A series of dog blogs from the Underwater Dogs Haircare Company. Informative, candid; with a touch of dog-lovin' humour. - Chapter 1
Author: Gayle Walker – Founder of Underwater Dogs Haircare Company.
A massive love for Ralph (the family dog-hooman) and a passion for professional haircare saw the Underwater Dogs Haircare Company evolve from dream to viable concept. In affiliation with Seth Casteel, world renown Photographer and New York Times Best Selling Author of ‘Underwater Dogs,’ Gayle’s aim is to educate dog owners about good skin & hair health in dogs, along with a splash of underwater fun. Find out more about the Underwater Dogs Haircare Company here.
INTRODUCTION – OUR JOURNEY
Everyone loves a puppy, and Jerry had me thinking about the road that Ralph and I had travelled. Adventures shared and the myriad of emotions we experience as the owner of a dog.
A learning curve… for just as each child is different, so too is every dog.
‘A Life with Dogs’ tracks the journey from ‘Pre-Puppy’ to the inevitable ‘Saying Good-bye.’ Inspiration crafted from the meeting of a brand-new puppy – Jerry (a.k.a. Royoni-naughty-on-arrival) and a deep, heart-felt love for dogs.
Who better to travel this road than ole’ man Ralph, and his cheeky new apprentice – Jerry.
Meeting Jerry (@jerrythecockerspan) for the very first time, and the mere notion of tracking his adventures from Puppy to Dog have been my unbridled privilege. The fact that Ralphie and Jerry are related…well who would have thought!
Royoni puppies have been around since 1950 and the owner Karlene, a Life Member of the Australian Cocker Spaniel Society, Member of the NSW Women’s Dog Club, Canberra Cocker Club, and recently The Kennel Club of the UK, is quietly humble.
Karlene’s as down to earth as they come, and her memory as good today as it was when my first Cockers came home to stay…her love for the breed a forever thing.
Whether you own a dog, are thinking about introducing a dog to your family or are the proud owner of a brand-new puppy; it’s a special time.
Chapters covered in Book One – The Pre-Puppy Checklist are:
- Chapter 1. When is the Right Time to Get a Dog?
- Chapter 2. What Type of Dog is Right for you?
- Chapter 3. Tips for Buying a Puppy
- Chapter 4. Tips for Adopting a Dog
- Chapter 5. Fostering a Dog
- Chapter 6. The Pre-Puppy Checklist
Chapter One – When is the right time to get a dog?
“Bringing home a new dog is a decision that should never be taken lightly. There are numerous responsibilities and costs associated with a pet that are sadly, rarely considered.”
In 2000 we decided to introduce a dog to both our family, and our home. I felt that circumstances allowed such a privilege as we had recently moved from high-rise city living, to the land.
It was important that the dog chosen for my daughter was a lover and not the more independent, wilful type. It also needed to be both inside and outside compatible, small enough, but not too small and above all, personality plus.
It was a well thought out decision and one that proved itself in so many ways. This new family member endeared himself to us all in a nano; so much so, without hesitation we made a return trip to Royoni.
Dudley would have a wife!
Whether you’ve been a devoted dog owner, or it’s all new and you’ve already had a touch of the overwhelm, let’s start from the beginning…
“According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year; many of which are relinquished because their owners simply weren’t prepared for the responsibility”
Here are some questions you should ask before deciding whether you are prepared for owning a dog, (or not).
Avoid purchasing during the holidays
A common gift for birthdays, anniversaries, Easter and Christmas is an adorable puppy. Unfortunately, as a result February is one of the busiest times for shelters due to taking in “Christmas puppies” that turned out to be too much work. In order to prevent an impulse purchase, avoid purchasing or adopting a dog close to the holidays and stick to a creepy purple Furby instead.
What does your family look like?
Are you living alone, or live with a partner? Do you have children? How old are they? Retired or about to, and are there other family members such as grandparents close by or supportive neighbours who you can rely on?
How your family is made up will have significant bearing on the choices you make regarding introducing a dog into the fold.
