It was Wednesday March 4th, 2021 when I had major lessons and sharp educational learning and awareness curve on dogs, and everything associated with them. I never owned a dog and so never had to have all the doggie info clogging my mind space. All this education happened accidentally.
I was walking along at my usual leisurely pace when I met a regular walker [She is a follower of Brighton in the premiership]who was walking her mutt [Her word not mine] . The dog seemed to have lost a lot of weight ,which I remarked on, and she informed me that they had been at the dog groomer in January and she had trimmed a bit too much off. It was what I might call a real summer haircut. Anyway, poor Billy [The dog] was naturally shivering and needed an overcoat or doggie coat or jacket. Herself and hubby headed off to pet shop to purchase said jacket. She picked out a nice handy one with a zip along the top for easy fitting .
. She then proceeded to the check out and paid out the requested 53 euros and off she trotted back to the car where hubby is patiently waiting for them. His first question, being a man of the world was, ”How much did that yoke cost”? She told him that it cost 20 euros and he was happy enough that she had not spent any more.
One month later he was examining the bank statement and said that there was an error because that jacket thing is down as costing 53 euros. She confessed . Now hubby said how Billy seemed so happy with it and it was worth every cent of the 53 euros . Billy was now so snug when they were out walking in the cold weather.
I had just left my Brighton Hove Albion [The Seagulls]supporter when I bowl into a neighbour of mine. He was out walking his little pet and he seemed even skinnier than Billy. He had also been to a groomer and she had really skinned him . The poor dog was shivering, and they had , yes, you’ve guessed it, to go to the same pet shop to buy a doggie jacket. He went into the pet shop and the girl asked him if he ever walked the dog at night, which they did . So, she suggested a luminous lined jacket. My man was happy enough and proceeded to the counter to be informed that it cost 79 euros. He was in shock at the price but now he was at the head of a queue and there were 5 people behind him, so he did, as any self-respecting person would do, cough up the requested dosh and went home.
The jacket looked real star-wars smart and lights up at night . The only problem is the dog does not like it and is so nervous that he will not perform number one or two while he is wearing said jacket and brings his booty home to the back garden. Poo Poo, bad move.
As we were talking a lady passed by admiring the luminosity doggie jacket and showed off her own canine’s tartan ,fleece lined, zipped up and buttoned up canine overcoat . She got it for a snip price of just 100 euros.
I felt like going back to bed or was I just barking up the wrong trees today. I shall press on. There has to be more to this day than dog jackets.
I kid you not when I tell you whom I meet next on my travels. It was a retired teacher friend who is out walking with her husband. They do not have a dog, but he started telling me about dog caskets that they make for sale.
Well, I ask you, is he joking me or just winding me up? He describes the casket to me along with the range of timbers and linings requested by clients. They use these special caskets when they are going to the pet crematorium to cremate their dearly departed pet.Some people use them when burying their pet in the back garden after their doggie funeral. You can choose your own wood and favourite lining for the pet coffin. These caskets can cost anything from 50 to 100 euros each ,depending on the size of the dog. Woof Woof .
They mentioned a pet crematorium, named “Earth to Heaven” in Enniscorthy .
I was absolutely flabbergasted by all this new-found information. When I got home, I naturally went to the “Earth to Heaven” website for a look see and to assure myself that I
was not being wound up. The facilities there looked amazing. You can go into the personal farewell room and have some final quality time with your dearly departed pet while sipping coffee. There is also the memorial wall for a photograph of your departed pet
I do not own a dog or cat, but this must be true earth to heaven for real dog lovers. Go on, have a peep whether you are a pet lover or not. Pet cremation can cost you 170 euros.
Then there are special pet graveyards where you can put up a doggie head stone and have a proper doggie funeral with proper ceremonies.
All this prompted me to look at the costs of rearing a good puppy in today’s world.
Firstly, you will pay over a four-figure sum of euros to get any kind of decently pedigreed pup.
Then you have to insure them costing between 8 to 23 euros a month on average, quoting figures from Bonkers.ie. The pup will have to be vaccinated by the vet. Annual vaccinations cost from 50 to 100 euros. I do remember a family member had a bulldog which had a kidney and heart problem. He was quoted 2000 euros for MRI pet scan in UCD Veterinary Hospital, but “ODIE” died before they had to make a decision.
People now have their pets micro chipped because of the added worry of good quality dogs being stolen. Last year nearly 250 dogs were stolen in Ireland. There is a legal requirement that you must have a dog license which costs 140 euros for a lifetime license.
You will also need dog box, paw scratcher, pens ,toys, rugs etc. Next you must get a proper dog collar and lead before you strut proudly out with your treasure to walk around the block.
Then of course there is the added responsibility of the pooh patrol house officer . This is a messy chore that no one readily offers to undertake. It involves pooper scooping on a regular basis and disposing of same. Poo Poo
There is another substantial cost of buying canine food, nuts, treats. This can cost 10 euros per week even for one small French bulldog pet that I know well.
And where would we be without the short back and sides and the zero-blade cut by the doggie groomer? .This is another minimum 50 euros a snip on a fairly regular basis every two to three months if you own a shaggy dog.I know a doggy creche near me where people who are working all day drop off the pet to be minded for a fee of 20 euros a day.They also arrange play dates and send out pictures to owners to let them see their pets interactions during the day. Now there is a lovely idea for all primary school teachers.
Owning a pet these days is a costly and onerous task. It is like taking on another mortgage.
I remember when I was in about first class, we were always singing that lovely song
“How much is that doggie in the window
The one with the waggly tail. I do hope that dog is for sale.’
Nowadays it is How much is that doggie in the window , the one with the added-on costs .
I am reminded of that advertisement around Christmas time about pets are not just for Christmas . Any person should weigh up the cost and amount of work involved in rearing a dog before they purchase one or give one as a present.
They are also a huge tie down and add costs to your living when you have to board them in a kennel if you are going away for a few days or when you go on holidays.
I am aware that he pet world sure is big business and it is continuing to grow in popularity.
I also know that pets are great companions for a great number of people and that is one hell of a benefit. Pets are great loyal friends and keep loneliness at bay for thousands of people.
Many dog owners tell me that they would never go for their daily jaunt and consequent health benefit were it not for their 4-legged companion . That incentive makes all the trouble and cost of owning a canine worthwhile and so say all of us . Woof, Woof
Mick O Callaghan 05/03/2021