Posts tagged ‘puppy’

08/09/2011

What’s it like to be a dog owner?

As all my regular readers probably know, I am the proud owner/mammy of an 18 month of Beagle named Winter. As anyone who has been the owner/mammy of a beagle can tell you, they are as a breed little more than a mass of barely controlled enthusiasm and hyper-activity. Actually that is a major part of their appeal. You’re never, ever bored with a young Beagle in the house. But this post isn’t about Beagles. No it’s about being a dog owner.

So what’s that like?

Imagine having a baby who will never learn to speak. Neither will they ever become very independant. And you can forget about them moving out and getting their own place. No they’ll continue to be food eating, crap producing, four-legged engines of occassional destruction ’til the day they die. And then they’ll leave you bereft, heart-broken and in mourning for months or even years. Sounds kind of horrible doesn’t it?

Well that’s just for starters. There’s going out walking with them, even when the rain is more like a vertical river than a soft summer shower. There’s cleaning the puddles of vomit up when they get sick in the car. Or if you’re me there’s that, and sitting in the passenger seat, with your legs drenched by puppy pee for two hours, because your beloved pooch got scared.

There’s the puppy deciding that at 5am she’s had enough sleep, and that so have you. So she decides to head butt the door of the bathroom she sleeps in, until you’re awake. I kid you not, Winter genuinely head butts the door. I’ve seen her do it.

There’s the puppy deciding that her two mommies will never again get to enjoy a sex life. Yes Winter Godzilla Condron Harper has a new middle name, Passion-Killer. She won this name in the still ongoing Grand Battle for the Center of the Bed.

And you can forget going out for the night, and staying out. House dogs don’t like being left out in the back yard overnight. And a young dog especially will often become destructive out of anxiety, if separated from her owners for too long. Add in the now constant worry of your puppy being stolen by some utterly, contemptible bastard for her monetary value. Especially if she’s a pure-breed, and not the monstrous offspring of a tryst between an Old English Sheep Dog and a Bichon Frise. So if you want to go out for more than a couple of hours a doggy-sitter needs to be found. Well that’s considerably easier said than done. Especially if your bundle of hyper activity has gone past the adorable puppy phase.

But worst of all is the horror of what we here in the sprawling, towering one story edifice of Rumination Towers call, Poop-Patrol. A Beagle is not a particularly large dog, but apparently nature forgot to tell their bowels that. So instead of small, easily dealt with piles of poop, in keeping with their breeds modest size, Winter drops the sort of loads a Great Dane would be distinctly, even smugly proud of. So it often falls to your heroic blogger, Amanda Harper, to go forth, armed with little more than a short rake, a short shovel and a hazardous materials suit, to do battle with the immense mounds of dog crap which litter our back garden, after her average ten craps a day.

So by now, if you’re not a fellow dog owner/mammy, you’re wondering why anyone in possession of any sort of sanity would choose to have one. Well put simply, because there’s nothing better in life than to be the owner of a loving dog. Yes there are sacrifices attached to owning a dog. They are demanding animals, who by their nature need their pack; their owner and her/his family, around them to feel secure and happy. But in return they give absolutely unconditional love and adoration. After all the difference between dogs and cats can often be summed up by the fact that an abused dog will usually stay with their owner come hell and high water. While a cat will often simply wander off and find somewhere more to in keeping with its own tastes.

We got Winter because I am often housebound for days, even weeks on end and I needed some company when that happened. Also because we both missed having a dog around us, after all once a dog owner, always a dog owner. Frankly despite the poop, the vomit, the pee soaking into and destroying my only pair of jeans, getting her was the best decision we ever made together. You see you’re never lonely with a dog, you’re never bored, you’re never unloved, you’re always needed, you will always be the center of someone’s universe. When you have a dog you’ll never go without affection, and because they give so much to you, you’ll always push yourself that little bit harder to do what’s needed for them. And that for a young woman with a chronic illness means a healthier, happier and more enjoyable life.

Put simply for all the difficulties, and the problems.  For all that they live considerably shorter lives than us.  Being a dog owner is simply wonderful.

So should you get a dog? That depends on whether you have the space, the time, the energy and most of all the dedication to do what it takes to keep them safe, well fed and healthy, both emotionally and physically. If the answer is, yes, you almost certainly won’t regret it. If the answer is, no, then don’t be selfish. Let someone who can be the owner that dog deserves have their chance instead.

05/03/2011

Apologies – Lateness

I realise that I am for me extraordinarily late with the Saturday blog.  This is due to a “My birthday was yesterday” malfunction.  My partners granddaughter is currently making use of Emergency Repair procedure No. 1 so a rebooted normally functioning Amanda is at worst several hours away.  In the mean time enjoy this picture of my dog Winter when she was an ikkle puppy.

Winter back when she was a really cute beagle puppy. She’s now a rampaging ball of beagle powered destruction.
22/01/2011

Puppy Partners.

I probably have a fairly unusual view-point where humanities relationship with dogs is concerned. What ever the source of their domestication may have been we have made dogs almost a part of our own species. We trust them with our own young, with the security of our homes, with a large portion of our happiness and in return they give us absolute trust.

In essence I feel that human beings have a huge debt of responsibility towards these creature which as a race we have made our partners.

Nature has played an interesting trick on both of our species with regards to our mutual relationships. Most dogs that I personally have had contact with adore human children and tend to ride herd on them. This is then matched by the fact most humans melt when they have a puppy in their arms or when they see a certain toilet paper advertisement on the television. We adore each other and that on its own makes it relatively easy for us to live together and to work together for mutual advantage.

But turn on your television most days and you’ll find a show somewhere involving a bad owner who has ruined or near ruined the dog that is their responsibility. I’m afraid that the reason for so many dogs with bad behaviour lies very much at humanities feet.

All dogs like to know their place and to know what they should be doing. In short they like to have a job. Up until recently most dogs had jobs in addition to simply being pets. They were herders, hunters, guards, watchdogs and even used those amazing noses of theirs to sniff out fires. So the people who most often had dogs knew to teach them to serve a purpose beyond looking cute and licking noses.

But by this point in time we have had a couple of generations of dog owners who quite simply don’t know how to be dog owners. They don’t know that dogs need to be responsible for something in their environment to feel fulfilled and so they don’t give their dog that duty to fulfill. Indeed they don’t even know how to show their dog that they are a partner.

Being  just a pet isn’t enough for many dogs, maybe even most dogs. But they don’t need a lot more, even being shown that when you leave home they’re to be on guard is enough.

So do you own a dog?  If you do be responsible to them and allow them to be responsible to you and your family. Make them partners in life not a toy with a heartbeat and we’ll all see a lot fewer unhappy pets and owners.

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