Having a dog was my childhood dream for as long as I can remember. I would dream about having a dog, I would walk my imaginary dog, buy treats for my imaginary dog. Even though I didn’t have a dog yet, I already had the dish, brush, collar and lead… just in case he/she appeared in my life! And he did… when I was 13. A beautiful, tiny Miniature Schnauzer puppy from my aunty.
Was I ready? Was my family ready?
I was as ready as I’d ever been! I’d read as many books as possible, and I knew I would do anything to make it work. My dad wasn’t ready at all because he didn’t even know the puppy was coming. He was in shock and confused, bless his cotton socks. I remember he was cuddling the puppy, talking to him sweetly and the same time shouting at my mum and me, “what the hell is a dog doing here”? The monologue was something like this: “you are sooo cuuuutee…” “what a stupid idea to have a dog in a flat” “you are little cutie pie” “you are not responsible enough to have a dog” “do you want a biscuit, sweet” “you will get bored with him soon, and what are we going to do then” “you are so small, so, cute, so gorgeous…” And on and on and on… And my mum and I just stood there trying to make sense out of it.
In the end, we had this fantastic little dog for over 15 years, we had an amazing time, we learnt a lot from having him, he bonded us together, and he taught me a few very valuable life lessons.
So, are you ready for a dog in your life?
Here are a few things you need to consider:
1/ Finances – I didn’t consider that as a child, so it was all on my parents and I’m ever so grateful to them for all their support. You need some extra cash for emergencies, especially with puppies; you need finances for vets, insurance, dog food, toys… and then on top of that, depending on your lifestyle, a dog sitter, dog walker, kennelling when you go on holiday….
2/ Enough room – Once I had a client who had a Newfoundland in a flat on the 5th floor in a busy town centre. I don’t think that was a wise choice. Washing a dog after a walk in their small bathroom was a challenge when he shook after walks, water and dirt went everywhere. They couldn’t have a coffee table as he knocked everything down with his tale… but he was gorgeous and so well behaved.
3/ Enough time – owning a dog will take over your life. Literally! Especially in the early days when you have to get up early to take the puppy out, feed it, take it out again, play, train, go out, feed, go out, play, train, nap, go out, clean the little accidents on the floor, watch the puppy so it’s not destroying anything, go out, feed, go out, sleep (hopefully all night!) 4/ General knowledge – do your research before you get a dog. Having a dog is a long-term commitment and we are talking years, sometimes decades of dedication, patience, and love. Do your research on breeds, go to dog club events, dog shows, discover dogs at Crufts, training classes, agility classes, talk to people, and find the most suitable breed for yourself and your family. Research the food… do you want to feed using dry food, tinned food, raw food, what are the pros and what are the cons? Learn about basic training so you are prepared when the new member arrives. Are there any puppy classes in your area?
A lot of homework needs to be done beforehand but it will be well worth it once they arrive 😊
So, ARE you ready then?