My Purrfect Pets Series focuses on different bloggers and their families – including their furry family of course! We all have different lives and I find it amazing to get a glimpse into other peoples homes and connect with them on all levels so I put them under the grill and ask them some questions. As a pet lover myself, I’m always keen to investigate how other people are doing it. This is a pet-positive series that any families with a pet of any kind can take part in, send me an email if you’re interested in being the next featured purrfect family!
Tell us a little about the animals you have?
We have two German Shepherd Dogs. One is a long-haired male: his name is Sparky and he is almost 10 years old. He’s all my husband’s fault – the man was in love with German Shepherds, I was in love with the man, and frankly – as long as it was a tall and long-haired dog, I was happy!
The other is a short-haired female: her name is Nala and she is 3. And she’s all Sparky’s fault. He made me fall in love with German Shepherds and in the end I was the one begging my husband for a second one!
German Shepherds are quite a big breed, did you do anything to prepare them to meet your family?
We bought both our German Shepherd Dogs from a registered breeder as puppies, so we didn’t have to worry about the dogs coming into our home with possibly undesirable habits.
Regarding the introduction to the family, that was a bit different with each dog as we were at different seasons of our life as a family with both of the dogs.
Sparky was our baby – we bought him before we had kids, when I was 5 months pregnant with our first son. We made that decision because we knew we wanted to bring our children up with a dog around, but I wanted to make sure that the dog was house trained before we welcomed our son into the world.
Nala became part of the family when the kids were 5, 4 and 2. We drove 600 kilometres to pick her up from the breeder and had to prepare the children that puppies may get playful and rough, but are also fragile and need to be taken care of.
Were you ever nervous about having animals around your kids?
As I grew up with animals, I wasn’t nervous about having dogs and children. Quite the opposite – as I said before, we knew we really wanted to bring our children up with dogs around.
Do you think your children benefit from living in a household with pets?
Absolutely! I think having pets teaches the kids a whole lot of responsibility! Our kids feed the dogs and are used to living with these creatures that are part of the family and require being looked after. Sparky and Nala are indoor dogs, so they are around all the time.
How much more hectic does it make your day to have pets to look after as well as the family?
I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t take any extra effort to own a dog. They require feeding, grooming, walking, training, play time. Having said that, I don’t feel it makes my day more ‘hectic’ as such. We have our daily routines as most families do, and the dogs are just part of those routines. We also split the responsibility between all the family members, even our youngest daughter helps out with feeding, brushing, etc.
What would you say is the most challenging thing about having your pets?
Definitely planning trips away and even more so: emergency trips! One thing to consider before getting an animal is whether or not you will have someone who can look after them when you go away on a holiday, or if you have to travel due to an emergency! If not, you must be prepared to pay for a pet hotel or someone to come into your home to feed and walk them daily. This becomes especially more expensive when you have more than one animal. We are currently preparing for our family trip of a lifetime – an almost-four-month-long holiday in a caravan, travelling Australia. Both Sparky and Nala are coming with us, but that means we’ll have to plan ahead and book kennel stays for them if we want to visit any places that are not dog-friendly (for example, in Australia, dogs aren’t allowed in National Parks).
What would you say is the best thing about having your pets?
The bond that I see the children develop with the dogs. Sparky and Nala can sense when one of us is upset and they come for a cuddle to make us feel better. I see my kids be able to sit and cuddle with the dogs, tell them their deepest secrets and worries, and walk away better for it.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about adding a pet to their family?
Consider the time and effort that you are willing to put into your pet before you choose what animal you’d like to own. Different lifestyles fit different types of animals. I love dogs and I would absolutely recommend them as the best family pet, but again: different breeds fit different lifestyles and no matter what size of a dog you choose, putting the time into training and exercising them is absolutely essential! Also, in all my experience from owning both long-haired and short-haired cats and dogs, without a fail: the SHORT-haired animals shed more fur around the house! Bizarre, but true!