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Ermmm… Maybe you should not get a dog 🐕 🐶
Let's talk about dogs, and you can grab candid advice and amusing anecdotes along the way.
My friend and I had a dog back in 2017. I can’t remember its name, gender or breed, but it was a medium-sized white dog.
The idea was cute at first; we were taking pictures and all that. But we quickly realised we knew nothing about dogs, or we weren’t ready for it, and the furry little friend gradually became a menace.
The dog misbehaved all the time and took a shit everywhere in the small apartment. We could not keep up. And we returned the dog back to sender within a few months. I thought to myself, never again!
Fast forward a few years later… I’m a big sucker for dogs. In fact, one of my ambitions in life is to own a big house with a big garden and have about 20 dogs running around. What a life that’ll be.
But in the meantime, while I prepare for the 18 others, meet my two dogs.
This is Cash 🐶👇
My white-coated dwarfy Maltese. At four years old, he thinks he has seen it all in life. He walks around like he owns the house, believes I’m his bodyguard, and won’t eat his dry food unless Mimie feeds him.
He doesn’t like anyone ringing the doorbell, as that messes with his peace and quiet. He’s cool with people but even cooler without them. Sometimes, I call him "Cashew nut"; and when I want to annoy him, I call him “Kashimawo”.
And this is Penny 🐕👇
See what we did there? (Cash > Penny 😉). In fact, her name would have been Cheque, but I got a Rabbit sometime back and named it Cheque. Mimie didn’t like that rabbit, so I had to give it away. Now, she refused to give her dog the same name—Big L to Mimie.
Penny is a 4-month-old Golden Retriever, a Scottish breed of retriever dogs of medium size. But there’s nothing medium about this size because how is a 4-month-old Penny thrice the size of a 4-year-old Cash?
Penny is an extremely cheerful and energetic dog. In fact, she finds it difficult to stay calm. She wants to chew everything every time; she thinks the house is a stadium, and she’s a sprinter.
She believes her bed is the floor, and the floor is her bed. She believes the bush is the road, and the road is the bush. She also believes her tail is an enemy and spends half of the day trying to catch it. She’s very affectionate and finds it easy to show love.
Now, as you can already tell, Cash and Penny have opposing personalities.
Penny doesn’t understand why Cash doesn’t want to run around with her. Since she (Penny) came from a family of about eight siblings, she’s used to rough play. So it’s safe to say that ‘peace’ is not really in her dictionary.
On the other hand, Cash has, over time, mastered the atmosphere in the house. And just like his owners, he prefers calm and solemn surroundings with no noise or drama and is irritated at how Penny has an unlimited supply of energy to keep jumping around.
The other day, Cash called me to a corner and was like, “ehmmm… dude. I don’t really know what you’re up to, but I understand humans make dumb decisions. However, why do you even think it’s a good idea to bring a restless dog into my house?”. I’m still looking for a response to that.
Now, back to reality. This piece is not really about Cash or Penny; I just wanted to introduce them to you, because, why not? 🤪
So, picture this (or video this): It's a cozy morning, and you're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you come across an adorable video of Penny being a cute little one. Your heart melts, and you think, "Hmm… I need a dog in my life!".
Well, that sounds good. But before you rush to the nearest shelter, or breeder, or buy the dog from traffic (hehehehehehe), hold your horses; let me tell you something.
The something I’m going to tell you is more about what to expect as a dog owner, rather than
discouraging you from getting a dog.
I should also mention that I’m not a dog expert, but I’ve been living with a dog for four years, which means I definitely have some tips. So here we go…
1. Once you get a dog, you can't just disappear…
Now, personally, I like to make travel decisions on the fly. I can just miss my mum, and I’m off to Nigeria tomorrow. But with a dog, the situation is not the same. You can’t just disappear. Where will you put the dog?
You can either call the dog boarding (which can be expensive), or keep it with a friend (which you might not have around you). So, it’s possible those two options aren’t even feasible.
Nevertheless, “What if I need to travel out of the country suddenly” is a very important question you should ask yourself, before getting one of them cutie little puppies.
2. Extra bills, that could be avoidable…
Dog foods are not free. In fact, some dogs, like Cash, will not eat certain food because they don’t like the smell.
