Hi, my name is Richard and I’m a very reluctant dog owner…
Inspired by an article in Saturdays’ Times, I thought I’d share my story.
All my life, I’ve been a cat person, but my wife became allergic to cats after the kids were born, so when he died (Leo the cat that is) we decided not to get another pet. Too much of a tie…
Shortly after this though, my daughters, who were 16 & 17 at the time, and tacitly supported by Debs, my wife, started a concerted campaign for another pet, something I said we wouldn’t do again. I’d grown to like not having to think about an animal and who will look after it whilst we’re away. What a fool.
Fast forward to Christmas 2013, and the pressure was really up. I’d been resisting all plea’s for another pet; Debs was allergic to cats, so I knew I was safe on that front, and as I’d always completely shut the door on having a dog, I was home free.
In April 2013, I started working with a colleague who is a life long dog lover, and owner of a boisterous Bedlington terrier. Many conversations were had, and as I’d always got on with dogs, we had quite a lot of discussions about mad mutts. Slowly, I guess I started to soften, without really noticing it.
BUT NO! WAIT! I hear you say…”A dog is for life…” – there is no going back, plus they smell! It might be a generalisation, but all dogs smell.
The pressure was kept up and I started to soften a bit more…”hmmm, it would be quite nice to have a bit of company around the house when I work from home” I’d started to think. Slippery slope…
The conversations continued, Debs using her wily ways, the girls backing her up. “No!” I say. “If” (and that is a key word here, as it is the point at which the crack in the armour of my petless rightiousness appeared), “IF we get a dog, it will need walking, feeding, looking after, blah blah blah…”.
“Yes” they cried, and we’ll do it all! You won’t have to do a thing! Foolish softy that I am, eventually, I caved. The decision was made and at lightening speed, a reputable breeder was identified (I have the feeling this was all lined up prior to my agreement!), a Poodle puppy chosen, and several weeks later, Juno arrived, to great excitement!
However, what no one in our house had factored in (and I don’t include myself in that number as it wasn’t ‘my’ dog), was how much effort a puppy takes to look after! It’s a bit like have a baby again, only this time, it can run at breakneck speed, doesn’t wear a nappy, and can consequently cause poo/pee mayhem around the house. You cannot take your eyes off it for a second! If you do, you’ll need kitchen towel and Bust It! Also, arrangements have to be made for someone to look in on such a young dog when work has to recommence!
The girls spent a lot of time with her, but as I said, it’s hard work and so they gradually drifted off to ‘revise’ or ‘do homework’ or whatever teenage girls do, so Debs and I found we were doing most of the work.
With a new puppy, you can’t even take them out for walks until they’ve had their jabs, so you’re confined to home with a hyper, juvenile dog! Trying to work from home those first few weeks was practically impossible, and I had to actually travel to a local office to get any work done, and no decent telly was watched for some time.
Now some months have passed, Juno is still very lively, but much easier to handle. The girls are still ‘busy’, and to be fair to them, they are actually really busy revising for A Levels, but they do take their part in the walking and general looking after of Juno, but still manage to spend a lot of time somewhere the dog isn’t.
As for me, I have grown to like having Juno around; she does keep me company when I’m home working and she’s not too much trouble, plus walking her definitely has a beneficial affect on Debs and my health and wellbeing.
She is a funny, characterful dog who loves hurtling around the park with other dogs, giving as good as she gets, or snuffling around the woods over the road from our house when we take her out.
She’s become a part of the family, and whilst she is undoubtedly a tie for holidays etc., the benefits of having her probably outweigh those of not. I think…ask me again in a few months, but I think I may have fallen for her…(keep that to yourself though, eh? 😉)
© Richard Debonnaire