Hump Day: Bringing home a new pet can be a life changing endeavour

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Changes inside a household can be stressful. Seemingly perfect balances can be upset when someone leaves the home or joins it. A new baby, the death of a loved one, a child going off to college . . . things like this change the dynamics of how we live.

On the grand scale of things, the change coming to my household this weekend is not earth shattering. It’s actually quite exciting, although I have to admit that it’s throwing me off my game a bit.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is the weekend that a little dog named Milane comes to live with me. A purebred Coton de Tuléar, she’s being retired from shows and breeding and I’m taking her in for the next dozen-or-so years of her life. Since she’s only four years old, she should have a good 12 years left in her, I think.

Getting a new pet is like getting a new child. You have to care for the animal and feed it. You have to take it to the veterinarian for shots, checkups and – hopefully not too often – emergencies.

New routines also need to be established. With proper food and water, it’s easy to leave cats on their own all day. They have a litter box to use if they need to go to the bathroom. Dogs, well, that’s a bit more of an issue. They pretty much need to be walked and do their business outdoors. They’re more hands-on.

Since I now work from home, I decided that it was the right time to get a dog. I personally didn’t like the idea of leaving a dog alone all day home, so getting a dog while I was working for others was not an option for me. That was a personal choice that I made for my own conscience and the dog’s quality of life. It’s just not something I wanted to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite excited about Milane’s arrival. The breeder is happy that she found a good home. She’s as cute as a button and usually elicits a series of “Oohs!” and “Ahs!” when I show her photos to people. She’s a little white furball with a cute face and – from what I’m told – a great personality.

Since Cotons are also known as a breed that gets along with most people, animals and situations, I’m pretty sure she won’t be too neurotic and will adapt easily to the routine that she will enjoy for the next several years.

But, I have to admit, I’m also really nervous about her arrival. I’ve been looking through pet supply stores for collars, leashes, bowls, crates and all the things required for a new dog. I know what kind of food she eats and have treats already picked out. The trip to the breeder on Saturday is already planned and I’m taking my mother and a couple of aunts with me to greet the new member of the family.

I’ve been e-mailing the breeder back and forth for advice on a variety of issues. I feel just like a new father who hasn’t had a baby before. I haven’t owned a dog since I was a kid in the 1970s, so I’m a bit out of practice. I’m sure it will be just like riding a bicycle, though. We’ll figure out a routine and I’ll make sure she learns a few doggie karate chops to keep the two cats from smothering her with a pillow in her sleep.

Things will be fine. She’s small enough that finding a babysitter from time to time will not be a problem. It’s not as if she’s a big brute who can swallow a small child in one gulp. I just need to be resourceful because owning a dog is much more hands-on than owning a cat. That whole “getting outside for exercise and to use the bathroom” thing will take some getting used to.

But, I’m up for the challenge! I’m actually looking forward to taking Milane on walks around the neighbourhood and heading out to various parks and trails around the area for outings. I think it will be fun. And Lord knows, I could use the exercise. Apparently, Cotons are tough little buggers, so she should enjoy the exercise – and at only four years old, she’ll certainly have the stamina.

One irrational fear I have is that she’ll be dognapped. I know, I know . . . unlikely . . . but I keep hearing of these things happening. Just last week, a dog was stolen from the Greater Moncton SPCA only to be returned later thanks to an onslaught of people looking for her through social media. There are also reports of another dog in Fredericton who was stolen.

Yeah, I can just see myself now. If anyone dares to pet my dog, I’ll need identification, fingerprints and a hefty deposit (cash or credit card swipe). I will be the over-protective dog owner from hell. If I leave her to be babysat (dogsat?) anywhere, I’ll insist on setting up video surveillance.

I pity the poor fool who feeds her table scraps when I’m not looking instead of the $1-million-per-bag premium dog food she’ll be eating. Apparently, she’s also used to eating olive oil and yogurt. (Spoiled much?) Oh, who am I kidding? She’ll keep getting yogurt and olive oil when she comes to live with me. I’ll probably sprinkle it with gold dust while I’m at it and have it blessed by the pope.

When all is said and done, Milane should be in good hands. As long as I teach her those doggie karate chop moves against the cats, she should at least survive the weekend.

3 Responses to Hump Day: Bringing home a new pet can be a life changing endeavour

  1. You’re going to be a great dad!
    And it will change your life. Since you work from home (as I do) the breaks for walking the dog, playing, feeding etc. will be good for you.
    And while bouncing a ball with her, you can bounce off some blog ideas. She’ll listen attentively and as long as you give her attention, will be very supportive.
    You might want to consider her own Facebook page so as not to flood all of your friends with photos of the new baby :)

  2. Thanks, Ray! Oh, it will be a real effort not to inundate Facebook with pics of Milane. :) I’ll try not to get too crazy about it. Yes, getting out of the house for some walks with the dog will do me a world of good!

  3. Hello! Brian,

    As you know, I’m a bit jealous since I’m the one who introduced you to the Coton de Tuléar breed several years ago…and you’re getting one before me!

    I’ve personally owned four dogs over the years and, as the present owner of two (miniature poodle and terrier mix), I can tell you that your dog love is contagious. When my companions go to Dog Heaven – God forbide (pun intended!) – I will surely have another one, not only to fill the void but because I cannot picture not having such warm, fun, loving and faithful companionship (who needs a man?!)

    If you need any advice, just bark! Jeannette