I've commented elsewhere about how having a pet is setting yourself up for grief. I understand the feelings towards dogs, cats and the like, but having to put down a loved pet every eight years is more than I care to deal with.
Maybe that's true, but the point is also to give the dog a home for their life time. For every dog someone takes there is room for another in the shelter which means they are off the street, etc. the place I took my dog from, pretty much all the dogs there were either street dogs, rescued from dumpsters, tied to fences in army bases, etc. and were really suffering every day.
My dog was so nervous before she came, had no idea what a home was. The people at the shelter said she's an energetic dog. After she relaxed and got used to a home her real character came out which was the most relaxed dog
Also it's not necessarily ever X years. Just because you have/had a dog doesn't mean you will have another dog and even if you eventually do, maybe not right away.
Two or three months after we got Ozzie, we were adopted by a black kitten. We have a cat food dish and a water bowl outside for the few stray cats in the area, so I had seen this kitty a couple times. One day, the kitten was bold enough to come in through our doggie door -- and intimidate the heck outta the dog. And drink out of his water dish. This continued for a few days. I finally had enough exposure to the cat to find out that I wasn't allergic, so my 10-year-old daughter got a cat. (We got him shots, chipped, fixed, etc. before he became our full-time cat.)
Name? I call it "Kitty" and he does come when called. My daughter calls him "Shadow." One of the other un-catlike traits he has is that he'll eat any cat food.
They do love their yard. In addition to lounging on the hammock, they particularly like chasing the squirrels and hiding in the bushes to pounce on each other. Also, six more dogs in three adjoining yards to socialize with.
So, before my wife had her first kid, my second daughter, she asked to have two dogs. I said I didn't mind that. We don't have an overly large house and yard, though (1000 sq ft), so I asked her to be mindful of that.
Fast forward many years. My daughter is now 11. We have the 50lb Doberman/German Shepherd mix mentioned above and a black cat. You can also include the 1 to 3 stray cats that we've been feeding when their owners have left them behind.
On Monday, my wife tells me that a friend from work has a "smallish" doggie that he has to get rid of. Why getting rid? His kids don't spend enough time with the doggie. Considering that I'm being set-up, I ask what the breed is. Jack Russell & blue Heeler mix. In other words, a little herding dog that's more intelligent than everybody in the house and he needs lots of stimulation or will destroy the house. Great. I mention my reservations ... and am now dog-sitting. My dog has already given me a few looks in the form of, "Thanks for getting me the puppy, but can you turn him off, now?" I think the little dog slept maybe two hours last night. The little dog wants to be friends with the cat. The cat wants all Heelers and Jack Russels to be immediately eliminated from the face of the earth.
On Halloween, I generally lock myself and all the animals in the house. This is because a) I don't feel like buying candy for the 20 year olds that come to my house and b) none of the animals particularly care for all the people coming around. Anyhow, the animals were remarkably calm all evening. So, I think we're going to try to get the Little Doggie some training and see how he responds to that. I also still have to train my daughter to be a bit more responsible. Hmm. The backyard hasn't been picked up in a bit ....
That's pretty much our experience with All Hallowed Saints Eve over the past thirty years. When my wife taught first grade in a small town in IL, the kids that came by were a) current or former students, and b) well behaved in the spirit of the original secular version of the holiday. However, down here there are more than a few twenty-somethings that roam the neighborhoods, usually without any attempt at costuming. They also dart out from behind parked cars in the almost obligatory dark clothing that they all wear. Finally, there is a huge influx of kids in the teens and twenties from "inside the Loop", here only to scarf up free candy from the well-to-do folks.
So, one night a year, the day/night lighting switch gets uncovered and thrown to off, then we climb into the car and go have a leisurely meal somewhere (where the place is usually filled with other couples, presumably doing the same thing.
By 9:00 PM it's all over save the occasional misguided teenager. Another year out of the way.
My 11-year-old has some friends that live in a well-to-do, gated, community. She and her friends do the Halloween thing out there. My wife stayed home with me, this year. She hurt her knee about two weeks ago and can only walk when sufficiently drugged. Fortunately, said friend's sister is also a babysitter we've used before.
I live in a more rough section of town. I've gotten letters from the city informing us of at least a half-dozen sex offenders that live in a two-mile radius. We've had a lot of problems with unleashed, very large dogs. And there was that incident a few years ago when someone locked himself in my laundry room (the room is attached to my house, but you have to go outside to get to it). Oh. The SWAT teams and such, too. It all adds up to, "I don't particularly want to open the door for anyone."
My wife is positive that during the two weeks we call "winter" out here, we'll see the 50lb dog with the 15lb dog lying next to him and the cat on top of the 50lb dog. Hey, I saw them all lined up at the food and water dishes the other day, so it could happen.