“They say that the chow chow has only one master, but this is not true with our dog Rory. She loves every member of the household, including our kasambahays.”
The year 2021 has been distressing to most due to lockdowns imposed between April and early October, the ongoing ruckus between political parties and contenders for the 2022 national elections, allegations of corruption regarding government purchases of personal protective equipment, and the devastation caused by typhoon Odette.
The lack of tête-à-tête with relatives, friends, officemates, and colleagues have drawn people to explore different activities. Some have tried backyard farming, fishing, and outdoor activities, set up online businesses and applied for online jobs, attended webinars, and like us, tried their hand at having a pet.
For the longest time, my children have wanted to have a pet dog. I dissuaded them since I believed that taking care of a dog is like having another child. It may also prove to be too costly, not to mention that I was struggling with the fact that there are those who could hardly make both ends meet, while a dog gets its special treatment from us.
I cannot understand why some people can own ten or more dogs, have them inside their houses or bedrooms, let them sit with them during family dinners, and spend inordinate amounts of money on medicine, vitamins, toys, and dog food.
It took a pandemic and 10 years for my children to convince me to have a pet dog. They kept on telling me how nice and quaint it was to have a pet. They gave me a rundown of the options for large, medium, or small breeds of dogs, and how to take care of them. They also identified the places where we can buy dogs from.
They then took me and my wife to see for ourselves how actual puppies look like. We obliged, and we saw how excited they were to have a dog. Still, I was not entirely convinced, but I was now open to the idea of having one.
I sincerely thought that that visit would quell their want for it, but they persisted in their campaign. We returned to the dog store, where they whittled down their preferred dog breeds to a cute and cuddly chow chow. However, we told them that having a pet takes a lot of responsibility; it is not a toy one can easily tuck away when they are no longer interested.
I also reminded them that there is a law that requires pet owners to provide decent accommodation, feeding, general care, and prevention and treatment of disease to their pet animals (Section 1, Republic Act 10631). I underscored that abandoning and neglecting pets are now punishable under the same law (Republic Act 10631).
I told them to research on the temperament, health issues, socialization skills and specific needs of the chow chow. They learned that it is not recommended for first-time dog owners and that they should be ready to put long hours into training this kind of dog, since it has been known to be stubborn and aggressive. I asked them to reconsider their decision but they were determined to take on a chow chow.
The first two weeks were a challenge since only two days in, we noticed that she had a bad cough. My eldest son immediately decided to bring the dog to the vet for a check-up. This was when we learned that our dog had distemper.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, distemper is a “contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs. It is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage.”
While I wanted to know whether the breeder was remiss in his duty to provide maximum care and comfort to the dogs he bred, I was more concerned with the well-being of the dog for the time being. However, I reserve my right to raise the matter to the Bureau of Animal Industry.
We had to ask the vet whether the dog would survive. She said yes, but that our dog would have to undergo prolonged medication for a month. We were given the option by the breeder to return the dog and have it replaced by a healthier puppy. However, we decided to nurse the puppy back to health.
I knew that our children would fight to save the dog’s life, as she had already developed a bond with us. They assigned among themselves the role each would have to play: the eldest would administer all the medicines in the mornings and evenings, the second, my daughter, would monitor the dog’s progress during the days, and the twins would become the evening caregivers on an alternate basis.
However, like any group work, frustration, stress, fatigue, and low morale would set in. We noticed this when they started to have petty fights and measured their task vís-a-vís their other siblings. We knew that would be the time to talk to them, this after ten days of attending to the sick dog.
True enough, they had gripes; not to mention that the dog had started to play bite, causing us to worry about its aggression. There were even times where some of them would run up the stairs to avoid being bitten. Consequently, we had to ask our children if they wanted to keep the dog or to give it up for adoption to a friend.
At this time, there was the need to vote on the fate of the dog. My eldest son and my daughter, without a doubt, wanted to keep the dog. The latter even cried at the idea of losing the dog. As for the twins, one was willing to keep it but demanded similar care and commitment from the rest. The other twin was indifferent, just following the decision of the majority.
I understood his reaction because he was the one who attended to the puppy during the wee hours of the morning to check on the dog; whether it was hungry, thirsty, or needed to pee or poop. This would surely take a toll on anyone.
Before the family meeting ended, I told them that frustration and fatigue may bear down on them considerably, but keeping the faith may lead you to the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure enough, the dog started getting better after a few days.
The dog became healthier, happier, and non-aggressive. The aggressive nature of our chow chow was watered down because of the love, affection and warmth she felt in the household. They say that the chow chow has only one master, but this is not true with our dog Rory. She loves every member of the household, including our kasambahays.
Having Rory made me understand why dog owners treat their pets with love and kindness. They give priceless happiness, unconditional love, stress relief, and support to owners who have physical disabilities.