Never the dog owner

“No honey, we will never have a dog in this house”

7 years ago:

“Daddy I want a dog. Can we have a puppy?”

“No, honey our house is too small, we don’t even have yard. We can’t have a dog. Here let’s play with your toys.”

5 years ago:

“Daddy, I want a puppy. I will love it so much. Can we get a puppy, please?”

“Honey, we can’t have a puppy. I don’t want a puppy in this house. Want to go to the Zoo and look at the animals instead?”

3 years ago:

“Daddy I want a pet. You know I wanted a puppy, but can we at least get a turtle?”

“Honey, a turtle litters and you can’t even play with it. How about we get a aquarium instead. You can look at the pretty tropical fish. They are pets too you know.”

1.5 year ago:

“Daddy I can’t do anything with the tropical fish, can I at least get a hamster? I am now old enough to take care of it. I will even pay from my pocket money for all its expenses. Can I?”

“Ok, honey if you promise to keep it out of sight and away from the rest of the house. And you will clean it and take care of it all by yourself. ok?”

6 weeks month ago:

“Daddy, you know I always wanted a puppy dog. You’ve seen that I can take care of the hamster so don’t you think I am old and responsible enough. Why can’t we get a dog now?”

“Honey, it’s like I told you all those years back. A dog will never step foot in this house. If you want a dog so much you will be patient a few more years when you go and have your own place to live, and then you can have a dog and any other animal you want. Nothing has changed and nothing ever will. Never.

Here have fiver and go get an ice cream.”

24 hours ago:

“Goddammit Luna! why do you have to pee in the living room again??? The veranda is only 1 second away, and that’s where you puppy diaper is, why can’t you just go there? Like I showed you yesterday!”

“Daddy, why are you shouting this early in the morning?”

“Cause you wanted a puppy honey. Now get out here and cleanup this mess. You said your were gonna, before we got the dog. Remember?”

It’s a kind of magic

I always admired and respected animals.

but I was never keen on owning a pet. I grew up in a family which has no contact with any pets whatsoever. They were never part of our “family lifestyle”.

Getting married and having kids, eventually the request of getting a pet comes up from the kids. I think this probably happens to all families.

I always , strongly dismissed this demand by my kids. Could never quite justify it fully, just rejected the request.

And then about 5 weeks ago, some weird discussion started between my wife and kids and me, one that for the first time, didn’t find me all that negative about the idea.

I found myself starting to work through the practical issues of having a dog in our life, in our house, just in my mind at first. I didn’t want to give away even a hint of possibility that this might ever actually happen. Then I was discussing it with my wife, but not the kids. This was still all totally hypothetical.

Then we were on our way to our summer vacation. Driving for around 5 hours, and I found myself having this open and actually quite civilized conversation about what type of dog we each would like, where we might get it. Where it would live and how we might take care of it.

Cut a long story short, throughout the 8 days of our vacation, the issue monopolized our precious leisure time.

The day we got back from our vacation, we looked up adoption agencies and ads online, booked 2 appointments to go and meet some puppies. The next day we all melted when we met the puppies. Made the difficult decision to choose between 2 pairs of siblings. All four puppies were adorable.

There was not resistance at this time.

It was all about taking the final decision and making preparations in the house.

The next day we brought home our new female pappy. A beautiful and highly energetic, 3 month old, brown cross-breed, a half short-haired pointed and half of something between Vizsla, Rhodesian Ridgeback or Setter by the looks of her. The mother we are sure about, she was indeed found with her by her side. No-one is certain about the dad, he was not around when she was found around 3 months ago, along with her mother and the rest of her 9 (yes nine!) siblings on the island of Kythnos last spring. From what we were told, they were probably born on or around Easter Day, April 28th 2019.

How did all this happen? 

Two weeks ago I didn’t even want to hear about dogs or anything. I was another person. How did I change like this? So quickly. So irreversibly. It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t explain it. I must have been charmed. Not sure by whom exactly or when exactly, but it’s the only illogical explanation. It was magic!

“Here girl, do poop and pee outside, please”

Things are very simple.

As she grows up after completing her first vaccination program and is finally allowed to go outside, you just take her out 3-4 times a day, let her get familiar with the neighborhood, and before you know it she’ll be happily peeing and pooping at her own favorite little park, just around the corner from your home. Nothing to it, really. It’ll be just a matter of days. Just keep taking her outside as often as possible.

