Puppy love | paNOW
Where am I going with this?
Well, have you considered a puppy? Do you know what that entails? I’m going to talk with you today about some of the things you should think about before you run out and buy that pup.
Rule #1 – never, ever look at a puppy. Guaranteed you go home with one.
And I love my Benny with all my heart. It will be a very, very sad day when he leaves me. He’s only a year old and I already have tears thinking about his parting day in the future. So pay attention, they warm your heart, they comfort you, you cuddle and hold them like a child. You never want them to leave. Buyer beware – when they leave you will be in mourning.
But what I wanted to discuss is what is involved when you make that decision to have a puppy. Did you know that over 900,000 Canadians bought pets during the pandemic? I knew people had pets, but not that much. No wonder I can’t get into a puppy daycare class.
But there were too many dogs and now that the pandemic is over and people are returning to the workforce, your local SPCA has pets that need to be adopted back.
During the pandemic, the majority of dogs and cats were adopted. People found out how much work a dog is and turned them over to the SPCA. Sad!
Our little Benny was not a rescue dog, but he was from the city and was in a very confined area. It was a major purchase for my daughter and me. Things went wrong when we went to pick him up. I ended up having a panic attack. We had to leave to get some money after seeing it, and we were like, do we go and leave our deposit behind ($500), or do we take him and leave as quickly as possible. We decided we had to take this little dog we had come to buy and get out of “Dodge” as the famous cowboy Marshal Dillon of Gunsmoke would say. And that’s what we’ve done.
We were completely unprepared. I never thought about what we needed to bring a puppy home. In the good old days, you didn’t train a crate dog. Put them in a box in the basement with an alarm clock and hope for the best.
The times have changed. You bring these dogs totally into your life and your home. We had a 7 hour drive ahead of us. The first thing we did was stop at a pet store and buy a crate, food, toys and head back to SK. I’m pretty sure our little Benny knew he was saved and was heading for greener pastures.
He slept on the floor next to my daughter’s feet or between us, lying on the middle console – satisfied. It was late when we got home. My daughter was ready to wake up at 3am and take her to the bathroom. But no, he was fine. I slept until 6 am before I even moved. I think we may have been lucky. We’ve had other puppies over the years, and they can wake up 2-3 times a night, cry and whine; which means no sleep for the dog guardian. Coming home had been a big day for Benny, and I thought maybe it was just a one-night event. Every night continued the same. He continued to sleep all night. I totally got lucky. I hadn’t thought about having to get up in the middle of the night to take a dog to the bathroom when I decided to get a puppy. I hadn’t given much thought to what it would entail to have an 8 week old puppy.
I didn’t think about what to do during the day when I went to work, the daughter and the husband.
He is too small to leave outside all day or in a crate. I live half an hour away from work, so coming home at lunchtime is not an option. Thank goodness for dog-loving neighbors who don’t mind a sleeping pup keeping them company.
And toilet training. I will say that having a puppy in the spring, summer, or fall makes it much easier to train them to go outside compared to the winter months. I was very diligent in house training. There wouldn’t be a puppy pee mat in my house. When he woke up, I took him outside to the “forest” as I called it. I took him into the bushes to relieve himself and it was totally worth it. I picked up very little “poop” this spring. Most of the bathroom chores were done in the bushes somewhere in the field. The older he gets, the further he goes from home. There have been very few accidents in the house and he has a fabulous 12-14 hour bladder. Once you can trust them to let you know when they need to go out, that’s great.
Next on the list was to take him to a vet for his booster shots.
Trying to get a vet appointment in a week, next to impossible around Prince Albert. I would have preferred to stay put, but Benny needs a vet – leave for Saskatoon where we could get in during the week and keep his shots up to date. And when you say vets, do you consider neutering or neutering your dog? Budget another $500 or $600 for this. And there may be unexpected things happening with your dog that will send you to the vet. Puppy insurance can be a very good idea. By doing a quick little research, an insurance plan will cost at least $30 to $50 per month. So it’s not exactly cheap, but if you end up with a sick dog, it could very well be worth it.
Another thing to consider is grooming. How often should you take him for bathing and grooming? Depending on the breed will depend on the cost here. Plan to spend at least $100 every two months to keep this pup nice and clean.
Puppy obedience classes are something all owners should consider taking. They make you a better dog owner and your dog a better pet. But, with so many people owning dogs, it is much harder to get into a dog class than it used to be. And there are plenty of resources to help you train them, just do it. This is the difficult part. Most of the time, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.
How does your yard and garden behave with a new puppy? They can dig and destroy objects in seconds. That beautiful flowerbed you just finished could be in shambles the next day. And you need to catch them doing something they shouldn’t or don’t waste your time disciplining them because they won’t have any idea why you’re mad at them. And always have treats in your pocket to reward them for the good things they do. Even looking at you cute deserves a treat.
Do you have any favorite shoes or slippers around the house? You may also want to put them out of reach. They seem to know what not to chew and go for it. One of our dogs destroyed a favorite pair of Italian leather shoes years ago. It was a sore point for a long time with this dog. And the toilet paper? I’ve never seen a dog go crazy pulling it out, but I’ve seen videos of it, and they can go a long way with that roll of toilet paper. It’s a great toy. However, I kept treats in every room of the house when we first got Benny. Luckily, when he found the first hit of toilet paper, I was there, and had a treat to give him against tugging on the toilet paper; SCORE he never shot it again.
Planting the garden was interesting this year with Benny. He managed to get away with a tomato plant as he waited to be transplanted. And he stole a potato from a hole as it was waiting to be covered with soil. All in all, it was a pretty good planting day with both dogs. And I was pleasantly surprised that Benny left my flowers alone. I thought it would be an interesting object for him to eat or get out of the ground.
A valuable resource we used was “The Puppy Training Handbook” by Kaelin Munkewitz. Easy to read and lots of valuable information. She is also on Facebook, YouTube, etc. Reading it before you get your pet, especially for new owners, is a great place to start. It covers a lot more about owning a dog than what I have in this blog.
Why did I decide to get another puppy/dog?
The main reason was the company a dog gives me. We don’t know how old Maci is as she was a rescue dog. We think she’s around 11 now. I had her DNA done a year ago and they said she was 2 years old. So they weren’t much help in preparing for the end of life with her.
My dogs like to be wherever I am. From going for a walk, working in the yard, watching television and finally going to bed. They’re never far away, especially Benny. He’s a fun loving puppy and he just wants to be outside and play. He’s the funniest dog we’ve ever owned. When you look at it, it just makes you smile. He’s a real character
He is self-entertaining which makes it fun to watch him run and play while I enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day on my porch. He has a favorite “monkey” toy, and this little monkey is never far away. Monkey goes on daily excursions with Benny in the yard every day. Up and down the stairs in the house. On the ground, towards the hearth. Someone he manages to always bring him home.
Buying a dog is a big decision and it is a decision for 13 to 18 year olds. Dogs are only small for a very short period of time. Make sure you’re ready for the commitment before you bring this furry ball into your house, that’s all I can recommend. And if you decide to buy a dog, take advantage of it. They are truly a man’s and a woman’s best friend.
Last but not least, here is one of my favorite songs for the summer. Summertime (When I’m With You) by The Mavericks from 2015. Turn it up, dance and sing! That’s what I do.
Happy Canada day ! Stay safe and enjoy the long weekend!
Merle Lee Ann Pratt – merleleeannskitchen.com – Email: [email protected]
This column is sponsored by the MacKenzie Funeral Chapel and Crematorium – We will be there when you need us – Bev and Brian Stobbs
130 East 9th Street, Prince Albert, Sask.
Phone: (306) 763-8488