Betanda shares her love of dogs and new puppy Inka
I have always had a dog in my life. When I was growing up, we used to have a big hairy dog called Rover, a German Shepherd cross. Back then dogs roamed the streets by themselves. Even though we took him for walks, in the morning my mum would let him out of the front door and off he would go roaming the neighbourhood. So much has changed since then; we have become more considerate to their needs. The laws are constantly changing to ensure our beloved pooches can live a full and healthy life. Since my first childhood dog, I have been blessed with six dogs of my own and several foster dogs, who have graced our lives for a short period until they found their forever home.
Late last year we lost our beautiful dog, Oscar, to a gastro carcinoma tumour. We were heartbroken and the gap in our life was vast. We had just started to heal over the death of Freddie, Oscar’s adopted brother, who we found abandoned at a McDonald’s and who had unexpectedly died a couple of years earlier. Our daughters’ dog, Fudge, still lives with us and is the last of the trio. Fudge has been a blessing, though his start in life was very tough. He was bred to be the perfect pet (to meet the needs of humans) but fell short due to overbreeding. He was destined to be drowned as a young puppy, but thankfully he was rescued and came to live with us.
Oscar Freddie Fudge
The space our pets take up in our hearts, home, and everyday life is so humongous it is sometimes hard to ever imagine living without them. So, when Oscar passed, we felt that huge gap every minute, a gap no other dog could fill, but that did not mean we should not get another dog. We were always going to get another dog; we talked about it when Oscar was still with us. But when he was diagnosed, we decided it would not be fair on him to introduce a new dog. So, after he passed, we deliberated, soul searching and listened to common sense about whether we should get a lockdown puppy. My soul won.
These are strange times, which need strange actions. After we made our decision, we first tried the rescue centres for either adoption or fostering, but due to the increase in people wanting to own a pet during lockdown, they did not have any dogs available. So, we started to look for a private sale. With puppy farms, overbreeding, and stolen dogs, it was a hard task. One that needed lots of research and a little bit of faith. When we finally found a puppy that we thought would fit into our lives, it was still tainted with the thought of whether we were doing the right thing. Should we wait until after lockdown? Perhaps we should have, but I am glad we did not.
|Inka-Rose 6 weeks old, picture sent from her breeder.|
In late February, we became the proud owners of a beautiful little girl. She is a cross breed, who is clever and confident. We have had puppies before, but I guess it is like having a toddler in the house–you forget how much time and patience you need. For the first week, I followed a survival guide, which essentially meant I had to stay with her all the time. She slept in my room next to my bed. We had cuddles, and she had her mid-morning sleeps on my lap. As well as helping Inka to bond with me, it helped me to bond with her and to get to know her, get to know her signs when she wanted to sleep or go to the toilet. I would be lying if I said it was hard work. It was so soul filling. It feels good to have a dog in my life again.
In the first few weeks Inka learnt her name, came when called, to sit and wait for me to go through the door first. She learnt where I wanted her to go to the toilet and only goes in the house very rarely to remind me she is not perfect, and not to expect too much from her. We have spent hours watching her playing, exploring, and teaching her new commands. Having a puppy from a private owner means I have knowledge of what her life was like before she came to us, and the different things she would have experienced. Though this is novel for us, it would not deter me from having a dog from a rescues centre again. In fact, when Inka is a little bit older, we will be looking for a sister or brother for her.
Inka-Rose 8 weeks old – just before falling asleep.
looking after my glasses
With the pandemic slowing and hopefully coming to an end, people are returning to work and the rescue centres are starting to fill with unwanted pets, due to not having the time or having unrealistic expectations of what they expect from their pets. I do not know every circumstance and I do not judge. I do however feel deeply for the once loved and adored animals who thought they were loved only to find themselves in a rescue centre waiting for their owners to return. Just like people, all pets have their quirks or problems, and it is our duty as a pet owner to help them either overcome or manage these behaviours or needs. As a dog owner and a parent, I have made many mistakes with bringing up our children and pets, a lot of what we learn however is through trial and error and not giving up. It is our obligation, job, or whatever else you want to call it, to help our pets through those difficult times. After all, most of the time it is us as pet owners that have nurtured the unwanted behaviour.
Taking Inka out to experience the world was an exciting and scary experience. I love seeing Inka’s reaction to these new experiences, the way she quietly takes in what she is seeing, hearing, tasting, or touching then madly interacts with it or walks away. With so many dogs being stolen to feed the lockdown demand, we have taken necessary precautions. We always go out in pairs and we are guarded by the information we share about her. I even carry an alarm. However, we are determined the thefts of so many beloved pups will not spoil Inka’s chances to explore the world and hopefully become a good member of the public. We will not let these fears spoil the opportunities available for our little pup.
In Inka’s 16 weeks she has had many first experiences and we feel blessed to share them with her. We look forward to growing and learning with Inka through the good and bad times because Inka is not just a pet and accessory to our lives. She is part of our family, just like all the pets before her and all those who are to come into our lives.
Exploring different textures
traveling in the camper ( she normal travels in a crate)
Walking in the countryside seeing, cows, sheep, and horses
On the beach (I think she will be a water baby)
Riding in a liftMeeting a guest dog at puppy socializing