What’s not to love about puppies? They are the most loyal and loving companions, not to mention very instagrammable too (you will know if you follow Chom Chom and Mimi on instagram). Puppy love is hard to resist, and perhaps this is why many people end up getting a puppy without wondering if they are even ready. Here are a few pointers you might consider before bringing home a new pup.
- Time and commitment – Puppies need time and attention – and lots of it! Bringing a new puppy into your home is equivalent to having a small child; you take responsibility of a living being whose needs often come before your own. I brought my first puppy Chom Chom during lockdown. He was three months old at the time. Because it was during the pandemic, I had a lot of time and could literally spend 24/7 with him. He needed to be fed three to five times a day; had to be taken outside immediately after eating/drinking to eliminate appropriately; needed to be played with and walked to burn his excess energy and even after all of this, he would wake me up several times at night for various reasons, which initially I couldn’t figure out. Chom Chom would follow me around like a shadow. He would even sit by the enclosure as I showered, but later as I started going to work, Chom Chom would get very depressed even if I was away for just 2-3 hours. That’s when I decided to get a second puppy Mimi to keep each other company and it worked. My office is just five minutes away from home and I often take them to work with me. everyone at Zurhem loves the two.
- Choosing the right breed – Unless you are adopting a stray dog, you must do your dog breed research first. You need to find the suitable breed for your lifestyle and surroundings. Take into account, the size of your living arrangements, your surrounding area, climate and your family structure (if you have small children, you’re living alone etc.). Size of a dog is also an important thing to factor in; bigger dogs often require more exercise. Consider hair coat type as well; because with fur comes shedding. Both Chom Chom and Mimi are Chow Chows. I chose the breed because of course they look regal and adorable; thankfully their temperament matches with my lifestyle. They are mainly indoor dogs; do not require a lot of exercise; they only shed once a year (it’s a nightmare when they do); they cannot jump on furniture and they do not gel well with kids, which works for me because I live alone in the house. Also, please make sure your puppy is at least three months old and weaned. I was cheated and Mimi was given to me at a younger age. She never got her mother’s milk and due to that, her immunity is extremely low.
- Complete change of lifestyle – I wake up sharp at 7AM because that’s when my dogs need to be taken out to eliminate. Never have I ever woken up so early after primary school. For someone with severe OCD about cleanliness and organising things, it’s shocking how my apartment looks the way it does – scratched wooden surfaces, dog fur in places, chew toys lying around on the floor, and sometimes an odour in the house. No matter how much you clean the house, there will be some degree of dog hair and you can use all the air fresheners, diffusers, scented candles in the world, there will always be a smell (which is dog odour). These are only some of the changes I have gotten accustomed to. But the biggest change I’ve had to make is that, I can’t just get up and leave for a fun weekend with friends at the last minute like I used to. I haven’t taken any trips since the lockdown, but when I do, I have to plan ahead who is going to feed, walk, and watch over the two og in my absence.
- Expense – There’s no denying how expensive it is! I don’t know if it’s because I chose an exotic breed like Chows Chows, but the routine is insane. Monthly grooming (each session lasts for about 3-4 hours), frequent check-ups with the vet, supplements and vitamins, flea/tick control, deworming solution, toys, treats… the list goes on and on. I am lucky to be able to afford a full-time dog keeper, a professional dog trainer; access to the best vet in town and I can get all necessary products from abroad that are specific to Chows. None of these products are available in Dhaka. To be honest, I haven’t spent on myself since I got them. But it has still been very costly nevertheless.
In conclusion, living with a dog means knowing you’re going to spend your life with a loving, loyal friend who’s truly worthy of your dedication and care. You give them love and attention and they will give back to you tenfold. My life has changed completely. I never knew I was capable of loving so much. I am always in a great mood as these two really make me smile throughout the day. As for the mess they’ve stirred up in the house, I am not bothered because the pros far outweigh the cons.