Last Tuesday it was Nix’s first birthday. To celebrate it, we gave Nix some grilled chicken (see pictures below) and we got her a new toy, a Kong Squeezz bone, made of the same material as the Kong Squeezz ball, which she really enjoys. Since she’s turned one, I think it’s interesting to reflect on the changes she’s brought into our lives.
I’d say that the biggest change is that she’s forced us to stick to a schedule. On the days that neither of us works from home, we have to organise ourselves to ensure that she gets to her dog sitter on time, so that Manel or I can take the bus to get to work (it’s pretty unthinkable to go to work by car, as parking can be nightmare or very expensive). And we also have to arrive at work on time, as we then have to take the bus back to pick her up in the evening.
In terms of the amount of work that she requires, it’s not that much if, again, you organise yourself appropriately. For example, on the days that I work from home, if I start work early in the morning, after she’s gone out for her first walk, then I can work for 4-5 hours straight, take her out for a walk before (my) lunch, and then work after lunch until it’s time to take her out again. As she is able to stay at home calm and relaxaed for periods of about 6 hours, I have enough time to work 8 hours with only one walk in-between.
However, if I have to go out in the middle of the day because I’ve got a meeting, it normally messes my schedule up. The reason: I always take her out for a walk before I leave home for a few hours. Although this helps her not to feel stressed out while she is alone, my work schedule expands for longer hours, as I have to squeeze in two walks.
Some evenings both Manel and I are very tired, especially towards Thursday, and sometimes it’s hard having to take her out for walk. However, this has never been an excuse not to do so. And I also have to say that most of the time it’s more tiring the thought of having to do it than doing it.
Another change that she brought is that sleeping late on weekends is proving to be quite difficult. She normally sleeps through the night without waking us up, but she seems to like to keep regular hours, so between 6:00 and 7:00 every morning she comes to check on us and wakes us up in the process. If we’re lucky, she lets us sleep more. If she needs to relieve herself outside, she’ll make it clear by jumping on us. So in a way it’s good that she wakes us up instead of doing her business inside, but on the other hand I’d rather she’d let us sleep without checking on us.
Financially, I’d say that it has not been cheap at all. We already knew that this could be the case, so it didn’t come as a surprise. The two biggest expense areas have been medical care and food. In terms of illnesses, she hasn’t had anything major (fortunately!) but she’s had many small things such as ear and skin infections, gastroenteritis and even worms (although she had been de-wormed when it was due). Between this and the usual check-ups and vaccines, we’ve spent quite a lot at the vet.
Regarding food, Nix has been eating medium and high-quality kibble. If you read us regularly, you’ll have seen the different types of food she has tried in the months that she’s been with us. The main reason is that it’s been difficult to find a kibble that sat right with her.
What we didn’t expect or realise is that Nix’s presence has eventually made come to the surface problems and issues with some people we know that we had more or less managed to ignore. You’ll understand that for privacy reasons I cannot be very specific. With Nix, however, these issues became more visible up to the point where I couldn’t ignore them any longer. Be aware, then, that if there are issues it’s highly likely that you’ll have to deal with them, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
She’s also brought many positive experiences into our life. We really enjoy watching her play fetch, or how happy and cuddly she is in the mornings, or how she welcomes us when we come home. She’s made us laugh when she asks for her food or when she begs for food at the table (a bad habit we should try to get rid of, but she looks so cute that it’s difficult to scold her).
I also think that she’s had a very positive impact in my relationship with Manel. We need to work together in order to get everything organised and done in time, and this has increased the feeling of being part of a team with him. Moreover, when we are both home we usually take her out (both of us), and thus it’s another activity that brings us closer. And Nix loves it when the three of us do things together, and it’s so nice seeing her running around and being happy. Her happiness and joy are contagious.