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You’re either a dog person or you’re not – no halfway house nor sitting on the fence about whether you like them or would have one as a pet. If you’re in the “don’t like” camp, you probably see them as loud, dirty, smelly, messy, unruly, destructive, slobbery, hairy, a restriction on your freedom and possibly even downright scary and dangerous. Non dog lovers (I won’t go so far as to call them dog haters – they just don’t like them or “get” them) are usually more forgiving towards cute little puppies. That is until they leave puddles and steaming piles around the house and garden! I suppose if you look at all these negatives then it’s surprising that anyone even lets these nuisance canines into their houses, never mind on sofas and beds (53% of dog owners let their pet sleep on their beds*)!

But with approximately 23% of UK households owning at least one dog, and a UK dog population of around 8 million**, many of us must be willing to put up with their less pleasant attributes, feeling that they are outweighed by the benefits of sharing our homes and our lives with a dog.

We had a succession of pet dogs when I was a child – Copper, Jason, Muffin and Penny (two boxers, a springer spaniel and a golden retriever). I remember Copper being a bit fat and old, but very gentle, Jason farted for England, Muffin would bite your hand off if you went near her when she was eating and Penny shadowed you everywhere. Following a long period where I had to make do with visiting my parents’ and brother’s boxers – Chloe and Basil – we finally found ourselves in 2007 in a domestic and work situation which allowed us to have our very own dog at last! I felt I was immensely well prepared, having come from such good dog-owning stock and without hesitation we decided to choose a boxer – well it was in the family after all!

However, we were soon to learn that having a dog around the house to cuddle and occasionally play horsey on (as a child!) is very different to actually being responsible for all its needs and training! Boxers are notoriously boisterous and require a lot of hard work and time to train as we found out.

It’s easy to see why the campaign “Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas” is necessary. Puppies are simply irresistible and it’s so easy to fall head over heels in love with every single one. We fell  for Daisy from the moment we saw her aged just 4 weeks. She was like a little pot bellied pig with wrinkles of super soft skin everywhere. Her dad, Tom, put his front paws on my shoulders and peed on me – I assume he was giving his seal of approval for us to take one of his babies away. We couldn’t wait until she was old enough to come and live with us.

She came to us in August 2007 and immediately became a huge part of the family.

Apologies to Paul O’Grady and ITV for nicking their phrase but it’s so apt.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I’d love to hear your comments too!

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