The Joys and Struggles of Having a Dog

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As the old saying goes ‘Dogs are man’s best friend’. Having a dog is both joyful and stressful from the feeding, the medication, the discipline and everything that comes along the way.

I’ve been a dog owner for almost five years and in the five years that I’ve had my dog Hendrix with me it’s been a roller-coaster ride. I got Hendrix from my uncle as a gift back in 2011. He let me choose among the puppies around the house but before I took him home, I had my sights set first to his brother Hammer but I didn’t have bond so I took Hendrix.

At first, his name was Hotdog until my father asked me it to change it. So I did change my dog’s name. It was hard thinking of a new name for my dog so that he truly belongs with me. On the day that I was thinking of renaming my dog, I wanted to change his name from Hotdog to Harry but the name is too common. I thought of renaming him Harrison but I couldn’t because it was too long for a dog’s name until I settled with the name Hendrix. I do not remember how my dad approved to the name Hendrix but I was more than happy to know that he liked his new name.

During his adjustment period from Hotdog to Hendrix, it took us weeks for him to adapt his new name. On the day that he finally adapted his new name, when I called him Hendrix I was really happy that he finally adapted.

As a puppy, he was so small that some people coming to our house mistook him as a toy. He was really playful and very noisy because of his high-pitched bark. When my grandmother was still here Hendrix will always get her attention and would always sleep next to her. Carrying him as a puppy were the best moments between me and Hendrix.

From puppy to adulthood of one dog, the challenge is always discipline towards the dog from the proper place on where he will pee and where he will leave his poop. The struggling part was when Hendrix always pees on the bed in his puppy days. The hardest part was when he learned to climb the stairs to our room then he would leave his mess here in our room. Whenever we walk, the struggling part is when he pees simultaneously. I only learned that they don’t pee the way we do is because they would mark one spot symbolizing that ‘THIS IS MY SPOT’.

When I didn’t have proper knowledge on why is he biting my aunt’s children at will it’s because he is “heating”. When my uncle’s wife, aunt Tonette told me that they bite because they need a mate I was puzzled because knowing our community, the houses in my area rarely has dachshunds for a pet dog. It’s been always hard to find a mate in a neighborhood where most houses has big breeds from Labradors, Mongrels, Askals, Rottweiler, bulldogs, and Pit bull. Then for the small breed of dogs the common breeds are Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Terriers, Chihuahuas and Maltese. Having a mix breed depends upon the owner of the other dog if they would like to have a mix breed. Because sometimes two good-looking dogs may look fine but when the female gives birth and they owner or breeder may not find it pleasing, it is a struggle for both parties and selling them would take time and even the paper work to certify their breed.

When it comes to discipline, I only wish I could have really gave that effort to discipline Hendrix so that I wouldn’t be ashamed of his reputation as biter. Hendrix is my first dog and if I were to have another dog I would make up for it. I am not ashamed of having him as my dog but the nosy neighbors sometimes makes me feel bad for having him as my dog but I don’t let that get a hold of me because like a delinquent or problem child he is my responsibility and as his owner I would swallow that like a bitter pill. Because I can’t stand the one neighbor here who always stares me down like I did something wrong with him like pulling a prank on him. Keeps on telling that my dog bites well of course he bites as if I my folks don’t tell me what happens and sometimes I really think of pulling a prank on him but I am not playing his game.

Every dog should be treated like family and like what I always see on TV with Cesar Millan on the National Geographic Channel, I always apply what he does on TV from walking the dog the right way and disciplinary methods. In the times that I watched and apply his methods, it wasn’t overnight but I do envy him that every dog yields before him when he goes to someone’s house to check the dog and take the dogs to his center.

I always hated people who just wanted to have a dog then treat them just as guard dogs leaving them in a cage if they live a big home or have them tied on their leash then bark and bite at will to anyone who comes at their home. If you can’t pick up your dog’s poo on your, you can’t have them at all if you ask me.

Walking the dog is also a chick magnet if you ask me. Why? Because if you have a cute looking dog, girls may not be after the handler but your dog sure is gaining fans. More important is that walking your dog is also introducing you to different people, dog owners and non owners alike.

When I was still struggling to find him a mate and suppressing his doggy libido I would always have long walks with Hendrix from our home to the sidewalks of UST just for that. In those times that I walked with him around UST, I’m more than happy to know that we get noticed since I’m one of the few roaming around and that the female students are sometimes eager and afraid of him. The times that he ‘growled’ at the growling tigers well the students, he only expressed stress from the long walks and also he has been always possessive of his handlers that when I present him to the ones who want to touch him he would really growl.

The hardest part of course is bringing your dog to the veterinarian for something serious. The last time I brought Hendrix to the vet for something serious was when he kept throwing up and when the blood test results came in, he had this contamination and I was scared to death of losing him that early. It’s hard to see them like that and since then I’ve been very conscious especially when it comes to his health and diet. In his health and diet, I always limit him to dog food and rarely feed him table food because whenever I give table food Hendrix’s skin would go bad and he would have this shedding.

With my dog’s birthday on February, I still can’t believe that he would be five years old then on April he would be five years living with us. If my dog was human, he would be thirty five years old.

With a dog having only lifespan of 10 to 12 years, sometimes I would wish that they would always be with us. It’s truly a blessing if a dog would live to fifteen years old. So for all dog owners, keep our dogs safe and their bowls filled with food and water always. Most important is that, dogs are friends not food.