Monday, 27 February 2017
A new dog?
I am currently puppy sitting. I look after various dogs when their owners are away but this is the first time I have had a puppy. He is an American Staffordshire Terrier and, if you are in the UK, you will be forgiven for thinking that you have not heard of of AmStaffs before simply because the breed is not recognised there. However, it is popular here in France. This puppy belongs to people who live in England and who wanted an AmStaff so they came to France to buy him. They asked if I would help source a puppy and then look after him initially. The UK is a rabies free country and any dog entering the UK must have an up to date rabies jab and cannot arrive until 3 weeks after the jab is given ... hence why I am currently looking after a puppy.
Having a bundle of canine joy around the house is quite hard work but also great fun. It is over 18 months since Harry was put down and 7 months before that when Poppy lost her fight against cancer leaving Saari all alone. Back after Harry died we felt we did not want to take on another dog but having had the puppy around it has got us thinking that maybe it would be nice. Saari had lots of canine friends staying and when they go she does seem lonely. So we have started talking about getting a new dog .... although what dog?
Puppy or an older dog? A puppy means you can train them more easily but it is hard to get puppies from refuges which is where all my previous dogs have come from. I don't want to home a puppy from a breeder when there are hundreds if not thousands of other unwanted dogs languishing in dogs' homes. Maybe I could home a Pot Cake Dog from Guadeloupe?!
What breed? As I have already written, I have previously always had Black Labradors with the exception of Saari who is a Husky cross German Shepherd. As a child my parents had lurchers and having recently seen a gorgeous lurcher I would not be averse to another of those. That said though, they are a touch prone to chasing hares and with a healthy hare population locally (one of my all time favourite animals) maybe that is not a good idea. What about something smaller then? After I left home my parents had terriers and I do really like small hairy terriers; Lakeland/Border etc. They can, however, be head strong and harder to train but they'd hopefully be great at keeping rats down. Saari, in her youth, was a great mouser but I'd never seen her catch a rat and having had a rat run over my feet a couple of nights ago in the chicken shed, a ratting dog does seems like a good idea.
There are a few things that I would NOT want. I do not really want another overly hairy dog. Saari sheds enough hair all year round to make me think that maybe we should go for a bald dog?? Actually no - I have googled them and they are too weird looking! But something short haired that doesn't overly shed hair. And white - I live on a smallholding and walk through muddy fields. I am not having a white dog! Nor a toy breed. In fact a mongrel would probably suit just fine.
Some people argue that actually owning a dog is not sustainable and pets can use up a lot of resources and thus energy over their lifetime. On the other side though there are many good reasons to own a dog including that they are good for your physical and mental health, they can have a purpose (ratting for example which is infinitely better than poison) and they teach you about caring for living things. I blogged about how to own a sustainable pet a while back.
I have only ever been without a dog for very short periods of my life and my home felt there was something important missing. Saari isn't getting any younger, in fact she will be 10 in June and I think now is a good time to start looking for a dog again.
So that is as far as I've got really. Probably more questions than answers and anyway I cannot do anything until the puppy has left. But if there is a nice smallish terrier type pup, keen to earn its keep ratting but not keen on chasing hares and not white then there might just be a new home waiting for you in Normandy!
Do you own a dog? What sort have you got and what do you think I should get?