The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend about the joys of having a dog. I mentioned that it is great to have someone to talk to who doesn't talk back, it is great to have someone who greets you enthusiastically when you come home, someone who cuddles up to you, someone who gives you boundless love, someone who feels good to pet and stroke. And it's great to take your dog out for a walk on a sunny day and enjoy nature.
Yes, my friend said, but look at the other side. Dogs need to go to the vet, and that takes time and money. Dogs need to be fed, once again taking time and money. Dogs need to be trained (time and money again). Dogs can pee and poop in the house, often choosing an expensive rug rather than a tile floor that would be easy to clean up. And, if you go away for an extended period of time, you need to find a dog sitter or a kennel (more money). On balance, my friend said, dogs require a lot of your time and a lot of your money.
So why have a dog?
Other than the sheer joy of having a loving and faithful friend, dogs are increasing shown as being good for people's health. Yes, some people are allergic to dog hair and dander. But studies are showing that just petting a dog can lower a person's blood pressure. And having to take the dog out on a walk gives a person a chance to get some exercise, something they might not have done without a dog. Recent studies have shown that when people are sick or if they are in the hospital, they get better quicker if they have a dog at home.
Here is a link to a web page that talks about the health benefits of pets in more detail.
Clearly, there are time and money constraints in having a dog. But if you like animals, the joys and benefits can outweigh the disadvantages.