Dog Days Ahead

     Alex is an advocate for home safety training and co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. Alex holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from American University’s Kogod School of Business. He welcomes your questions and the opportunity to speak to your school or organization. He can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

    Alex is an advocate for home safety training and co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. Alex holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from American University’s Kogod School of Business. He welcomes your questions and the opportunity to speak to your school or organization. He can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

I never had a dog as a kid, but that hasn’t stopped me from borrowing everyone else’s dog for a quick stay, weekend visit or longer. When friends go on vacation and ask me to babysit their dog for a week, it’s so much fun. Lately, though, my friends have been taking their dogs with them as more hotels accommodate owners with a four-legged friend. Maybe someone should provide a service called “rent-a-pet;” different from an animal shelter which often asks you to foster the pet for an unknown amount of time until a permanent owner is found.

Once it’s feasible for me to own my own dog, the plan is to go big (and I don’t mean a big dog). My ideas include having a dog house in my backyard, a dog sofa in my living area, a huge assortment of interactive toys and definitely a great squeeze toy­­­–the kind that squeaks real loud.

Who knew how much “stuff” is out there for those who own a dog? If you go on-line, it is overwhelming how many companies sell products for dogs, especially dog food, which is a billion dollar industry. Not surprisingly, people remain very attached to their dogs. Just look at all those little breeds being carried in a woman’s purse or a neighbor pushing a pouch in a doggy carriage.  

A friend of mine just adopted a really cute Westie puppy and through her pictures and stories on Facebook, I was amazed to learn how much time and money can be spent on raising a good doggie! Her puppy went to obedience training; apparently he was a real biter and didn’t play nice in the sandbox. He gets rewarded with treats at the doggy bakery shop and he has all the latest in dog toys and outdoor living gear too. When he was six months old, she posted his first haircut from a doggie salon. While at work, she hired a dog sitter who comes to the house to walk him until he can learn not to have accidents on the floor. I don’t think doggie day care facilities admit puppies until they’re potty trained.

From a male perspective, I’m not sure if I would invest in outside help with training my dog. I know I don’t want a breed that needs a haircut. Maybe just a small dachshund will do. Having an overwhelming desire to own a dachshund began when I was a child. How could I not want one after going to my grandmother’s house to visit her ten small dogs! Yes, my grandmother was a nurse and after she retired, she volunteered at the local animal shelter and would adopt the older dogs that no one else wanted. When she passed away, everyone from the family got to adopt one or more of them.

It’s not possible for me to own a dog just yet so I, too, volunteer­­– especially when local pet shops have their adoption days. A rescue dog is in my sights. In the interim, my house is filled with grandma’s dog sculptures. It’s a great way for me to remember how important it is to love and respect your dogs.