Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How it all started- Plan to get the puppy home!

This is the post-cursory article to my introductory post on Dog lovers. This post describes how we thought of and planned on Dog adoption, how we convinced our father, and some tips on what you can do to convince your loved one to let you bring the puppy home.


You need to be a serious kind of crazy to even contemplate adopting dogs; or conceiving or adopting children too, for that matter.
I reckon that almost half the world’s population is unplanned, and the same goes for the spur of the moment desire to adopt a pet; especially a Dog. Why do people get a Dog?
  • They want to gift it to their Dog loving spouse.
  • They want someone as company.
  • They want to see how it goes with an animal before thinking of conceiving a human being. (Guilty!)

While there could be many other reasons, the most important one being that they absolutely love the furry (or not so furry) creatures, there are not many who think things through. Neither while partaking in their amorous activities without protection, and nor while deciding to get home a Dog.
Not us. We are planners. We plan. We have plan A, plan B, plan C, and a few other contingency plans! We needed it to convince dad to allow us to adopt a Dog!

The Master Plan

Dad likes Dogs. He does. But he was right in saying that we weren’t ready for such a commitment. He was working, so was I, and so was my brother Anant. There wasn’t a woman in the house; for now at least. While Anant was engaged to his sweetheart Jyoti, there weren’t marriage bells in sight in the near future.

Dad and Jyoti

I did get married in Feb, and to the love of my life, but all this was not the case when the master plan germinated in our minds. The masterminds were Anant, Jyoti and I. The plan was to convince Dad to allow us to adopt a pet. The terrific trio, against all odds, was hell bent on convincing Dad. The old man had a valid point, and we weren’t thinking straight. We usually don’t.

Anant and I

It took about a month of coaxing, threatening, emotional blackmailing and near-begging to convince dad for a sit-down about the issue at hand. We needed a Dog, period. We loved them, for chrissakes! He was stuck on his valid point that Dogs are not playthings, and that they have to nurtured, they need attention, and care. He also raised a super valid point; who was gonna clean all the poo that was going to come out of it? We were seeing stars, and all his valid arguments fell on deaf ears. We got him a few beers, massaged his feet, and well, to put it plainly, set him up!

We asked him to retire, as it was now time! He would have the company of a pet, we said. It would help him keep fit as he could take the Dog for a walk, we said. We’d do all his poo cleaning, and if he didn’t feel up to it, we’d take him for walks, and to vets.

We weren’t financially ready for his retirement, or mentally. We just wanted the Dog so much! While Dad retired in a month or so is another story, but the fact that he was adamant not to bend to our wishes was unsettling for us then. We nonchalantly derided all his concerns, while he smiled wryly, knowing full well we were tightening the noose and creating a fool proof ( call it fool’s paradise) case for adopting a Dog.

Jyoti and I

Jyoti was between jobs then, and she volunteered to nurse the puppy till needed. This meant another 3 months of unemployment; something that didn’t go down too well with Dad again. But our constant badgering- a criminal would have confessed to crimes he had never committed, such were our tactics- and relentless pursuit for the Dog finally yielded results! Dad eked out a weak okay; let’s see, before scowling and requesting for the last time to let him sleep. We were elated! The Master plan had worked!

Dog Adoption convincing tips

So, you’ve set your heart on the cuteness monster that is a Labrador. You want it with all your heart, might, energy and life. Nothing, no one, not even God can stop you! Well, no one, except:
  •               You dog fearing wife
  •        Your house owning father/ You already heckled mother

Let’s face it. Like there are Dog lovers, there are Dog haters, or people afraid of Dogs. While you may feel it a silly fear, there are some (like yours truly) who are afraid of flying cockroaches in a closed environment. That is sillier. Sillier but true. We fear what we fear.

She fears Dogs. What do I do?

There are two things you can do:

Find out the root cause of the fear

Was it due to the Dog bite when she was 7 years old? You can tell her how home grown dogs, especially Labrador Retrievers are friendly and docile. I personally know three people who were shit scared of Dogs- one being my best mate’s son- who now love Coco (Our pet Lab) so much that they find excuses to visit. Take them around to see a few dogs; seeing the playful, harmless puppies may be just the shot in the arm needed to turn a skeptic into a lover.

Present all the good stuff

You might also want to show her the advantages, and disadvantages of keeping a pet mentioned below. Also, look out for a milder breed of Dogs. Some people are intimidated with the size, so don’t go looking for a Great Dane (although Great Dane’s are very timid Dogs).
You might-at your own risk- want to try out this line too. Of course, this may work only if you don’t have any kids. You can suggest nurturing a Dog before conceiving a kid, not because Dogs are Guinea Pigs or you doubt her motherly skills, but because it is good practice, and relatively lesser work which will help you prepare for parenthood. Believe me when I say this, it does prepare you for it. It’s tough love.

