Millennials, we are a generation known for many things, my favourite I read recently, was in an article which stated we are the generation that love our pets more than human relationships, and I will hold my hands up – this is an entirely true reflection of me and my life, and I am confident enough to say that of many of my friends too.
(Cushion – Tillyanna.co.uk)
Tomorrow marks a whole year since Dougal moved in with me. I still remember the first night he stayed fretting whether I had done the right thing or not. He was nearly two and having to relocate to live with me. It was something I had given so much thought. From February – June I wondered if having a dog would be right for me. My mum was fine with the idea, encouraged me that it would give me more security in the house, others were not too sure, would it be too much of a commitment? Expense? and all round hassle for someone on their own at my age? Needless to say in true me style I only listened to the opinions I wanted to and continued to look for a dog to rehome. It took forever but I do always believe that you just have to wait it out because if you want to rehome then the right dog will come along and now I couldn’t imagine life without Dougal, we are pretty well suited, like to be busy, horrendously grumpy if we are hungry and tired.
As a family, we have always had active dogs, German Sheppard, Collie, two labradors, and a lurcher but I had never owned a spaniel. I was worried I had taken on too much with a spaniel but Dougal’s nature suits my lifestyle perfectly, he is so active on walks, he will run for miles without tiring, it doesn’t matter how far we have gone he will still be running, but as soon as we are home he dives into his bed and sleeps for the rest of the day. I have managed to teach him to run round fields alongside me as I take rooney for a canter and he obidently lies down and watches as I lunge the horses.
So whilst this may be so far from my usual blog post I thought I would share some points you should know before buying a dog from my experience, because even with help from family and friends, and looking after previous family dogs, owning Dougal has been a real eye opener.
- They are not cheap, even if you are hoping to rehome a dog you still have the fees from rescue centres, or if you are buying them privately they will usually want to cover costs.
- Puppies may look cute but they are hard work. It doesn’t matter how good your training intentions are there is a huge probability they will still go toilet in your house for longer that you would have hoped.
- The expense continues past buying them – dog food, toys, leads, insurance, vet bills, beds,
replacing sisters shoes. They are a weekly expense.
- You will probably end up sacrificing your hair cut so they can go to the groomers. Dougal has pretty long hair, so he needs to go to the groomers 6-8 weeks, at £30 a time it isn’t cheap.
- You need to research the dog for you. If you are planning on leaving your dog at home a lot whilst you are at work then an active dog like a spaniel, Labrador etc is not for you. Research the type of dog that suits your lifestyle and level of exercise.
- Let go of a clean house- I wasn’t prepared for the hair and dust. My sister’s dog is a cavapoo and even when they say they don’t shed hair, they shed hair. And when they are not leaving fur on your sofa and floor they are bringing unbelievable levels of dust in. You will never experience dust until you have a dog.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s raining they still need a walk.
- Be prepared for a lint roller to be your new best friend – from your clothes to your sofa cushions these are a life saver.
- Nights out can often be compromised because you need to get home for the dog.
- Even when you feel as though you are at home a lot of the time you don’t realise how much you are away until you have a need to be at home. Make sure you have someone who would be happy to dog sit or nip to your house at lunchtime to let them out if you have to be away with work or on holiday.
- Be prepared to spend more money on your dog’s insurance than yours.
- They are not problem solvers, don’t go into getting a dog if you think it will make you happier, make a relationship better or make you feel less lonely. Only buy a dog because you know you can offer it a loving home.
- Morbid, dogs don’t have the lifespan we do, so like all pets, you have to prepare for the worst, and for someone who has lost 4 dogs in her lifetime it never ever gets easier.
- Actually just be prepared for their needs to be a priority over yours and then you will be fine.
Despite his flaws, and God does he have many, having Dougal this last year has been incredible. He has made me get out of the house more, laugh at what a dope he is, talk to people I cross on walks I would have previously just ignored rather than make small talk, actually show something commitment and care about someone that isn’t myself, reevaluate what was important. The weigh up of moving to London or getting a Dog was a big one but I definitely think I made the right decision.
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