When I tell you our lives have been turned upside down since he arrived, believe me, I'm not exaggerating! For anyone who has never shared their lives with an 8 week old bundle of canine joy, it's a little like suddenly finding yourself with a toddler you haven't given birth to but is now yours forever...we've had sleepless nights, moments of pure joy and happiness, total panic and anxiety when he almost swallowed a stone from our garden and sheer exasperation at cleaning up yet another puddle on the floor, in spite of making every house-training effort possible! But the benefits of having this furry little fellow in our family are enormous. He makes us laugh, gives us so much joy and when he greets us every morning our hearts just melt with love for him. This week we were able to take him to doggy daycare for the first time and he loved it. We're lucky to have a great doggy daycare facility near our house which he will attend 3 days per week, so we can drop him off on the way to work and collect him at the end of the day. The other two days he will spend having lots of fun with his grandparents who also have a dog so he'll have even more fun.
When I hear people saying they leave their dogs alone at home all day every day, with no company and no stimulation, I wonder why they bothered getting a dog at all? Dogs (especially young puppies) are a massive commitment and on many levels it's like having a baby to look after...you can no longer take off at a moment's notice without arranging a dog-sitter, your dog or puppy needs your time, love and commitment in the same way a baby or a child does. People often forget that dogs are pack animals and, unlike cats, are not solitary creatures preferring to spend hours and hours alone. Dogs love us so much...they love being close to us and are a human being's most loving and faithful companion, apart from other humans of course (or horses and donkeys who also should never be kept permanently alone).
If you are thinking about getting a puppy or rescuing an older dog, your life will change completely for the better as you share your home with your new best friend, but it is really important to be aware of the enormous commitment involved and to realise that along with that cute face and unbelievably adorable furriness comes sleepless nights, vets bills and lots of chewing and biting while your new pal's teeth are coming through (this can go on until your pup is 9 months old!). However, to balance out those sleepless nights when your puppy is howling the house down because he's missing his mum and siblings, are moments when he or she will look at you with complete love and adoration, cuddling up to you and giving you the biggest and best welcome each and every time you come home.
We will be taking our little guy camping with us, on forest and mountain walks and, of course, on our family holiday this year (we've found a super dog-friendly house by the sea where we'll go for a week this summer). He is part of our family now so we want him with us whenever we can. For us, that's what having a dog is all about.