Is a dog the right pet for your family?

Have you been thinking about getting a dog? We all know the saying “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” so the decision to get a four-legged friend is not one to be taken lightly…we have certainly had some adventures with our doggy!

Before you make the huge decision to add a furry friend to your family read on to find out the real pros and cons of having a dog in the family:

Meet Lola, or should I say Batdog! Lola is our 5-year-old Golden Retriever…

Best dog with children, golden retriever

A girl’s best friend

Lola has brought us many adventures, some of them not quite as fun as others! She is best friend to Amelia and Katie, partial to eating things she shouldn’t, and pretty comfortable cuddled up on the sofa when she thinks nobody is looking. Nowadays she is easy-peasy to be honest, but that hasn’t always been the case, so here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge:

1. How big is too big? When we were deciding on which breed to pick as our family dog hubby said, “I don’t want a small dog, if we are getting a dog I want a proper dog!” Well, he is reminded of that quote fairly regularly! There are definitely pros and cons to the size of your dog…a big dog really is lovely to cuddle, has a bark that sounds formidable to strangers (even when they are the softest dog in the world) and…well that’s about it for benefits where size is concerned!

A small dog can be popped in the sink for a bath, doesn’t take up a whole seat in the car, is probably more likely to be accepted by friends/family if you need to go away sans-pet, and overall will COST YOU A LOT LESS MONEY!! Wow, a big dog really racks up the pennies when it comes to food, vet and insurance bills! Shop around for the best insurance deals, do your homework on pet food and take out a pet plan which can help you budget for your annual vet costs.

2. Pick a breed that suits your family life. If you don’t mind a bit mud and water and you like to get outdoors daily then a Golden Retriever is the dog for you. Our gorgeous hound actually thinks she is a pig – she like to wallow/bathe/swim/roll…you name it, if it stinks she wants to roll in it, if it’s wet she wants to splash in it, if it’s dirty she wants to wear it…walking with Lola is a bit like taking a cheeky toddler to a farm-yard and saying “go for it”…there is just no point being precious. Keep all your old clothes as walking gear and just make sure you have a good pair of wellies, a waterproof coat and an outside tap!

Also, how do you feel about hair? Make sure you have a good hoover if you go for a retriever because our baby sheds enough hair to make a wig-a-week! I highly recommend Hetty, the only hoover I have had that sucks up all the unwanted hair without clogging (note. I don’t think your hoover’s gender matters – we just like pink!).

3. Have you got the time and patience for a puppy? Someone once said to me that having a puppy was harder than having another baby…I can now see their point! Lola was the most beautiful “Andrex Puppy” but wow, did she grow quickly! When she hit the rebellious ‘teenage’ years (around 9 months) she lived up to the label…running in the opposite direction when called, jumping all over everyone and everything, chewing whatever she could possibly reach (and that was most things, standing on her back legs) including hubby’s Ray-Bans, the large kitchen scissors, walls, floors, skirting boards, toys…the list goes on. Fortunately she grew out of this pretty quickly (moving on to digging holes in the garden instead!).

Puppies can’t be left for very long so you do need to be at home to look after and train your pup, perhaps surprisingly they can’t be taken to many public places with you either. I have found that having a Kong has been a brilliant boredom-basher when we have had to leave Lola for a few hours. Just smear it with marmite and it keeps her entertained for hours without the worry of her overeating!

Why to get a dog, do breeds, golden retriever

Puppy Love

4. Do you have a dog-sitter? Who knew that it is harder to find a dog-sitter than it is to find than a babysitter! I’ve never fancied using kennels as I still have memories of my family dog coming home all barked out once when I was a child, it was so sad. So we opted for people who will look after our dog in their own home and we have been very lucky with our dog sitters, but when our loyal favourite moved away we had to find a new sitter/walker and it was stupidly stressful!

So it is worth doing a bit of networking if you will need help looking after your dog while you are out or away; do dog-sitting deals with your friends, family and neighbours when possible. In my experience when paying for help you are looking at around £20 a night for a sitter, £10 for a walk.

5. Who will be your dog’s main carer? (Hint…no matter what everyone promises you, the answer is…yes, you guessed it…you!) Our girls love Lola, they really do, but do they want to pick up her deposits from the garden or walk her in the rain? Of course not! They want to dress her up, cuddle up on the sofa with her and fill her with yummy treats in return for performing funny tricks. Be prepared to negotiate terms with the rest of your family if you get a dog, and don’t be afraid to stoop to bribery and corruption when it comes to who’s going to get up early on that wet Sunday morning to take her out for a walk!

So should you get a dog? Well I can only tell you that in all honesty Lola has brought us so much joy; she has helped hubby to rehabilitate from a broken leg, she gives our youngest daughter the company and love she needs when big-sis is busy and she is a true confidant to our eldest daughter. To me she is like having a soft, loving and loyal nanny in the house, she rounds up the girls, hoovers up the crumbs and most of all, gives out love for free and asks for nothing but love in return (well, and a bit of chicken please mum). Now, if only she could do the ironing!

Is a dog the right pet for your family, pinkfizzandpoytails

I don’t know a huge amount about dogs, I only know how much I love mine and how best to care for her. If you think you might love a Golden Retriever too then I would recommend you contact the Golden Retriever Club – I found their website really helpful when we started looking for our new dog, I’m sure you will too.

Comments

  1. Will always remember you telling us the story of how Lola decorated the kitchen!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, yes, now that really was something I’ll never forget…no doubt it will be a story on here soon ;o)

    Like

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