Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Gaining a dog is like...

I am not a dog person.

I have always been a cat person. I had a cat when I was younger, she died, I was devastated, my mum wouldn't let me have another- she didn't want me to go through it again.

Cue to meeting Mr J. Mr J is just an animal person, no preferences- dogs, cats and chickens have all been our pets, and even quail eggs were nurtured at one time.

When I met Mr J he had two cats, and when we moved Amelia stayed at the house and Max moved to the boat with us.

A few months later we got Max company by way of Molly. Molly didn't travel light!

When we moved off the boat both Max and Molly had other ideas so they were adopted by the nice peeps on the Marina.

And we went home, lonely...

A little while later we gained Fred and Ginger. And fortunately we must have improved our interpersonal skills as they are still living with us, in spite of the journey to Wales.

Cats do not stay as kittens. Like little tiny babies they grow into beautiful creatures. You will fondly remember them as kittens, this is life.

What can I tell you about our experiences with cats?

Cats are independent. And this comes first every time. Fred maybe more cuddlier and confident than Ginger, but this is only to achieve her outcomes. Cats are intelligent, they know how to hold their own.

I wish we had not assumed tabbies were male. This made for a pretty interesting conversation when the vet gave them the once over. And Fred and Ginger became girls names.

We have had all of our cats microchipped. It's always good to remember to offer new owner details, or it makes for some bizarre conversations when you're quite a travel distance from the cat's location. In saying that microchipping has returned our cats to us a few times, and given our cats seem to successfully remove collars that can only be a good thing.

Whilst we did not have children when we got the cats I am amazed how well they have coped with the introduction of babies, and how well the little people have taken to the cats. The cats are gentle around the babies and the babies can say 'cat' and make purring noises- it's soooo cute!

Cats bring you presents because they love you.I am sure they hear the sound of you screaming and shouting "take it outside" as a complement. Often they see wildlife as 'play things' and you have to find your humane streak to intervene in spite of your fear.
And that is probably the worst thing, although now recollecting, 'potty training' is equally fun in the litter tray stakes.

The one thing about cats which I haven't noticed is the prevalence of Facebook pages. I have to admit to "being friends" with someone's dog on Facebook. And it would seem this is common practice.... Petplan research has recently found an increased number of pet owners have their own social media page,

Whilst in a family sense I'd probably equate the cats to cousins who visit to keep the friendship, I have to admit that having a dog is like having another member of our immediate family.

We probably decided to get a dog as a substitute, and like many other things in life whilst your subconscious may be making some decisions the reality has a way of making the best of situations.

Miller just became one of the family.
It couldn't be any simpler.
This is the underestimated reality.

Miller is a cocker spaniel.
Choosing your dog for his personality is definitely important.
Choosing his breed in advance of this was probably of most importance.
I didn't like the idea of a big dog, Mr J didn't want to be walking a "girly dog".
We didn't want a dog which required an immense amount of exercise.

I would honestly say Miller looked after me through both my pregnancies. He was so lovely and attentive. As if he knew what he was protecting.

On Squeaks' arrival he was that dog you have heard of, the guard dog- as though he understood his Master's bond.

And the bond was to only grow.

Petplan recently asked its Facebook Page what pet owners had wished they'd known before owning a pet.

I wish I hadn't underestimated the task at hand.

Yes, there's dog poop.
Yes, there's knowing you've made the right decision about a breed that fits your lifestyle.
Yes, there's responsibly looking after your dog- from training, to vaccinations, and care, and, probably the one that got us- looking after the dietary requirements.

We couldn't have chosen a more family friendly dog.
Miller knows everyone's boundaries.
He knows daddy likes to play fight.
He knows mummy likes to cuddle.
He knows Squeaks likes the happy medium.
And he knows the boys are still at that age where they have no idea- but they just like to play.

I know that Miller is an integral part of our lives, and that there is no negotiation on this matter.
And whilst I'm not sure what benefit 'wishing I'd have known that' would have made, I do know that I did not expect this.

If there is one image that I could show, that to me shows what a difference a dog brings to a family, and why poopie bags and trips to the vets make it all worthwhile, it is this, my daughter at 2 and a half!

Gaining a dog is like gaining a member of the family who makes everyone's lives happier.
No matter how bad your day who can resist an excitable hound!

Disclosure: We received gift vouchers for writing this post. All opinions expressed are our own.

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