‘How much is that doggie in the Window, the one with the waggly tail’ goes the old song, which is rarely played these days. In fact you will never see a doggie in any shop window in the UK nowadays, as we have thankfully tightened up the rules where window shopping and impulse buying of such a precious animal is concerned.
If you are preparing to buy or rescue a dog for the family for Christmas, how prepared are you? Have you thought it through, as it is a bit like making the changes to your home and lifestyle of having a new baby.
Firstly, depending on the size and breed of the dog, it is advisable to buy loose covers or throws for all of the furniture as you will want to wash them frequently if you are allowing the animal to sleep on the settee or even the bed. If not, then invest in a dog basket or sheep skin for the pet to sleep on.
If you are at work all day then you should think through how often your new pet needs to be taken for a walk, and it is possible to train dogs to stay in a crate for several hours, but this is not advisable until they know you will be coming back. So arduous work with leaving them from ten minutes at a time over a week or so and then building up to the time you will be out of the house, which should not be more than two or three hours at a time. So it may be wise for you to employ a doggie walker who will come to your house a couple of times a day. This does not come cheap, anything from £7 to £10 a walk for an experienced person who you can trust.
There are also some excellent doggie day care centres now, and will almost certainly be one in your area where you can take your dog when out for long hours. Again these range between £10 and £20 per day, costing more for an overnight stay.
Owning a dog does not come cheap, with their vaccinations, food, day care, deworming and flea treatments it can add up to a hefty £3-£7k per year. Look around for the best health insurance and veterinary surgery. But take out full cover because vets are expensive and you will still need to pay to get your dog neutered and vaccinated.
It is still advisable to go into the animal’s background if you have kids to make sure he or she is safe to have in the home, but the good news is, they are the most therapeutic animals in the World, and have been known to be a healing companion to the elderly or a younger person with a disability.
You should decide the breed of dog you want or if you would like to acquire a dog from your local rescue home. Size is quite irrelevant in the grand scheme of things in terms of care, as all dogs need walking and attention and the same rules apply. Smaller dogs are just easier to carry around, but there are the same restrictions in most restaurants, supermarkets or retail outlets so check out your local dog friendly ones.
Going on holiday is another thing to consider, and you may decide to go to a log cabin in the country where they have fabulous walks or dog friendly hotels or even abroad – and then you will need a doggie passport.
If you are going further afield check out your best kennel, as some are better than others, and most will give you a guided tour, and you can decide for yourself. If you choose one where they receive one to one attention, they will also have a brilliant holiday and some love it so much they won’t want to come home at first. So don’t fret about leaving them in kennels for a couple of weeks if you go away.
If after all of this information you still have your heart set on a dog, then you are embarking on a wonderful adventure, and one that will change your life for the better. But take heed, as they have been known to steal the hardiest of hearts, and they are also famous for never returning it to the owner.