DogCast Radio
Home Episodes Articles Blog Breed profiles Book reviews Photos Contact

Is it a dog's life being a dog owner?

Recently two friends have both lost a dog. Both deaths were a shock, both through illness, and both dogs could have expected to have many more years to enjoy. Both owners were left with a sharp grief, and had to cope with losing a constant and loved companion.

It underlined for me how very unfairly short a dog’s life is. Depending on the size of your canine, at the very most, you can expect eighteen years of companionship, and for the majority of breeds it is much less than that. Even the longest lived breeds get to share only a small fraction of our time, and we have to resign ourselves to this.

I realised that I am often ready to complain about the downside of sharing my home with a dog. How can one dog shed all that hair, necessitating daily clean ups that yield sufficient amounts of dog hair to stuff a small armchair? How can four medium paws walk all that mud into the house? How can one mouth carry all those stones, and then hide them under the sofa?

In addition to this no activity can be undertaken or plans made without taking him into account. Days out have to be organised around dog friendly venues, or else be for a suitably short length of time unless a sitter can be arranged.

That’s just the beginning though - water from the drinking bowl turns the kitchen floor into an impromptu paddling pool. The lawn we struggle to cultivate is systematically scratched away. Wallpaper is rubbed, shoes are chewed, clothes are turned black with dog hair, carpets develop a decidedly doggy odour, and no upholstered item of furniture is entirely mine any more.

Dog-free vacations are spent with some part of my mind wondering whether his carers are really taking as good care of him as I would.

What, you might ask, is the return for all this upheaval and disruption in my life?

My trouble is rewarded a thousand fold.

I know that I have in my life someone who loves me unselfishly, unconditionally, and unendingly. Whenever I leave the house, I know someone is impatiently awaiting my return. Even if I have ventured out only to empty the dustbin, there is a concerned nose pressed to the window monitoring my progress. On shared outings I have a friend to accompany any and every adventure; in the house I have affection lavished on me, and I never feel alone or lonely.

In short I have someone who regards me as the centre of their world, and is happy in return to be a part of mine; I have a dog.

I have a dog, and I should never forget to be grateful for that fact. The extra cleaning, whether sweeping up or mopping is a small price to pay, and one that both my friends would happily pay if it meant their lost friend could return to them. Stray dog hairs on my clothes should be worn as a badge of honour. Every minute I am lucky enough to spend with my dog should be savoured and cherished, because all too soon they will tick away.

I can’t lengthen my dog’s life, but I can make sure he has the happiest one possible. I can share with him the relish with which he approaches our shared existence, and the few inconveniences involved? - I can stop complaining about them.


274 - Crufts 2024 and can dog friendly be neurodivergent friendly?

In this episode Julie and Jenny go to Crufts 2024 and Michelle Foulia explores whether dog friendly can be neurodivergent friendly too. Plus the problems the French Bulldog faces, and how our dogs are good for our neurobiology!

189 - The Dog Healers and War Dogs Remembered

In this episode you can hear Mark Winik talk about his debut novel, The Dog Healers, and listen to Julia Robertson explain why she founded the charity War Dogs remembered. Plus there's the DogCast Radio News, and what Mischief the German Spitz puppy has been up to.

188 - Service Dogs UK and Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

In this episode you can hear about Service Dogs UK, a fantastic charity which trains assistance dogs to support veterans of any service - military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics and the coastguard - who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to their job. Also, listen to Dr Jody A Dean, a clinical psychologist talk about how her book, Roxie the Doxie finds her Forever Home, is helping children understand and talk about adoption and other family issues. Plus the DogCast Radio News and some thoughts on the alpha dog myth.

187 - Muffins Halo and Chorley Fun Dog Show

In this episode you can hear about Muffin's Halo for Blind Dogs, and what motivates people to enter their dog in a fun dog show. In the DogCast Radio News, listen to stories about the latest dog related research. Plus there's a new member of the DogCast Radio team!

186 - Maxwell Muir on wolves

In this episode you can hear trainer, behaviourist, writer, broadcaster and wolf expert Maxwell Muir talk about what wolves mean to him personally, their plight in a modern world, and his hopes for their future. Plus we have the DogCast Radio News.