Growing up I always wanted a pet snake and a dog. Initially I wanted a King Cobra but on learning it would probably kill me I settled for having a small friendly python. Sadly, my mum was freaked out by snakes and wasn’t a dog lover. This meant I had to settle for Calico Comet the goldfish, Pepe the budgie and Sandy the hamster. When Sandy killed himself on Yom Kippur I decided enough was enough and so it was just me and my Kate Bush music from then on. I loved all my pets and enjoyed having them but even after leaving home the yearning for a snake and dog never went away. I finally accepted defeat with the snake when Rach threatened me with divorce if I got one. This left the dog and with Rach growing up with cats and having publicly declared many times that she didn’t like dogs it was going to be an uphill battle.
Fortunately when the girls came along they both soon became animal lovers and were asking if we could have a dog. Well, I say asking it was more like begging. Listening to daily requests of, “Please, please, please can we have a dog”, became the norm for about 5 years. Rach was unmoved and so instead we welcomed a tank full of tropical fish into the family. The girls gave names to all of them and we spent our days watching Falafel, Houmous, Sharky Shark Shark, Josie Jump, Stripe Head, Bob and many others as they swam around aimlessly.
They then learnt about death as one by one they all ended up floating on top of the water. Some at the hands of the silent fish assassin, some at the hands of the fish with the eye fetish and some who probably got fed up with swimming aimlessly in circles and lost the will to live. The eye fetish related deaths were the most bizarre. We had one fish who had an eye bitten out but still lived on for another two years. We thought about getting him a little eye patch but couldn’t work out how to attach it.
Finally Rach relented and it was agreed that when we eventually moved we would get a dog. As responsible parents and adults we took the task of researching and choosing an appropriate breed very seriously. We ruled out big breeds that could kill us in our sleep, tiny breeds that we could accidentally kill by sitting on (something very possible with me), and breeds that smelt worse than sewage. We liked our friend’s dog that wasn’t any of those and so all agreed to get the same. We ordered a 300 page book on the breed we were looking at getting to read up on choosing the right breeder, preparing the house and all the characteristics to ensure they were the right one for us.
The book arrived, I opened it, noting the nice picture on the front and stated that I would read it cover to cover in a week, I then realised The Walking Dead was about to start so put the book on the shelf promising to read it tomorrow. It then sat there for three months and by the time I actually started reading it we already had Honey! Like I said, responsible adult, that’s me. Of course, as soon as I started reading it the anxiety started with the checklist of things to do and make sure are in place with the breeder, with you and the dog. None of which we’d done, oops, too late now. Our relaxed approach to life hasn’t put us too far wrong so I’m sure all will be fine now.
The minute Honey arrived she became part of the family and four months on we can’t remember life without her. It was definitely a massive adjustment and just like having a baby all over again, just with added fur and wee all over the floor. She took to her routine pretty quickly and was soon eating all our shoes that we hadn’t hidden away. Everyone says that dogs give you unconditional love and it’s true. The hardest thing for us was knowing what advice to listen to. It’s not like babies where you’re either in the Gina Ford camp or you’re not. Every person we spoke to gave us completely conflicting advice on every aspect of looking after her. So far she’s doing ok and hasn’t tried to kill us in our sleep so fingers crossed.
Just to help you, here are my top tips / things to be aware of if getting a puppy:
- Don’t wear your Kate Bush concert t-shirt or any other clothes you love until your dog has lost all their razor sharp baby teeth. They’ll be toast.
- Say goodbye to your beautiful lawn and hello to yellow grass and craters everywhere.
- The smell when they fart and the smell of their no 2’s. Seriously, the smell. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Anything in plain sight will be chewed, slobbered on and eaten. Expensive shoes, Fitbit, iphone, Selena Gomez cd, your dog won’t be fussy.
- I hope you like exercise as your going to be doing a lot of walking. If you’ve tried and failed on every slimming plan there is, here’s the answer and it’s free!
- They will change your life forever and only in a good way. That’s unless you get one of the breeds that can kill you in your sleep and it does.
- You will find poo bags everywhere, including places you never put them. Cereal packets, the fridge, bathroom cabinet. They’ll be there, trust me.
If you’re thinking of getting a dog, do it. It’s hard work at first but worth every minute. If you’re thinking of getting a King Cobra, just make sure you’ve got plenty of anti venom close by.