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I expect the answer is no, but could we offer a dog a good home?

(48 Posts)
SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 14:57:25

DH is a dog-lover, as are the DC. I'm a bit meh about them, but since DH and the children have good naturedly suffered my pets over the years (two rescue cats, now deceased, both with complex and expensive health problems) I feel that I should at least give the idea proper consideration!

The good:
- I work from home most days
- The children are 7 and 9, and we are a fairly quiet and 'calm' household
- We have a large and completely enclosed garden (chicken-proof!).
- The DC play out in the garden in all weathers, so I expect that a dog would be well entertained
- We have no other pets (except the chickens, who enjoy free-ranging, but also have their own fenced-off area)
- We'd prefer a rescue, don't mind taking on a pet with health problems, and know we'll need to invest time and money into training, etc.

The bad:
- I am not a dog lover and have never managed to bond with a dog, and it's me that the poor creature will spend most of its time stuck with. So far, I have failed to bond with a German Shepherd (family dog growing up), Husky (exbf's dog) and Labrador (dog we dog-sit for for approx 2 x 1 week per year). I find them needy and annoying blush I do feel more drawn to small but calm lapdog type dogs basically canine versions of cats
- The DC are not old enough to walk it alone yet, and I could only guarantee one fairly short walk (15 mins) every morning. It would get more at weekends and on days when DH works from home. I have a feeling that this might not be enough?
- On days when I do have to work out of the home, there can be no one home for up to 10 hours. This is about one day a fortnight. I have no idea what people do with dogs when they are out, but we have no local family and I'm guessing that dog walkers require a regular 'slot'?

I don't want the poor creature to have a miserable life. I also don't want me to have a miserable life! Does it sound like we could provide a happy home to a dog, given the 'bad' above? What breeds/characteristics should we be looking for? What do people do with dogs when they go out and can't take the dog with them? Please be blunt, it's a big decision and I wouldn't want to make the wrong one.

TIA

ElspethFlashman Tue 26-Sep-17 15:01:19

You may not have to have a regular slot, when we had a dog it was very ad hoc and we just had to ring the dog walker the day before.

Some small dogs are walk monsters e.g. Jack Russell's etc, but others like Dashunds may need less.

And of course an elderly dog may not fancy much walking.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 26-Sep-17 15:03:01

If you've never bonded with a dog, then you shouldn't get one. Especially if you find them needy and annoying. You should not be a dog owner. Sorry if that's brutal!

I miss mine desperately, along with the walking and the cuddles. And everything else...

PoisonedIvy Tue 26-Sep-17 15:12:18

I am not a dog lover and have never managed to bond with a dog, and it's me that the poor creature will spend most of its time stuck with. So far, I have failed to bond with a German Shepherd (family dog growing up), Husky (exbf's dog) and Labrador (dog we dog-sit for for approx 2 x 1 week per year). I find them needy and annoying blush I do feel more drawn to small but calm lapdog type dogs basically canine versions of cats

You may well grow to love the dog. My DH wasn't a dog lover but then we rescued a nervous border terrier and now he is head over heels. I can hear him now in the kitchen going "Are you a princess? Are you? Yes you are. You know you are. Are you Daddy's princess?" confused
Even if you don't fall in love with the dog, dogs just like company and will happily just hang out with you all day while you work at home largely ignoring it.

The DC are not old enough to walk it alone yet, and I could only guarantee one fairly short walk (15 mins) every morning. It would get more at weekends and on days when DH works from home. I have a feeling that this might not be enough?
It might not be but it depends what breed you end up with. My border terrier now only gets one half hour walk in the evenings. We used to take her half hour mornings then an hour at night. She started refusing to go out at all in the mornings (preferring to snooze) and started make up carry her home after half hour in the evenings. She's very lazy. You can get a dog walker for £7 for half hour around by me to "top up" the walks you give. Plus, your kids will be old enough soon!

On days when I do have to work out of the home, there can be no one home for up to 10 hours. This is about one day a fortnight. I have no idea what people do with dogs when they are out, but we have no local family and I'm guessing that dog walkers require a regular 'slot'?
We send our dog to doggy day care if there's a run of days we'll both be out for a long time. It costs us £28 with pick up and drop off. We don't book these as a regular slot, just text the place to book her in a few days in advance.
However, she doesn't particularly enjoy it at day care because she can be a bit nervous and she's very lazy. If it's the odd day (like once a fortnight) I just leave her on her own and she can be on her own for about 9 hours. I leave her loads of puzzles and games to keep her entertained. The first couple of times I did it, I set up a camera to see if she was okay and she just slept for most of the time. Once in a while is fine for my dog but I wouldn't do this regularly.