“Girl, will you let go of the birdies and the pigeons and the cats and the other dogs, and just focus at the task at hand for a few minutes? Please! We are here for you to pee and poop. Remember? 

Of course you don’t remember. All you care about right now it everything else going on around you, how can you even considering peeing and pooping.”

She is a very energetic and curious dog. 

When they saw her, everyone kept telling us the same thing, “Oh, you got a hunting dog, did you. You know these are highly distracted, don’t you?”

She apparently also has all her senses heightened, smell, sight, hearing. So every 0.005″ she responds to anything that catches her attention. A bird taking off 1km away. A leaf falling in the next forest. A bit of dust moving from the wind 100 meters down the road. And so go our walks.

For the time being we should stay content that she at least enjoys the walk, and she behaves properly. I guess peeing and pooping outside might take a little bit longer. I still can’t do it outside myself and I’m a grown man!

“Hey people, get your own dog, will ya!”

“Can I pet your daughter ma’am? No, why not? You want to pet my dog. What’s the difference? Then no, you can’t pet my pretty 4 year old pointer either. Get your own dog!”.

I never thought that taking a stroll down a busy public area would make me feel to awkward and nervous. It’s almost like being a celebrity. At least I imagine this how they must feel.

Literally every 2 steps we take, someone notices our young little  beauty and either starts taunting her or just straight comes up to us and just starts to pet her. And of course she always obliges, such a social and curious dog that she is.

How I miss just walking around and not being noticed by anyone.

Truth be told, in these last 4 weeks we have met more new people on the street (and dogs) than we have for the past 4 years.

“Please don’t look at me with these begging eyes”

All the trainers that we met, and all the articles we have read, were very clear about how to set rules for her feeding habits. And how she should strictly stick to her own certified dry food and that we should never feed her our own food.

And we are adamant about complying with this rule. It’s only up to us in fact.

But why does it have to be so difficult when we sit at the kitchen table to have our dinner that to have her looking at us with those sad begging eyes, always hoping that one day she might get a nibble of something, anything handed out to her. 

“This will never happen! And stop looking at me with those begging, waiting eye, I’m this close to start crying.”

“Can I just get 5′ straight quiet minutes to go toilet? Please, please! Just 5 minutes!”

So the crate where she sleeps at night is still sitting next to our bed. We usually do get a good straight 8 hours of sleep, from around 10pm up to… well, that the problem. Up to the point when the alarm goes off. Then she wakes up and eager to get out of the crate just starts whining. Very persistently.

“Sugar, I’m just not ready for you yet. I have to relieve myself first. Before I take out of to relieve yourself. So can you just bear with me for 5 minutes?”

Of course she can, but she won’t. How can a guy relax and do his thing in the toilet, when there’s all this constant loud and annoying whining and whining.

“BE QUIET I SAID! I just need 5 minutes. Five f*cking freaking minutes to relax and… you know. Do my thing. Then you get your turn.”

“Are was maybe spending too much money on her? Are all these things necessary?”

You know how it goes. It’s like having a new baby in your family. No, it’s actually way more than having a new baby. I never thought that a new puppy would need all of these…

  • a crate, cause she has to be contained somewhere overnight
  • and a pen, cause she has to be contained somewhere more spaciously during our absence,
  • a bed with mattress, cause she needs to have an extra place to crash out if she wants to, she mostly pees on it these days, and crashes out everywhere else in the house,
  • a special insect repellent collar, cause mosquitoes are only allowed to sting her at the back but never near the head,
  • lots of toys to spend time with, she only spends around 5-10′ with them when they are new then puts them aside and starts chewing everything else she can get her teeth onto around the house,
  • lots and lots of diapers, ok, these are life-saving most of the time, excellent value for money,
  • lots of poop bags, for when we go outside for a poop, only she never poops outside, so we just consume them to contain poop, instead of just flushing it down the toilet just like human beings do,
  • an online GPS, cause god forbid if she gets lost outside, I’ll probably get a stroke and never forgive myself,
  • a special faux-bijoux collar, for those special nights when we have guests in the house
  • all accessories that go with spending time outside, special water bottles, special bowls, special chewing treats,
  • special shampoo, a special nail clipper,
  • at least 2-3 more collars, for various occasions that will probably never occur,
  • special cleaning clothes,
  • and so on….

You get the picture.

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