I have a very high standard of what it means to be a dog owner. You have this creature who utterly depends on you to provide a decent life, and to meet his needs. I knew about that when I was out looking for a dog to adopt, when I was selected by my current four-legged companion. (It was very clearly his choice, not ours.)
We asked a lot of questions to make sure we were compatible and could provide a good home. One thing about our house is that we do not have a yard – we live in a condo, with a small rear patio, largely covered in concrete. We told the dog rescue lady that we should have a relatively inactive dog. I’m pretty sure we used the phrase “couch potato”, because we wanted him to fit in.
She assured us that Bander was indeed a couch potato, and that we were a perfect fit. He needed a home so badly and had already started bonding with us that I’m sure she would have said anything to make it work. I think she also said he pooped Krugerrands, which turned out to be another lie.
Anyway, the things that were true were these:
1. He’s a great dog.
2. He was in desperate need of a home.
3. His house training is perfect.
As it turns out, he regards the patio as a room with no roof, so it’s a little bit too perfect. Here’s another piece of truth – couch potato is a relative term. He does sleep a lot, but he needs the rest because this dog seriously needs to be walked for MILES every day. The schedule looks something like this:
8:30 – dog insists on walk. Husband declines.
8:32 – Husband gives in.
Lather, rinse, repeat; all day.
The schedule includes a long afternoon walk – by “long” I mean a couple of hours. When I come home at night, I walk the dog and give my husband time to inspect his blisters. After dark, we take him together around the block. The final walk of the night is generally around 11pm.
I’ve considered hiring a dog walker, but I can’t imagine what it would cost to have somebody here all damn day. Luxury for us is renting a cabin up in the mountains, that has a large fenced yard, and letting the dog run in and out all day while we lie on the couch and complain. Maybe January or so we’ll do that. Until then, I think I’ll probably solve it by... ...Whoops, gotta go. The dog wants a walk.