I think the rescue centre would be keen on a family like yours. It's not that you have to guarantee to be at home every hour of the day but to show you've researched and thought about what you'll do with the dog the times that you are away from home.

Good luck, OP. Rescuing our dog was the best thing we've ever done.

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 15:16:33

Brutal is good @TwitterQueen1 that's my fear, to be honest. I don't know what's wrong with me, I can lose my heart to random cats in minutes, but not dogs for some reason. That said, we dog-sat a small hairy black dog (not sure of breed!) for friends earlier this year and she did melt my heart a bit. She's only 1.5 years, but unusually docile and cuddly. So maybe with the right dog. It's a gamble though.

I had no idea that doggy day care existed, and I hadn't considered a regular dog walker. Without sounding crass, money is not so much of an issue.

PoisonedIvy Tue 26-Sep-17 15:18:29

Doggy day care is amazing. There are loads of them around my area but we went with the one that had the best "feeling" about it. The people who work there are completely bonkers dog-people so we know our dog's in very safe hands.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 26-Sep-17 15:34:36

Have you thought about getting a rescue pair of dogs? That way, on the one day a fortnight when you are out, they will not be alone. (And rescue pairs are harder to place so this is a good thing for them, too.)

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 26-Sep-17 15:38:29

Greyhounds are placid and don't need as much walking as you'd think. They run around a bit then tire. Lots in rescue.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 26-Sep-17 15:40:56

Hmm just checked online and apparently information on walking differs.

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 15:41:55

We have a Dogs' Trust near us. Do you think they'd let me spend some time with their rescues to see if I could develop a bond (secretly, without getting the DCs' hopes up) with a view to adoption? Or is it more of a case of going on a waiting list and getting matched?

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 15:48:26

I'm laughing at the idea of getting two dogs @ArcheryAnnie. However I can see the logic, and I expect the DC would implode with happiness.

I just wish DH was around more because it (/they!) would be 'his' dog then, but with the set up as it is, it would end up being mine.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 26-Sep-17 15:49:57

Contradicting my earlier post (kind of), I do think having a dog in a family is immeasurably beneficial. My DCs loved ours to bits and got lots of cuddles if they were feeling sad. Then, when you think about stress relief, exercise, lots of doggy love - plus 'family' activity when children get older (family walks on high days and holidays, plus weekends), having a dog is a bit of no-brainer.

<helpful>

JAMNoMore Tue 26-Sep-17 15:55:02

Dogs' Trust will let prospective owners take their dogs out for a walk, usually in their own fields. They will also insist on a number of meetings before they let you take a dog home. I don't see any reason why you couldn't pop along a couple of times without the rest of the family, if you get in touch and let them know that you're undecided on whether a dog is right for you and you want to figure it out before you commit to adopting one.

JAMNoMore Tue 26-Sep-17 15:56:56

Two dogs is actually a really good idea - the dogs will be a lot less reliant on you during the day as they'll have each other to wind up.

Alternately, is there any way your DH could take the dog to work (not as strange a question as it seems - I'm currently sat at a desk in an office with one of my dogs curled up on an old duvet behind me!)

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 16:09:49

This thread has been very helpful, I'm glad I started it.

Unfortunately DH couldn't take the dog(s) with him, he's out and about too much, and not places you could safely take a dog to.

I expect we will end up waiting until the DC are old enough to help with walks, but I am going to pop into the Dogs' Trust and ask them how the matching/adoption process works and leave my details on file just in case the perfect dog(s) do become available. I won't be telling the DC!!!

What this thread has highlighted to me is that the only real issue we have is my ability to find a dog I can bond with. Everything else is surmountable.

bugster Tue 26-Sep-17 16:14:18

I would say the main problem is your planned exercise time. I don't think 15 mins is anywhere near enough, even for a relatively low exercise breed. But then again if your children do lots of energetic games in the garden with it, that might make up for it to some extent.

