You know how it goes. You’re breezing along together, and always looking for a word that’s bigger than boyfriend or girlfriend and yet not as formal as ‘partner'. Before you know it, things develop to the point where you’re co-signing a lease or mortgage, and looking at a joint bank account.
And then it suddenly hits you...only the pitter-patter of tiny feet will make your relationship complete!
So which is it to be – do you get a dog or have a baby?
Before you let your mummy and daddy friends browbeat you into passing on your DNA or adopting a Mini-Me, consider the following pro-dog arguments.
Unlike babies, you can quickly teach your dog to poop and pee in an orderly fashion. Once they know the right spot/s you just need a consistent routine. Incidentally, a baby will cost around £7,000 in its first year. Unless you’re Paris Hilton, your four-legged companion will cost considerably less.
2. Dogs can fetch things from a young age, even children! Keys, sticks, balls, newspapers and shoes – it’s like having an extra pair of retractable hands. It doesn’t work so well with food though!
3. It only takes a few seconds to get a dog ready to go out. Say it with me – no buggy, no shoes, no formula, no toys, no blanket, no wipes and no hassle. Dogs do require stimulus, affection, companionship, regular exercise and a balanced diet. All of which adds up to a bargain!
4. Dogs never complain about the food, be it leftovers, stale bread or tinned food. But best to follow a veterinary approved diet that’s right for the breed.
5. Dogs will protect your possessions rather than steal them (Labradors may be a notable exception). There may be some collateral damage in the early days, but after a little training they stay vigilant and you can go back to the TV. Remember that pet insurance plans may include an excess.
6. Dogs will never invite friends over while you’re out. Why? Because they can’t work the front door, that’s why!
7. True, dogs need vaccinations and you’d do well to think about enrolling them in obedience classes. However, that’s a pittance compared with the costs associated with 11 years of schooling plus college and university.
8. No dog, in the history of the world, has ever asked to borrow your car. Okay, maybe Lassie. Worst-case scenario is that your pooch has a ‘little accident’ on the journey. Whereas letting a teenager use your car could be a disaster of colossal proportions.
9. You’ll never fight over the remote control. (The odd shoe, perhaps!)
10. It is virtually impossible for a dog to disappoint you. And even if they do inadvertently let you down, one look at those dewy eyes tells you that it was all a simple misunderstanding and can we please go to the park now?
On a serious note, the decision to become a dog owner should not be taken lightly. It’s a commitment for the lifetime of a dog, taking responsibility for its physical and emotional wellbeing. But you will be paid back a hundredfold in love, companionship and zest for living!