Consider your routine
What does your routine look like, and how much flexibility do you have? If every second of your day is jam packed, do you foresee yourself having time to train, exercise, play with, and care for a dog? A puppy can only be expected to hold its bladder and bowels for as many hours as it is months old (i.e. a 4month old puppy can hold it 4 hours). If you are away from home for more than 4 – 6 hours per day, it may not be the best time to get a pup (unless you love scrubbing the floors).
Consider your lifestyle
A dog is great for people who classify themselves as homebodies.
On the other hand, if your family is always on the go and rarely at home, consider whether the timing is right to bring home a dog.
While a puppy will be a big part of your world, remember that, to your dog, you are the world.
Are you planning to get a dog with roommates or a significant other?
Before committing, consider the long term. Who will pay for the dog? If you move away (and/or break up), who will take the dog? Who will pay puppy support? If an emergency medical situation arises, who will cover the potentially thousands-of-dollars fee?
Nothing says ‘committed relationship’ quite like arguing over whose turn it is to clean up poop from the closet, so consider carefully if adopting with a friend or significant other.
What are your family obligations?
What does your family schedule look like? What role will your children have in caring for the dog? If your children choose not to play with, exercise, or feed the pup, who will take on the responsibility?
Do you plan to move?
Another common reason that people relinquish their pets is because they have to move, and their new landlord does not allow animals.This issue commonly arises with college students. If you plan to move in the short term, consider whether this is the right time to be bringing home a dog.
Is a dog in your budget?
A conservative estimate is that a dog cost’s $700 – $1,000 per year, assuming no medical emergencies arise. This amount is in addition to first year costs, which include the purchase or adoption price for your dog, as well as all the necessary supplies: food bowls, bedding, toys, training, veterinary visits, dog park pass, collar/leash/identification, etc.
If you plan to bring home a large dog, remember that food bills can become expensive very quickly (think 14year old football player going through a continued growth spurt).
Is there any reason you might give up your pup?
Ultimately, if you have thought to yourself, “if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just re-home the dog”, now is likely not the right time for you to bring home a pet. Animals bond very quickly and easily with owners, and certain breeds are more sensitive than others.
For many animals, losing a family can cause lifelong abandonment issues. If you have any doubt whether you are prepared for puppy parenting, the most responsible thing to do is foster a dog or volunteer with a local animal shelter instead.
Introducing Jerry @jerrythecockerspan by Ash Sukhwani
Losing a pet can sometimes leave you with huge feelings of emptiness that nothing seems able to fill. It is the love you felt for that Pet, for all those years, that does not easily fade.
Karun and I had lost two beloved dogs, Beagles, of which Goofy, our eldest passed on 3rd July 2017. Coming home to an empty house became a daunting exercise, so to combat the hollowness we travelled to Thailand for a week, helping me grieve and to think about our next steps.
Fortunately, I have been blessed with a strong and supportive business network and on my return, one such colleague Yooseon Jang, handed me tickets to The Dog Lovers Show – seeking only a promise that I would go.
The following week, on the 6th August, we hopped on the Hills Bus changing three times in order to reach the Hordon Pavilion. The place was buzzing, however our eyes remained alert, searching for our new companion?
Were we ready for another dog?
Whilst thinking about adoption and looking at new puppies, we stumbled upon the Underwater Dogs Stand. It had been the beautiful fluorescent green bottles that had caught our attention, as had the most beautiful Cocker Spaniel. We watched… he had such a calm and inviting persona, and we fell instantly in love.
So, this is where destiny had definite plans for Karun and me, because Gayle (Owner of the Underwater Dogs Haircare Company) provided us with details of Ralphie’s breeder. Without hesitation we made a call that same day, however no contact over the following few days set some early disappointment.
Perhaps it was just not meant to be?
But early on the morning of August 8th we received a call from Royoni Kennels advising there was a puppy ready to go home that following Saturday. Would we be interested?
OMG – the news made me jump off my chair, and I immediately requested a photo of the puppy.
So, when is the right time to get a dog?
For Karun and Ash Sukhwani, it was the 13th of August 2017…and they have never looked back.
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
And, if you’ve not been put off from dog ownership after reading the above, the next step is to determine what type of dog is best for you.
Up next – Chapter Two: What type of dog is right for you?
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