The doggy idea by Angela Caldin
I’m wrestling once again with an idea that won’t go away. It resurfaces from time to time just when I feel sure that I’ve knocked it on the head. It’s the idea that getting a dog might bring some extra fun and happiness into our lives.
A few months ago, I had a phase of watching those videos on Facebook showing emaciated, bedraggled and abandoned dogs rescued by dedicated dog-savers and nursed back to life until they are bouncing around looking the picture of health, ready to go to a forever home. I stopped watching these videos because they do get a bit samey after a while.
But recently, I’ve got hooked on an alternative called ‘The Dog House’ where people looking for a dog come to a rescue centre to be paired with a suitable match in their kennels. It’s heart-warming to see nervous and anxious dogs start to connect with the humans who are so keen to bond with them and at the end of the programme we are shown a glimpse of happy dogs cuddling up to their new owners. Even allowing for over-sympathetic editing, you can’t help but rejoice that dogs and humans have created something special together.
This is all very well, but should I go down the same road and adopt a dog myself? Dogs need to be taken for walks, they need to be fed and you have to keep an eye on their health. There’s insurance to think about and vet’s bills as well as training and grooming. There’s beds and toys to buy and arrangements to be made if you go on holiday.
And looming largest of all, there’s the poo. We take our daughter’s dog for a walk from time to time and I have to confess that I leave the poo pick-up to my husband. When we get home, the bag of poo goes in the rubbish bin and it troubles me that we are adding to the stench of landfill.
On the other hand, the right dog can be a hugely positive addition to a household. They bring companionship and devotion and they don’t criticise you. They get you out and about because they need to be walked. They are a social asset because they break the ice with other dog owners. They are lively and loving, bringing energy and fun. They cuddle up with you on the sofa where stroking them can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as making you feel less lonely.
The jury’s out and I’m still undecided. But while I’m making up my mind, I’ll be watching various different doggy programmes and wondering ‘What breed? What size? What colour? What age?’