Petplan has asked me to write a blog post:
“What I wish I’d known before owning a pet”
What I wish I’d known before owning a pet? Well, to be honest, I’ve always had pets. Mum and Dad had a minimum of two dogs before I was even born, and I only remember a year or two of university days when I was without a four legged friend. So this post was tougher than I first thought. However, I thought about all the thoughts and advice I’ve gained from my various critters over the years that I never really expected, and here’s what I came up with:
- The therapy they provide. Because the wisest advice and the most in depth self-help book does not compare with the gentle chin of a large, soft head placed on my knee. They just know when I’m sad.
- There is no way – ever – to look cool whilst picking up dog poo.
- How rewarding rescuing an older pet can be. Puppies and kittens are undoubtedly cute, and although they grow up faster, they are every bit as hard work as a child in my opinion. Older pets are usually the last to be rescued. We were lucky enough to find our gentleman Fizz when he was 8 years old. Now at 12, he’s still going strong, and he came toilet trained, beautifully mannered, and very grateful for a home.
- The heartbreak when you loose them. Nothing prepares you for that.
- I wish I’d known sooner about the on-line community. There’s a plethora now of like minded fanatics and pet lovers that offer a wealth of support and friendship over the net. I’ve had all kinds of advice from total strangers tapping away on their keyboard and it’s lovely. (NB – Nothing replaces a proper veterinary consultation if they need one though!)
Hmmmm, what else? Oh I know!
- I really wish I’d known about the wind caused by particular brands of dog food that I’m probably not allowed to name. Many are the times you could have caught my husband and I sat watching TV, both with the necks of our jumpers hooked up over our noses. Something not even my daughter’s nappies have achieved.
- Whilst we’re on the subject, I wish I’d known about dogs needing their anal glands squeezed. That’s a shocker when you first come across it!
- How expensive pets can be. Although I would say that if you begrudge one penny of that expense, you may not be right for owning one. Having said that, it’s always worth investigation non-profit vets near you (animal trust, blue cross etc) but be prepared to use your spondoolies when needs be.
- Get them insured! Nope – Petplan didn’t tell me to put this bit. This is ALL me and I think it’s SO important. Insurance has been a God send in the past and enabled some of my dogs to live long happy lives that otherwise would’ve been cut brutally short.
- I wish I’d known not to worry about having dogs when I found out I was pregnant. Grace has a wonderful relationship with them (I wrote about it here) and studies now show that having a dog can improve your child’s sense of responsibility, encourage caring behaviour and teach respect and sharing. There is even research that kids who grow up around pets can be less likely to have allergies and other illnesses. Caution, common sense and research must always prevail when mixing animals with children, but it’s something I wouldn’t change now for the world.
And finally . . .
- There is nothing . . . NOTHING . . . more disgusting than your dog puking up a poo he ate onto your carpet – and then re-eating it. Thanks to Badger for that one.
So there you have it. Perhaps slightly more anally focused than I’d initially intended, but the world of dog and cat ownership is often not pretty.
(Petplanhas asked me to write this post with PolPol and Larley and has thanked me kindly with some vouchers in return. Visit the Petplan UK Facebook page for more.)