Like many Western countries, Spain is awash with stray and abandoned dogs languishing in the care of charitable organisations dedicated to their care and long lives.
These dogs are, for the most part, lacking only the opportunity to demonstrate the love and loyalty they have in abundance for an owner.
Are you looking for a dog? Do you have what it takes to train a puppy not to use your home as a toilet and not to use your shoes and clothes as teething aids? Are you prepared for nights disturbed by the need of a puppy to be reassured that it is not alone? Are you prepared for the real effort that is required to make your dog want to obey you?
If the answer to any of these simple questions is ‘No’, puppy ownership is not for you.
You need an older dog!
With an older dog, especially one that is living in a shelter, you see what you are getting. The workers in the shelter will have a relationship with the dog and be able to tell you of any personality quirks that might make the dog a bad match for you.
Older dogs tend to be house trained and, even if they have the odd accident, are easily reinforced in their training.
Older dogs are exactly what you see. They may not be cute puppies but they are developed and will not change their appearance radically over the first few months – if you like the look of the dog today, you will probably still like its looks in five years time.
Despite common perceptions, older dogs learn very quickly and will soon fit into your family routine and are often happy to be ignored between bouts of playing.
Best of all, older dogs are fun right from the start. They are accommodating and will play when you want to and relax when you want them to.
To put it into human terms, an older dog gives every indication of being grateful.
Save a bitch!
If you insist upon having a puppy, make sure that you don’t feed the greed of a pet shop owner and puppy farm owner. See the parents of the puppy you want to buy and make sure that they really are the parents. Find out just how many litters a year each bitch is expected to produce – many puppy farm bitches are not only always pregnant, they are massively traumatized by the premature removal of their puppies. Puppy farms are supported by the stupidity of people with too much money pretending that they know something about dogs and their pedigrees.
Save a puppy!
Go to someone who has a puppy and spend a few hours with it. Discover if you really can tolerate the constant nipping, chewing and waste evacuation in ‘unfortunate’ places. Discover if you really do want a puppy and have the stamina and patience to cope with it.
A dog is a delight. Many that are abandoned were simply bought when they were too young. Don’t add to the burden of the caring few.