Advantages of small dog ownership

Again, a lack of food! What’s going on? Let’s call it a short hiatus of the status quo, and show off our knowledge of Latin loanwords.

So, we have a small(ish) dog – a wirehaired Dachshund named Frankie – and he’s great for a number of reasons. Many of those reasons happen to be related to his conveniently compact size. It occurred to me that I should take note and share those reasons with the world.

Well, the world as defined by WordPress.

I want to start with a little background. I’ve always been a committed ‘dog person’. Though I don’t have the virulent hatred of cats that many dog lovers seem to espouse (I quite like many cats), it always comes back to dogs. They’re friendly, they’re funny, and without them there would be no humans as we know them. As a result, I also think that anyone who doesn’t like dogs is a bit of an ungrateful shit.

Thing is, like a lot of other people – even other ‘dog people’ – I was biased against small dogs. You know, those yappy rats on leashes, not ‘real’ dogs. For me, bigger was better; more dog equals more to love.

That was, until we were at the shelter. I wanted a dog, period. We looked at all kinds, and all of them were wonderful in their own ways, but none were suitable. I found myself thinking the big dogs were too big – me! The biggest big dog lover there is. We’d been through every room, save one. At the end of the row of cages was a little furry back and the intermittent sound of squeaking. We approached, got a greeting sniff, then were ignored completely.

It was love at first sight.

At first, it still seemed weird to be the owners of a small dog, but the benefits have been many. The first is his age. We got him at 8 1/2 years, which is about middle-aged for a dog his size. This means we get some good years with him still that we wouldn’t have gotten had he been the same age, only bigger.

Also, his compactness helps with things like travel. He loves the bus and going for car rides, but he’s also small enough that we can take him with us in the passenger section of the plane.

He’s big enough that he can get around easily. On a walk, he’ll trot to keep up, but he doesn’t need to run. However, if he does get too tired, he’s not too big to pick up and carry, at least for short distances.

And he’s not intimidating. Even the friendliest larger dog can put off someone who has an aversion. Like the lady in our building who told us that even though she’s afraid of dogs, she’s not afraid of Frankie. He’s small, and slow, and calm. That’s not to say that no one reacts badly; there are a lot of people in our neighbourhood, and throughout the city, who come from places where dogs are to be feared.

He costs less to feed and to groom, and some of his vet bills are reduced. If we need to clothe him, smaller sizes also tend to cost less. He doesn’t take up much room in our house, on the sofa or the bed, and he’s a good size for extended lap cuddles.

So that’s it! Small dogs aren’t for everybody, but I don’t think they should be written off wholesale. Much of the negative behaviour in them comes from people not treating them as dogs, but as toys. Any dog will do poorly if not properly socialized and trained, and in that respect, small dogs often get the short end of the stick. So to speak.