I grew up without any pets. At least not at home, the only ones I came across were stray dogs and cats while in India which would wander outside and show it’s devotion to the house that gives the meal. But since they were stray the instruction from home was not to touch or pet them. So growing up it was a ‘no pets’ zone at home. As an adult with a family the thought of having a pet was never a part of the Family Agenda. I did not believe in having birds as pets as personally I was against any kind of caging.
When my kids grew up they started pestering me for a pet, to be precise a dog. Now dogs were ok for me but not cats and the reason was my mom had a phobia towards cats which kind of carried forward (apologies to Cat lovers). Also I remember Churchill’s comment to his grandson “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals”. Not really, but you get the point.
The first objection came from my wife who had grown up with Pets; dogs and cat and her reasoning was “A pet is like a kid who will never grow up and don’t go that path unless you decide who is going to take care of it”. Her fear is justified because being the only person in the house who had experience with pets, she feared that the whole responsibility will fall on her in the event that we wash our hands after the initial excitement.
Nevertheless I decided to give it a try and I had heard that having pets help in making people happy. So it was an important part of happiness and you got to try it. So I promised my kids that we will get a dog. Like many parents I used that as a trump card and got in return a few things I wanted from the kids, in terms of daily chores that they had been evading for long : )
The search began and the first choice was a Golden Retriever, primarily because we all liked the way they look. I had known of Pomeranian, dachshund and Alsatian (A mix of German Shepherd and Alaskan Malamute) as the most common dogs as pets in India. And one of my close friend had two dachshunds and that was my only experience with dogs at home. And yes a friend of my dad had almost 8 dogs in their house. So though I did not have experienced myself I had seen how happy people were with pets around them.
Apart from this I had absolutely no clue about things like potty training, shedding and medical issues and so on. You never think of any of these when you see stray dogs. So I was also kind of skeptical on how a dog would be with kids. But these are the times when kids become both a teacher and a salesperson. They took be through the process in home and outside when we saw people walking their pets. They would run off and pet the dog. For the first time in my life I started observing dogs as a future pet owner. We started visiting pet shops and events regularly during weekends. The decision we made as a family was to not go for a puppy, but instead go for a grown up dog that was already trained. Also giving a home to a pet in need, the whole idea of Adopting a pet sounded like a good thing to do.
We would have continued the search for a few months and once we figured that Golden Retrievers were difficult to find we expanded our options. And then one day we found Reyna, a beautiful 5 year old Cocker Spaniel at a shelter in Dublin. Everyone instantly fell in love with her. She was trained and we decided then and there and brought her home. Reyna means Queen in Spanish and since she has been the queen to us all.
Life has changed a lot since she came. Yes it came with responsibilities and cost and some family arguments as to who was suppose to clean the poop today and so on. But for Reyna it did not matter because she gives us much more than what we ever asked for. I think it has also made a needed positive impact on the kids.
I should thank my kids for taking me on this path. If you are thinking of a pet go for it. Get a dog from a shelter and I assure you it will transform you to be a better human being. Though I don’t think you can find a dog better than Reyna🙂 More about Reyna later..