You’ll need a bed, maybe some toys, microchip, treats, potty pads, cleaning supplies, and probably a cage.
The medical bill is still there, vaccination, pet insurance… Need I continue?
In fact, according to Rover.com, the average annual cost of owning a dog is about $1,200. And that’s beside the cost of getting the dog.
Now, we can argue that it can be cheaper. But I’m all about giving a dog a good life. So, if you can’t do that, on behalf of the dogs, we say NO.
3. Dogs ‘require’ training…
An untrained dog can be frustrating, just like my 2017 experience. Imagine your dog barking excessively at people on the streets, disturbing the peace of the hood. You don’t want to be known as “that person with the annoying dog”.
Or imagine your dog peeing on your rug, or taking a shit in your kitchen. Well, that’s what you get if the dog isn’t trained.
Like I always say, education is the key 😀
4. Dogs require commitment and time…
It’s very easy to think that dogs are fashion accessories. They’re cute, I agree. And tempting to take a picture of, but they’re more than that. They're living beings with feelings, needs, and emotions.
They will take up some of your free time. Just like caring for a toddler, welcoming a new puppy means putting another's needs ahead of your own.
Now, when you wake up, the dog has to eat first. The dog has to go out and exercise. Do you have that energy? My friend and I did not, in 2017, and see how that turned out. It was bad for us, and, more unfortunately, bad for the dog.
5. The breed of the dog matters…
Before picking the cutest pup you spot, looking into different dog breeds is crucial.
It's all about matching the right breed with your way of life and where you live. Think about how much space you have at home, and who you live with – like you might not want to go ahead and get a Pit Bull if you have kids at home.
Some breeds require a lot of attention; some don’t. Some breeds need to exercise a lot; some don’t. Some breeds may bite your visitors; some won’t. So you have to learn more about dog breeds so you can make a good decision in selecting the one for you.
And if you go ahead to get a dog that bites, just know my dawgs and I won’t be visiting.
6. You need patience…
Trust me, when you’re in a bad mood, the last thing you want is a hyperactive dog running around the house scattering tissue paper all over the floor.
But guess what? Dogs don't have an off switch, and they can't sense that today is not the day to test your limits. They will still expect walks, playtime, food, and attention regardless of your feelings.
So, if you lose patience quickly, a dog might not be the best pet for you; maybe get a monkey. Because a dog needs someone who can remain calm and consistent, even when they've just chewed up your school certificate.
Bonus Gist: The vet can even pull a fast one on you…
Some weeks back, when we first received Penny. She came in with big energy; you wouldn’t even be able to tell that she was in a new environment.
As a new dog, we needed to do a general health checkup to ensure she didn’t have some weird sickness or genetic disease. So, we pulled up at a vet clinic with so much energy, yunno, new dog, new joy.
The vet doctor came out dressed all cute with some funny crocs on and asked what test we would love to do. We explained, “we just got this dog, and we’re trying to be sure all is well with her. You can do whatever test we need to do.”.
She took her in for about 30 minutes and came back with a bunch of results. She highlighted a particular one and said the result was positive, and they needed to admit her for three days or else…
It sucked to hear that you have to let go of your new family member just when you want to start bonding. But we had no choice. We proceeded with it, left her there and went home.
Later that day, Mimie said her “motherly instinct” kept telling her we should take Penny to another vet to reconfirm the test. I wasn’t really up for that, but you know what they say, happy wife, happy life. So, as an obedient husband, I agreed.
We went there the next morning; the vet came out with the same funny crocs on. She looked surprised that we were asking to take the dog, but she asked no questions.
We took Penny to another vet, ran the same test, and it was negative.
Alas! The former vet almost pulled a fast one on us; I felt foolish. But thank God for Mimie’s “motherly instinct”. At least, we were able to get a refund.
Wrapping this up
In summary, while the idea of getting a dog is wonderful – as it is – it's not a decision to be taken lightly.
And if you're ready for all that I listed above, then maybe you're ready to have a dog.
But if you're not sure, maybe you shouldn’t get one. You can get a rat if you need something to play with; they’re cute too.