A Day in the Life of a 9-week old Golden…

You know that saying, it’s a dog’s life? Well, our pup is living it.

It’s one week today that Carter has been at home with us. His first few days, he cautiously walked around the house. Sniff here and there. Play gently with his toys. Chewed not a shoe….

Well that lasted about 2 days! Now he walks around like he’s lived here his whole life!  He is one happy little dude.

I made a quick video of what Carter does all day long,  minus the ‘doing his business’ stuff because no one needs to see that. Take a look at a day in the life of a 9-week old Golden.

As you can see, he plays, eats (his FAV part of the day), and then he crashes wherever he may find himself. By late afternoon, his naps become MY favourite part of the day.

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It’s the Final Countdown! Getting Ready to bring Carter home

We are one week away! What? Already? Time to get ready to bring puppy Carter home.

But before we do, there’s some shopping to do. Our breeder Catharine emailed a ‘bringing home puppy’ shopping list.  As you’ll see, what was listed and what we ended up with doesn’t match up exactly. It’s a little hard not to go overboard. Just a little.

We went shopping as a family, and coming to an agreement on some items wasn’t easy.  The hardest decision for us was agreeing on a leash and collar.  But I think it paid off to shop around! Take a read, what do you think?

Catharine’s Puppy Shopping List vs Our Family’s Puppy Purchases

  1. Crate – one that you can adjust the size as the puppy grows.

What we did:

One BIG crate!
One BIG crate!

I emailed my dog friends asking if they had a crate they no longer used or wanted. Success! A friend personally delivered a wire-adjustable-BIG-crate! My younger son fits in the crate very comfortably.  I know because he’s gone in a few times, on his own, not because I put him in there!

My big issue with the big crate? Where do I put it in my house? I had to do what I avoided for a long time; tidy-up and purge the ‘dumping-room’ we all have in our homes. On-top of the crate is his big (and stylish) comfy bed-pillow.

2. An adjustable harnesses for rides in vehicles.

What we did:  We did not make this purchase yet. I’m certain, my boys will be holding Carter on the way home.

3. Stainless steel dishes (for food and water)

What we did: We bought 2 ceramic dishes from HomeSense.  They have a great pet section, and well priced too. That’s where we found his stylish big bed-pillow too.

4. Grooming supplies – a comb (brushes do not get right down to the skin), nail clippers (scissor style), scissors, dog shampoo.

What we did: We purchased all of the above.

5. Collar & Leash – a 4 foot (leather) leash was recommended and a nylon flat or rolled leather buckle collar (rolled leather will not break the fur). Sounds like a simple enough purchase, but take a look at this selection of collars and leashes at Pet Smart.  Overwhelming. And not one collar or leash we could agree on.

We did finally agree on a collar and a most appropriate dog tag for Carter, don’t you think?

Perfect collar and dog tag for Carter.
Perfect collar and dog tag for Carter.
  1. Toys! Fleecy toys, squeaky toys, stuffed toys. Again, you would think easy to choose a toy or two.  Nope. The selection is again vast and it’s easy to get carried away. Here are some fancy-schmancy toys that we did not purchase. We didn’t think these were appropriate for a Golden, but were very clever!

What we bought:  We ended up with a stuffed chicken, chewy bone, bouncy balls, tug-of-war rope, and a chewy toy that you can add treats or peanut butter to, and according to friends, keeps your pup busy and happy.

  1. Bitter Apple spray – Used as a deterrent, it can be sprayed on plants, shoes, anything you don’t want puppy to chew. It’s kinder to spray and let the pup discover “ooh that tastes rotten”, than to constantly nag them. And a spray bottle full of vinegar….to spray where little accidents happen.

What we bought: Yes to both sprays!

7.  We were advised to not buy treats as they will upset puppies little tummies. Instead use little pieces of brick cheese or save little bits of meat from your supper for rewards. But look at what’s out there for dogs? We found these fancy treats at one pet store.

What we did: We didn’t buy any puppy treats. I think we’ll try the cheese. But may have to buy some healthy treats if we need to help with training!

In the end, this is what our purchases look like.  The additional items we bought includes: a blanket (a baby blanket on clearance from HomeSense), a food mat, a cute basket to hold all his toys, a big comfy bed-pillow, poop bags and a blue bandana, because he’s going to be one cool and well dressed Golden!

One week to go!  This is really happening. How hard can this puppy thing  be!? Maybe I should start reading my ‘how to train your puppy’ book. This  may be the most important purchase we made!

How Much is that Doggy in the Window?

A classmate suggested that I write about the cost of owning a dog so that interested future dog owners can plan and perhaps budget for it.

I’d like to say that my family crunched numbers before we made the decision to get a dog, but we didn’t. We went into this with eyes-wide-shut!

I surveyed some of my dog-owner friends and asked about their monthly dog-related costs. The responses were hilarious and the costs, luckily, were not too scary. What I also discovered is that there isn’t a set, one-size fits all, monthly or yearly cost for a dog. There are many factors that come into play. The following is a generalization and quick run-down of numbers based on my friends’ personal doggy-spending habits:

Cost of Dog

This is a one-time (unless you decide on more than one dog) and obvious cost.  The cost will depend greatly on the size and age of your dog, and whether it’s a pure breed, a mix, or a rescue dog. Pure breeds tend to be the most expensive and can range from $1000-$2000 for a puppy. Adopting a rescue dog costs considerably less: $210 for a male and $240 for a female dog through the City of Toronto’s Animal Services. A smaller mixed puppy can cost around $800-900.

Photo by ANTPKR, freedigitalphotos.net
Photo by ANTPKR, freedigitalphotos.net

Food & Treats

Again, the cost of food and treats depend on the size and age of your dog, and the quality of food you choose for your dog. A German Shepard, like my pal Maverick eats about $150 worth of food a month. My medium-sized dog pals Jake and Martha, eat about  $70-$80 a month worth of food.

Vet visits

Again your vet costs will depend upon the health of your dog, and hopefully they don’t get sick.  A “healthy” vet visit will cost about $100. When you first get a pup you’ll have to visit the vet a few times for immunizations, but generally you don’t see your vet more than once or twice a year.

Embed from Getty Images

Grooming and Spa Visits

If your dog needs grooming, it can cost about $70-100 a month to send your special furry friend to the doggy spa.  Some people buy nail clippers and brushes and try to do it themselves.  But some dogs need a professional’s touch and maybe even pampering!  Some dogs have hair rather than fur, so they do require haircuts.

Doggy Hair Salon for me please! (Photo by SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net)
Doggy Hair Salon for me please! (Photo by SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net)

Other monthly costs can include…

Doggy sitting – $30-50/day for family vacations that don’t include fido.

Toys & Chew Sticks/Bones – about $25-30 month.  It can be hard to resist a cute new toy when shopping for their dog food!

Yummy! (Photo by SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net)
Yummy! (Photo by ANTPKR, freedigitalphotos.net)

As you can see the costs can add up. But is it worth it? My friends gave a resounding and unequivocal YES.  This is how my (hilarious!) friend described Maverick, her adopted German Shepard, “he’s a like a Ferrari – good-looking on the outside, but requires a lot of maintenance.” He is an expensive dog, but he’s lucky that “he is the “George Clooney” of German Shepherds!” Bow-wow to that!Embed from Getty Images

Another friend also said that her little Jake “gets only the best! We skimp on the children.” I have actually heard that more than once about dogs vs kids! Hum, I wonder what will happen when Carter overtakes, I mean, becomes part of our family?

The list of these expenses don’t take into account the ‘start-up’ costs associated with owing a dog. My family got a little carried away when we made those purchases. More on that in my next post.