It could be the way they look at you when you leave the house. Pleading eyes that say “take me with you”. One thing is for sure, people are choosing to take their dogs with them wherever they go. From pet-friendly holidays to bring your dog to work days, our canine companions are becoming an ever-present part of our daily lives.
A whole industry has grown up around our increasing desire to include our pets as part of the family. Dogs are becoming so welcome, that some hotels offer canine menus to cater to the ever-increasing demand. There are even companies that have resident dogs, or allow you to have your own pet by your side while you work.
If we really can’t take them with us, we can have a dog sitter visit our pooch to take them for a walk and offer some company. For those who need to be away for a whole day, there are doggy daycare centres or the grandly named dog ‘hotels,’ in place of kennels with unhomely concrete cages. And to placate our concerns whilst we are out, we can even install a camera and watch our pets through our mobile devices.
We are known as a nation of dog lovers and have a long history of love and respect for these animals. Their unique skills are an asset to the armed forces, customs officers and emergency services. No human can replicate the valuable work they do. Their highly tuned senses and unstinting eagerness to do a good job have been proven to be invaluable. As loyal assistant dogs, their capacity to transform lives is outstanding.
Television and social media have also played a huge part in championing the canine cause. From dog-related reality programmes to appearances on talent shows, these devoted pets are showing us how clever they really are. Inspiring tales of canine-led rescues and dogged determination by pets to stay with injured owners, make our hearts melt. And we now have so much scientific insight into the intelligence of dogs, that we are realising they are much more than the pet who can fetch a ball or give us a paw for a treat.
A dog’s innate pack mentality guides their behaviour and because the family is his pack, being left alone for any length of time has an effect. Anyone who has returned home knows how strong our pet’s connection is to us, by their excited, tail-wagging welcome. We know we have been missed. It’s no wonder we are choosing to take our pet with us wherever we can.
And because we have a dog at our side we interact with so many more people in our daily life. Other dog owners become new acquaintances or even friends as we share amusing tales of our pet’s ‘naughty’ behaviour. There is a camaraderie in being part of the canine club and we generously offer advice to novice puppy owners. Perhaps it is our dogs who purposefully take us out, so that we can meet people and make connections.
Maybe these furry friends have simply opened our hearts to so many new experiences that leaving them behind is no longer an option - because we can see the true value of their presence in our lives.
Could you be a foster canine carer?
If you love dogs but cannot give one a permanent home, have you thought of becoming a foster carer?
Many charities appeal for people to offer a temporary home to dogs who find it difficult to cope living in their welfare centres. By providing a loving environment, foster carers help these animals have a better chance of finding their forever home. Temporary carers also provide a valuable service for dog owners who have to go into hospital or are unable to look after their pet in the short-term for other reasons.
To find out more visit:
RSPCA - www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/foster
Oldies Club - www.oldies.org.uk/get/fostering-dogs
Dogs Trust - www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/fostering/
DogWatch UK (West Midlands only) - www.dogwatchuk.com/fostering/
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home - www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/fostering-dogs