Meet Walter. He reminds me very much of myself at the moment – reluctant to get up, not that happy about going for a walk (especially in the unbearable heatwave (giving us a respite at the moment thankfully) that we have been suffering these past few weeks), and happy to sleep pretty much all day when he’s not eating.
No, he’s not ours, he belongs to friends, and as the Small People have been going on and on about having a dog for a long time, when his owners said he needed a home full of constant company for a few days while they went away, I asked if we could have him so they could experience the reality of owning a pet slightly larger than King Max (who is still going strong by the way at the geriatric hamster age of almost 3!)… Plus it was nice to have an excuse just to be at home for a while after a pretty hectic time of travelling.
Surprisingly, the small people embraced both the good and bad sides of owning a dog, taking it in turns to let Walter out in the morning, helping with his breakfast and dinner, and yes, poop patrol (although I insisted they didn’t help with this bit!)…
With temperatures averaging 38 degrees for a few days, our main walking time-frame was in the evening when it was more bearable for all of us, and Walt and I regularly enjoyed watching the two more energetic members of my family chuck themselves down our local sledging hill.
Bavaria is an incredibly dog-friendly place, and whilst it’s not unusual to see dogs in restaurants, supermarkets and at the airport, we discovered there are also places that they aren’t allowed – swimming lakes for example, and a local bierfest where dogs were strictly “verboten”.
Do we miss Walter now he’s gone home? Yes, we do. It was great fun having a dog for a few days, and no part of the experience put us off. It took a good few days to get used to not hearing the click clack click of tiny doggy nails on our stone floor of an evening!
Would we get a dog? Yes, I think we will in a few years once we are finally able to put roots down somewhere.
And the person who surprised me most (and who Walter was very much in love with following him everywhere?) when it came to all matters hund? Mr R, who originally claimed that we wouldn’t ever own one. I overheard many a funny “conversation” between the two (Walter snorts back!), he even enjoyed taking him for walks late at night before turning in, and seemed to positively missed his little hairy friend for the first few days after returning him to his owners.
So, if you are thinking of getting a dog, might I suggest you borrow a friend’s for a few days? It’s the only way you get to experience what it’s really like, and expose kids to the reality of how fantastic it can be, but also how it limiting it can be at times (they weren’t happy about not going swimming that day – I however was thrilled – lakes and I don’t get on!)…
You never know, it might also change the mind of your family’s most ardent opposer (who is still going on about missing him!)…