Saturday, 6 July 2013

Doggy decisions

I'd like a dog. The NC would like a dog. The children would like a dog.


Dogs can be expensive. It's hard choosing the right breed. Should we get a puppy or a rescue dog? As much as the children *think* they want a dog, are they actually ready for it? There's lots to consider.

We've had a dog before. Not long after Mini moved in, we bought a Labrador puppy. Stupid idea. Just as Mini was settled enough to sleep through the night, we got a puppy who would cry and need to go outside during the night. The NC spent a long time sleep deprived!
We decided in the end that it was too much having a new little person and a new puppy, unfair on both as we couldn't give Bob-dog the time he needed, and unfair on Mini as we were trying to build a relationship with him, whilst he was grieving for his foster carer AND settling into a new home with strangers AND getting to know his surroundings; we moved Bob-dog on quite quickly to another family.

Mini became quite nervous around dogs after this, and we've had to be quite vigilant when out and about as he'd panic if a dog came too close - this of course makes the dogs nervous too. When Auntie H had a dog, it took Mini a little while each time we saw her for him to be relaxed around the dog. But, things have improved recently, and we've noticed he's better with smaller dogs.

Now, we are all more settled, the children are older. Dave-the-therapist has recommended a dog...several times in fact, and now our social worker has joined the cause! And we know there are benefits of having a pet, not only from a responsibility point of view, in fact at 6 and 3, they wouldn't take much responsibility anyway, but apparently dogs can help children develop empathy (a skill Mini needs some help with), build confidence, settle anxiety and nervousness, and of course can be companionable.

So, we have considered lots, and made a decision and we are looking for a dog. We've talked as a family, and we've all agreed that rehoming a rescue dog is what we'd like to do. Mini himself has likened the process to himself moving in - what with introductions etc. We went to see a little Staffordshire bull terrier last weekend, and despite his initial nervousness with her, Mini even felt comfortable enough to hold one of the leads and walk her! Unfortunately she required much, much more training than we're able to give her, and so we're still looking.

But hopefully, in the not too distant future I'll be able to introduce you to a new member of our family...

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