new puppy. It is one of those lovable Shih Tzu puppies who loves to cuddle. She makes you and your family very happy, but you do have some concerns. The problem you face is that you are part of a military family, and you are worried that owning a puppy might complicate matters. The following are three struggles you are likely going to face because of your puppy.
If You Have Really Young Children
As a military family, you try to keep everything you do to a tight schedule. This was a daunting task as it was with having small children that need constant attention and supervision. By adding a puppy to this dynamic, you will find that the needs of the puppy might demand more time out of your already busy schedule than you originally anticipated. If there is just one parent at home this may be overwhelming. To avoid this problem, it would be better to wait until your kids are a little older before you get a puppy. This way your children can help with things like daily feedings, taking the puppy outside to play and helping out with bathroom breaks.
Another area of concern, when owning a puppy as a military family, is that you may be deployed. It may not be easy or convenient for your family to handle a puppy while you are away. In these situations, it is sometimes best to simply turn your puppy over to one of the local Military Dog Foster Programs in your area. This way, you know that someone who really loves dogs will be taking good care of your best friend while you are away. Think about your specific situation. If you know you will be at a base for a couple of years you will have more stability to be able to take care of pets.
The trouble with some puppies is that they get very attached to their owners. In a military family situation, this is not going to be an exception. In fact, it may not even be acceptable if you live in military housing. Chances are that your puppy will develop some degree of separation anxiety. You will have to train your puppy to be used to coping without your constant attention—especially when you are away from home. However, some people can take their pets with them to base. There are some bases with Veterinarians or that will allow the Vet to go to base. Not every situation is the same.
A pet can be a great way to bring a sense of stability to a family after a parent returns from deployment. There are organizations like p2v.org who help military families adopt pets. Those who serve in multiple tours who may have PTSD may find that the pet can help them reconnect with their family. Getting back on a schedule can help those who return find a sense of stability. There are discounted online colleges for military families that can help bridge a career after service. This new stability is a perfect time to settle roots with a house and dog. Finding a new rhythm as a family takes time, but a pet can help.
Every situation is different. You are the one that knows what will help your specific needs and family. However, if you are close to finishing your military career the chances are that your family will have more stability and will be able to have a dog added to the family. Military children can benefit from the constant of their fluffy friend as so many other aspects of life change.