When you get a dog…
I am sorry that I again have to reschedule typing my ensaymada recipe and I do promise (fingers crossed!) I will be able to do it by tomorrow. I just made a batch today for lunchboxes and I had to get up at 5 am so they will be ready on time. The things I would do to make sure my family doesn’t get hungry in school and at work!
But then as I have said, I will write the recipe not today, because today I am writing about getting a dog. This is because my niece Andrea has been dreaming for a long time to have a dog and now that that dream is about to come true (fingers crossing for her), I thought I’d write down things to prepare her and those who are about to embark in a life changing decision to get a dog for a pet.
Our daughter was always praying for a baby brother. As years passed and it became evident that that will never be, she started to pray instead for a puppy. We weren’t sure whether either of us three were ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a dog. So we started small and easy. We got her a Siamese Fighting Fish (yeah, definitely a far cry from a dog but baby steps!). Then we brought some goldfish. Then we brought home some chicks from a daycare centre. Then we bought her a little female mouse. We still have the goldfish (actually the original ones died out leaving behind babies that are now full grown), and the mouse just a few days ago passed on 😦
We have promised to get her a puppy when she turned 9. Her 9th birthday was about to arrive and I am in a state of panic as I haven’t decided what breed to get and where to get it from.
I couldn’t decide whether to get one of those designed mixed breeds or a purebred. It was a series of sleepless nights researching, taking down notes, comparing and contacting sellers. There were a lot of arguments as to the merits and demerits of crossbreeding (pure breeders say they are just mutts while cross breeders say matching breeds to counter whatever genetic defect the crossed breeds have is necessary to produce a better breed), and there were concerns about puppy farms that did not consider the welfare of the animals they breed.
I was nearly scammed by a group of people who claim to sell a purebred Japanese Spitz. They had what looked like a legitimate website with photos of very chubby, very cute white puppies that seem to smile at me. They were labelled “A”, “B”, “C” and so on. By email, we were discussing about the puppies which they said would cost only $400 plus cost of transporting. They said I merely had to choose which puppy I want. Something started to smell fishy to me when they initially offered a discount, and when I didn’t answer, they offered the puppy for free, as long as I pay for the transport cost.
Having been in communication with other sellers and breeders, I consulted one lady who sounded genuine to me and through her help I have discovered that there indeed is a group of scammers that have been accepting payments for transporting free puppies, giving the date of shipment and even perhaps the airline, only for the excited little girl’s or boy’s family go pick it up from the airport to find no puppy was even ever shipped.
In the end we have chosen to get a German Spitz from a show dog breeder. This way, we knew the lineage, and we know as well that there were no known diseases in their genes, there is a vet certificate, registration, 6 months insurance cover, and needles are updated. We also know that the breeder competes in dog shows like the one in the Ekka, and the community of breeders know her as reputable.
I wanted a Spitz after reading about the breed, and having some Spitz of our own in the family when I was growing up. They are known to be smart, active, fluffy, doesn’t smell, loyal, happy, devoted, friendly, has a bear like face, pointy ears, wolf like head, and always looks like it is smiling (or laughing) at you. There wasn’t an available Japanese Spitz in time for my daughter’s birthday so I opted for a cousin breed — the German Spitz.
While the Japanese Spitz is only pure white, the German Spitz could be pure white, pure black, combination of black and white, grey, brown or gold. They have a soft wooly undercoat and a long outercoat, and it is more abundant around the shoulder/neck that is perfect for cuddling. Downside is that they do shed and you really have to clean up a lot. You can actually make several plush toys with those sheds!
Despite their thick fur, they are actually easy to care for. They just need regular brushing and because of the texture of their fur, dirt falls off easily. They do not require frequent bathing because it could wash out their natural skin oil that makes their fur luxuriously soft and shiny.
I think though, that the German Spitz might not be the right breed for a family with a toddler because they are too happy and energetic when playing and either one could end up crying. Maybe for children around 9 and up will be better.
He was about 8 weeks old when we got him and thankfully he was already toilet trained. In the middle of the first night he barked and it’s to tell us that he needs to go toilet (we learned this the hard way lol). As in all puppies in a new environment, he wouldn’t stop crying on the first night unless we hold him, which my husband and I both did, so we didn’t get any sleep. But on the second night he slept like he’s been with us forever.
So, if you are getting a dog, what expenses can you expect?
1. The cost of the puppy of course (depends on the breed, and age), whether purchased or adopted
2. If the puppy is to be transported to you, the cost involved. Don’t forget to bring an empty clean cardboard box with a clean towel, some paper towels and water. We nearly bought a fancy dog transporting cardboard box until I realized duh, any cardboard box will do. The puppy may or may not cry all the way from the airport to your home so be ready. It would be nice if you have someone with you.
3. You will need to buy a food and water bowl (metal ones can get hot if you are placing them in sunny spots), some dog toys (make sure you get those that are dog safe), a bed for the dog (we have one but our dog never sleeps on it!), a collar to put on some identification, a leash for walking the dog, a harness for the car, a dog carrier if you wish (like Paris Hilton hehe), a doghouse if you are having an outside dog to protect them from the sun and the rain.
4. You will also from hereon in need to purchase dogfood (there is a choice between dry and wet food, raw food, food that you prepare — we only give the dry kibbles as we tried the wet food but his tummy didn’t agree with it — yeah, better be ready for some bouts of diarrhea when there is a change in diet hehehe), treats (rawhide, doggies biscuits, meat sticks) and dog shampoo.
5. On a regular basis, you will spend for anti flee treatments, dewormers, trips to the vet for needles.
6. You would have to purchase a clipper for the claws, a toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs (never use human toothpaste) and a brush for the fur specially if you have a furry dog.
7. You also have to arrange for dog insurance, dog registration in your council, desexing (be responsible and do the right thing) and microchipping if the dog isn’t microchipped yet (this will help in case they get lost). Before he was desexed, Deefa used to hump every pillow he has, and every soft toy he has, so I decided no more soft toy for him!
8. You might want to enrol your dog in a Basic Dog Obedience course. This is optional but it could save your pet’s life if it stayed when you command it to “stay” instead of running across the road. Our dog has an attitude and would only do commands if he is in the mood and on the day of the graduation, we were told that they couldn’t give him a certificate if he is not able to perform the commands. We were so worried when it was his turn but yes, he did his “10 second stay” and passed. But thank goodness is he is an inside dog because after that day, he hesitates to do it and most of the time won’t. lol.
9. Always remember that if you want to have a dog, make sure to make them a part of your family. They love human company and they need to be treated with love and respect.
I hope I didn’t forget anything and I hope this blog helps. Just make sure you research on the kind of breed would suit your lifestyle and your family before getting the first cute puppy you see. Each breed would have different characteristics and different health concerns. But all deserve to be loved as they do give unconditional love.