Note to Dog Lover- You may love just one kind of a Dog, but please remember to compromise a little when it comes to breed, for the comfort of your family. I can tell you that having any dog in the house is equally gratifying and infuriating.

My Parents disapprove! What now?

If you live with your parents, and they are wary about having a pet because of their hair, short life expectancy, responsibility, they have a right to be so.

Dogs lose a lot of hair, and it gets all over the place. The problem worsens if you are the third degree dog lover who allows the dog everywhere. There is hair on sofas, bed sheets and the floor. It is sometimes too much for the not so dog loving people you share your life and apartment with.

Here are a few suggestions I can give you:

Root Cause Analysis

Like in life, communication is the key to this problem too. While there are problems, there are enriching and fulfilling pluses of adopting a dog. All their fears, inhibitions and skepticism can be dealt with. You’ve got to believe in this to make it happen.

·         If they have a problem with hair all around, choose a breed which does not shed a lot of hair. I’ll tell you which ones not to go for- Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel and Labrador. Also, regular brushing will minimize their hair loss too. You can also volunteer to clean up the hair using an industrial vacuum cleaner. Besides, we as humans too lose hair all the time, don’t we?! You can use this cute jibe with puppy eyes and pray it works on your wife, or your mum.

·         If they think it’s too much of a bother, walking the dog, cleaning the dog, feeding the dog, tending to the dog, well, it is. They are like kids and require your utmost attention, if not constant. You can convince them that you will get the puppy trained and hence ensure a well-trained, well behaved Dog. There are many dog trainers and you will find one if you set your heart to it. Walking the Dog is a gratifying and healthy experience, one that most people could do with. You could volunteer to clean the dog, as it needs to be done just once a week and believe me you, it’s a great experience!

·         If they feel that dogs are expensive, let me tell you that they are not. You don’t need to depend on just expensive dog food and dogs of the same breed have been known to become vegetarians, non-vegetarians or jains depending on their owners. Yes, they still remain healthy, just like their owners do. As they say, you are as fit as your dog! A fat dog in most cases means a fat owner. We have adopted Coco a year back, and his average expense per month, taking into consideration his food, training, doctor visits, sickness medicines, vaccinations, etc. have been about 4000 INR a month, tops.

The key lies in the desire. If the heart wants one, well, the heart wants one! My requested life partner trait was that she should love dogs. I found just the one. Hope you do too!
Himani, my better half, with Coco, our year old Lab

If you have any other predicaments regarding dog adoption, post it in the comments section and we will collectively come up with novel solutions!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Introduction to Doggie Lovers Central!

Bike enthusiasts fall in many categories. Some Bike lovers like to ogle at the latest mean machines, and talk about their tech specs, and attend expos. Others seek thrill in riding those bad babies to their hilts.

Similarly, Dog lovers and their ilk too differ. Some people proclaim their love of Dogs if and when they meet them. There are also some who keep them as pets; as guards, as play-things. And there a few who adopt one, think of the Dog as a family member, for whom dogs are dearer than children.

We adopted Coco, our Labrador retriever about 10 months back, when he was 50 days old. He left the ‘months old’ moniker by turning a year old on the 22nd of April. His birthday party saw 15 people coming in, Anant (My younger brother) making Pizzas for them all, a cake, doggie treats, a tooth brush as a gift for Coco to chew on, and a lot of fun!

A year has passed by, and I can honestly say that I have graduated from a pet keeping, playmate seeking dog lover to a hard core, ‘Coco is family’ kind. I miss him the most when I am away; something that my wife agrees upon. While she and I can be in touch over the phone or the internet, if we are not at home, Coco is away. At work, I sometimes have the urge to ask Himani (My better half)to start the webcam and show me the critters goofy face!

Through this blog and this post we share our experiences in adopting and raising a Dog we love as dearly as our child, our brother and our friend. I’ll talk about what it takes; the sacrifices, the rewards, and the situations we’ve had to encounter. And let me tell you, while it may seem strange to others- and they are entitled to their opinion- we love our dog as much as we would love our own child (Also, I’m newly married, and give the ‘our own child’ phenomenon a few years).

My brother, the last kind of Dog lover, pointed out that in the UK, people don’t buy dogs; they adopt them. You need to be financially sound, and have to convince the Animal shelters that you would take care of the animal before you could get them. You’d also need to scoop up their poop from the road too.

We’re hoping that people who feel the same way would read, appreciate and share on this page.
A series of posts will cover the topics mentioned below:

  • How it all started. The master plan.
  • Ready, set, Doggie hunt GO!
  • Early jitters, sleepless nights
  • Finding the right doctor
  • To feed, or not to feed. And what to feed!
  • We need a Trainer!
  • Coco is One!