When my children began begging for a puppy, I was nervous. I work full time and have two kids, so the thought of bringing a puppy into the house, ensuring it would not starve to death or run away were legitimate questions I needed answering. So; I did what any ignorant person would do and turned to Dr. Google. Wow what a blanket of information; I would say there was as much information about dog ownership as there was about having a human baby.
What I had in mind was a dog that was great with kids, low maintenance, was easy to train, didn’t lose hair, and could basically do a load of washing whilst I was at work and the occasional school drop off. Not asking much I know but my kids wanted a dog, I’d warmed significantly to the idea and now I just need to find the best dog.
Me being me I started a process. Trying to take out the emotion I drew up a list asking myself what type of dog DON’T I want rather than what type I do. As a first-time dog owner with young kids I found this a great way to start. I didn’t want a dog that needed a large amount of exercise and play time. Not because I don’t like exercise, more I just didn’t have the time. My own kids were at that age where swimming lessons, followed footy and netball training, school athletics and weekend comps meant time was an enemy. This was only going to get more time intrusive as the years went on, so a line started going through many breeds. The collie was gone and so was the heller. These were the kids first choice however the research told me they needed an exercise and play regime that we couldn’t commit. Labs and retrievers were also high on the kids list, again I put a line through these breeds. It was very hard to exclude these breeds however it would not be fair to the dog. Thinking selfishly, I didn’t want a big dog either or one that was considered somewhat boisterous. Identifying this I was able to cross out other likely options. German Shepherd, Boxers, Bernese, Dalmatian and Setters. The smaller dogs, scotty terriers, Cain terriers, and the foxies were as cute as could be however they weren’t right for us.
As time went on the more I procrastinated and the more despondent the kids were getting. I’m sure they went to their rooms at night with their imaginations running wild about having a puppy sleeping with them and following them everywhere. Most of their friends had a family dog and I could sympathise.
As chance would have it, we went on a quick holiday to an old girlfriend of mine house in the country. She has a lovely property, around 5 acres nestled in the bush a 15-minute drive from the nearest town. Isolated but not forgotten she called her little patch of paradise. Of course, she had dogs, and cats and goats and chickens even a horse. To my kids she had everything they didn’t and everything they loved, lots and lots of animals.
I spoke about my dilemma with my friend and went through the pros and cons the options and the discounts. She knew how to put it all in perspective.
“You want a mid-sized dog. You want a dog that likes exercise but doesn’t need to run a marathon every day. You want a dog that’s great with kids, friendly to other humans and will sit by your feet once witching hour is done and the kids are in bed”.
“Pretty much” I said.
“Have you considered an English Staffy?”
I’d never thought of a Staffy or knew anything much about them. The name Staffy made me feel this was an aggressive breed and a dangerous dog.
As my friend explained the perception was quite the contrary. In fact, in the UK they’re called the “Nanny Dog” due to their love of children, their gentleness and genuine affectionate nature to humans. The only real downside is their nature is not as affectionate to other dogs as they are to humans. The idea of a Staffy stuck and we began looking for a breeder and a pup.
Bella joined our family a few years ago as a delightful puppy and all the information I found on the breed has proven accurate. She is a people loving creature. Loves a good walk and run in the park but doesn’t require hours of intense exercise. She is amazing with the kids and their friends. A lover not a fighter, I feel totally secure around her and at home she’s another member of the family. She’s gentle, docile and will always find you. She loves to sit on my feet or sit with her back to mine when I’m sitting on the deck having my morning cuppa. She truly is a people’s dog and we couldn’t image our lives without her.
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