For the 10 hour alone days, you would need to follow the suggestions of doggy day care/ paying a dog walker etc.

arousingcheer Tue 26-Sep-17 16:19:50

I don't think it's impossible that you'll find a dog you will love. I used to have two rescue Lakeland terriers who I thought were a bit like cats (independent, not needy, not boisterous) but you lost me a bit when you said the dog who melted your heart was doclie and cuddly! smile

If you know what sort of dog you've liked in the past or what traits you're looking for that will make it easier.

We now have to Staff crosses (one JRT, one whippet) and they are completely different to our other terriers - much more bouncy and very cuddly. The JRT also likes rolling in poo, which is apparently a breed-specific trait (one I could do without).

arousingcheer Tue 26-Sep-17 16:20:46

Argh docile not doclie.

BeachysFlipFlops Tue 26-Sep-17 16:27:35

Don't discount being able to train the dog not to eat the chickens! We have a rescue from Greece who is a hound, strong prey drive who has to stay on the lead when out and about, but completely understands not to eat the chickens when they free range past his nose..... I'm not sure I could pass on the secrets of how we did it, because I'm really not sure!

If you work from home, could you take the dog for a lunchtime walk?

Of the dogs you didn't like, they all seem to be bigger breeds. Maybe go for a mid sized spaniel or something?

BoomBoomBoomBoooom Tue 26-Sep-17 16:41:25

I have small older dog and that has 3 walks a day. I definitely don't think 1x 15minute walk is enough. Dog would drive you nuts in the house if it's not getting enough stimulation which is what walks are for- not just exercise.

We have a dog walker company that we use, it's husband, wife and assistant so not huge but professional and they are normally able to walk at a day's notice. For ten hours out of the house I'd book 2x1hr walks to keep the dog happy.

tigerdog Tue 26-Sep-17 17:13:18

I consider it one of my duties in life to recommend a greyhound to anyone looking to rescue a dog. Ours has brought us so much joy.

We think of our greyhound as being very catlike. She can be a bit aloof sometimes with strangers and isn't needy like a lot of dogs, but is incredibly loving and a great snuggler. I woke up from a nap the other day to find her stretched out behind me like a warm bolster cushion!

She needs only short and manageable walks (30 minutes), but sleeps for 18 hours a day otherwise and can be left without distress. She is really good with kids as she is very gentle and doesn't bark much but can sometimes find them overwhelming if they scream and jump on her (obviously we do our best to explain to kids how to treat her with respect to avoid that happening!)

Worth exploring, and I think would suit the household and ages of children you've described. The Retired Greyhound Trust in our area is very open to people popping in, meeting and walking the dogs and give lots of advice.

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 17:32:58

I think I'd definitely need a regular dog walker for the days that I can only manage 1 walk. For some bizarre reason I hadn't considered a dog walker for days when I'd be home but busy, but it makes perfect sense. Lunchtime walks would be lovely, but the reality of my workload is such that it's going to be unlikely in practice. A quick morning walk, followed by either a longer late afternoon/early evening walk with me and the DC, or with a dog walker for the days that doesn't work, would be achivable, if not ideal. The dog could have free access to the garden, although I appreciate this may not be terribly interesting for it after the first couple of days! It's really not ideal is it?

The little dog I did quite like was affectionate but shy and not very bouncy. When I came down the stairs she looked pleased to see me, but didn't run over and get under my feet. If I invited her on the sofa she'd snuggle up with me, but didn't seem upset when I didn't, if that makes sense? God I sound like a cold hearted cow! Basically, she was much like a cat!

In 3 years the DC will be old enough to walk a dog after school, which would make a world of difference. I think it's probably worth waiting until then.

Branleuse Tue 26-Sep-17 17:33:36

If its going to be you doing all the looking after, and youre not a fan of dogs, then i dont think you should bother. I dont think you owe it to anyone to get a dog, just because youve had cats before. Maybe your dh could get one when he retires and will be able to do all its care

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 17:36:12

Oooo, I missed your post @tigerdog. Cat like, you say? Completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but I do think greyhounds are very handsome dogs. Not small though!! I shall have to see if I have any friends with greyhounds who could use a dog-sitter for a weekend...

SockEatingMonster Tue 26-Sep-17 17:38:36

That's what one of the little voices in my head says @Branleuse. The other says that it would be nice for the DC to grow up with a dog and that I want to spend my retirement skiing in the Alps, not tied down to a dog <selfish>

I'm not coming across as a very nice person, am I? blush

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