You want to own a dog? Can you handle the destruction?
If your home is full of carpet and soft fabrics I would strongly advise that you get a goldfish
Did anyone know that it is possible for one tiny pup to chew through a wooden window frame? Literally chew off an entire section
There is an old Portuguese proverb that goes: “A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel.” Here’s another angle: “A house without a cat or a dog is the house of a sane, relaxed person confident in the knowledge that their home doesn’t smell like Dublin Zoo or look like they furnished it from a nearby skip.”
And it doesn’t stop there. This happy scoundrel gets to answer his front door without a three-ring circus of barking, tearing around, apologies and “go to bed” orders. He is living a life blissfully free of un-pick-up-able messes on his rugs and carpets or mystery puddles and regurgitations dotted here and there around his home.
His guests can put coffee cups on the ground without the contents being slurped out by Rex who funnily ignored the “go to bed” order and is now sitting behind you on the couch, tail merrily hitting you in the face. No wonder these scoundrels seem so relaxed.
Why on earth would anyone get a dog?
This was the question I asked myself after we went down that particular road ourselves. I would like to point out here that we didn’t go out and specifically “get a dog”, rather he arrived as a gift. I admit there had been promises and I was waiting for the right time...it was just hard to take the plunge for all of the above reasons, not to mention the expense. And I wasn’t wrong. Getting a dog is not for the faint hearted. You need to really, really want a dog and be prepared to cope with the inevitable havoc that your new canine friend will wreak on your home and pocket.
There is no doubt that even with the best intentions in terms of keeping pup confined to a specific wipeable area of the house, rules get bent. The dog will want to be where you or other people in the house are (in fairness what’s the point otherwise?) so unless you confine yourselves to wipeable areas for say, three years, carpets, rugs, cushions, bean-bags, sofa cushions will eventually become “doggied”.
If your home is full of carpet and soft fabrics I would strongly advise that you get a goldfish if you must have a pet, otherwise you and your dog will end up in therapy.
One set of curtains
In our first two years of dog ownership I had to throw out two rugs, one fitted carpet, one pouffe and one set of curtains (don’t ask). Cushion and couch covers also took a hammering but at least they can be washed (theoretically).
Not all of this was the dog’s fault. As anyone who has experience of cats will know, cat urine is a pretty difficult smell to eradicate. It can be treated with a vinegar solution and as we all know nothing says “Welcome to my Home” like a vinegary chipper scent . It’s either that or welcome to the lion’s enclosure of Dublin Zoo. I recommend scented candles. Lots of candles.
To be honest the smell is the least of the problems in the dog/cat versus house war. It’s the chewing that’s the real killer.
Did anyone know that it is possible for one tiny pup to chew through a wooden window frame? Literally chew off an entire section. There’s no washing that away. Ditto the corners of any low-lying pieces of wooden furniture.
Upon ranting about this to a friend at the side of a GAA pitch, she told me that their (admittedly much larger) dog completely destroyed a brand new couch. They went out for the day and when they came back the couch was no more. Just a pile of cushion foam and fabric.
Which is why it is not enough to really really want a dog, you must be absolutely prepared for the destruction of household furnishings. Literally desecration. Can you take it?
Will you have the calmness of spirit and maturity of temperament to understand that Rex has no idea he just shredded your favourite couch cushions or chewed through a precious photo album accidentally left on the coffee table. He doesn’t know that retainer braces cost €200 a pop (crying emoji).
And unlike a child who drew all over the sittingroom walls, you can’t even explain to Rex why this behaviour is not desirable. He doesn’t know what you are saying. He’ll know you are angry by the tone of your voice but he can’t link home-wrecking with being in the dog house.
The only thing that stops the madness is time. Eventually dogs do calm down and slot into a more peaceful routine. It can take up to three years and even after that there can be relapses but at that stage you will be more accustomed to the inevitabilities of owning a dog.
And by then, of course, Rex is firmly part of the family and his unconditional love and stress-busting qualities just about balance out that chewed retainer. Only just mind. The house of a scoundrel looks like a pretty attractive alternative for my next life.