Lisa has always been a dog lover, but as her life’s circumstances have changed, so has the type of dog that she’s chosen. Ten years ago, she bought a Boxer puppy, named Lucky, who has grown into a gentle giant of a dog. Lisa now has two children, Alyssa who’s now six years old, and Rhys, who’s only three. Lucky has always been very good with the children, allowing them to pet him, and quietly moving away when he’s had enough of their attention. But he’s too big for small children to take for walks, and Lisa felt that it would be useful to get a dog that they could relate to more closely.
Pets bring many benefits to children, and research has shown that children who grow up with pets around them are more confident and more socially adept. Dogs are more than just companions: they help us learn about aspects of life such as responsibility, and they teach lessons about social skills such as body language. Lisa began to think carefully about what sort of dog would be most suitable. She wanted a dog that would be a successful part of her family for ten or fifteen years.
Lisa knew someone who had taken on a small puppy in the belief that they were getting a small house dog. As time passed, the dog kept growing and growing, and by the time he was a year old, it was obvious that he was a huge cross-bred Doberman. Another of Lisa’s friends gave a home to a lovely young terrier pup, but by the age of six months, he’d turned into a boisterous, energy-packed whirlwind of an animal who chewed furniture and doors in their small apartment. He ended up needing to be rehomed. Lisa was determined not to make these types of mistakes, and she decided to be patient, waiting for as long as necessary to make sure that she found the right dog.
She wanted a small dog who was gentle, and who would be good with children. She knew about the importance of meeting the parents of a puppy: genetics play a major role in the way that adult dogs turn out. Just like humans, most dogs end up being similar to their parents. Of course training and life experiences also play a role, but it’s helpful to start with a dog that has well-behaved, good-natured parents. Lisa also wanted a cross-bred dog, because she knew that pedigree dogs tend to have more health problems. She planned to get the new pup insured, and she knew that pet insurance was cheaper for cross-bred dogs, because they’re less likely to fall ill.
When she heard about Gizmo’s litter, she knew that this what she’d been waiting for. The father was a long haired Chihuahua, and the mother was a Bichon Frise: both breeds were small, lap-type dogs. Lisa visited the dogs with Alyssa, and the parents were relaxed and playful. There were seven pups in the litter: they chose Gizmo because he seemed more playful than his litter-mates.
Alyssa has already bonded with her new pet. She feeds him, makes sure he has water at all times, and puts newspaper down for him at night before she goes to bed. She – and her younger brother – are going to grow up with Gizmo as their playmate and friend, and thanks to Lisa’s careful planning, they’re going to have many happy days together.
- The key to successful dog ownership is choosing a new pet carefully
- It’s worth meeting both parents of puppies if you can
- Pets are good for children – but you need to be sure that they’re the right type of pet