A Shropshire lass who went away and a New Yorker who came to stay

The puppy diaries

Log ♯1 – Beware The Puppy Pound

After 12 months of cajoling, nagging, begging, tears and tantrums (from us not the children), we’ve conceded defeat: we are getting a puppy. Although she will be the fourth family dog we have owned, this puppy will be a first for many reasons. She will be the first dog we have owned since returning to England; she will be the first dog given specifically to Middle Child: she will be the first Spaniel we have owned and she will be the first dog we will be looking after completely on our own. No more driving out of the driveway without so much as a backward glance. And what a build-up! It feels like we are having another baby though this time the girls are much more excited.

The anomaly in all this is that Middle Child is actually scared of dogs. She’s never been bitten and as far as we know, has had no frightening or negative experiences. Her distress is so extreme that she won’t go to friends’ houses if she knows they have dogs – this pretty much rules out all our new friends in the UK so has been a bit of a social setback. However, at the tender age of 10years old, she has decided to tackle the issue head on: she feels that by bonding with and caring for her own dog from the very beginning, she will slowly conquer the gremlins in her head and get on top of this neurosis. After many hours of debate and much hand-wringing, we have decided to support her and this weekend, we will be picking up an 8-week old chocolate-coloured, working spaniel.

With 24% of British Households owning dogs, there is no shortage of information on how to care for a puppy. I’ve gleaned information from websites, flicked through books and continuously grilled my poor friends for tips and advice. Our puppy’s current owner, Mama P, has been a Manager at a local veterinary practice for the past 10 years, she has proved to be a wealth of information and has already been a wonderful support. And my good friend Sprinkles, has been so generous with her time, advice and useful puppy gifts.

However, there is one thing no one has talked about without prompting: the cost. We’ve had hours of chat about cute factor, walks, cages, bedding, food, piddling, poop bags, training, toys etc. but barely any talk about both the real and hidden fees. It’s almost been impolite to mention the money, as if we are committing some terrible faux pas. Yet, according to the veterinary charity, People’s Dispensary of Sick Animals, the lifetime cost of owning a dog can be anything between £16,000 and £31,000. Another website estimates that the total start-up cost of ‘Equipment’ for a new puppy is £200. This second figure is so far off the mark that I felt it only my duty to detail the true expenditure you will be confronted with long before the little bundle of joy, pee and slobber has arrived. So here is a table of our costs to date:

Item Estimated Cost Actual Cost
Puppy (incl. 8 week injections & micro-chip) £600 £600
Insurance – 12 months £250.41 £250.41
Pet Health Club – 12 months £156 £156
Crate £35 Free – gifted
Pillow for Crate £15 £15
Dog Bed £39.99 Free – gifted
Bowls £19.99 £19.99
Lead & Collar £9.98 £9.98
Toys – one from each child £13.99 £13.99
Snuggle Puppie Comforter £39.99 £39.99
Brush £3.00 £3.00
Food – 2kg packet £9.69 tbc
Puppy chews £5.39 £5.39
Towels x 2 £20.00 tbc
Poop Bag Carriers x 3 £18 Free – gifted
Poop spade £16.99 tbc
Baby Gate – upstairs is no go £15.99 £15.99
Labour to fit Gate £20 £20
Outdoor Kennel £200 – £250 tbc
Fencing round garden & gate £100-150 tbc
Labour to fix fencing £100 tbc

With costs escalating, we have begged and borrowed wherever we can but we have been shocked by the amount. So my advice is: Caveat Emptor. Please don’t go into this without thoroughly researching and being aware of all the costs involved.

Now that dirty business has been dealt with, literally pooper scoopered away, subsequent Puppy Diaries will chronicle our daily life with this much anticipated, latest member of our noisy, stinky, chaotic but ultimately, loving family.

Next week….introducing our Puppy & how we chose her.




Categories: Life


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