Gerti the Staffy

Friends of mine recently welcomed a new best friend into their lives.  Gertrude (Gerti for short) is a 3-year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and typical of her breed, is affectionate, intelligent and loyal.

Gerti is also a rescue dog.

An early COVID-19 puppy, she is one of many dogs that were hastily adopted during a dark time, only to be neglected once things settled down. Luckily, Gerti has found a new home where her loud snores, excitable disposition and obsession with cuddles are not only tolerated, but adored.

As a rescue dog, Gerti may still be a little traumatised by the move. She has shown some attachment issues, but is working on them, and supported by a house of people who love her, I think she’ll be fine.

With Google searches for pet adoptions seeing a rise of 133% during lockdown, I  thought its time to remind homes all over the world of the importance of responsible pet ownership.

Unlike Gerti’s original owners, her new family was prepared and respectful of the inherent responsibility  in adopting a dog. Schedules permit them to spend time with Gerti; she attends puppy training, gets plenty of walks and has a space that is appropriate for a dog of her temperament – featuring a big garden and her own place to sleep.

Responsible pet owners have a duty to provide the love, care and attention necessary to keep pets happy, safe and healthy. In return, they’ll love you for life.

Of course, being a responsible pet owner means more than just keeping your dog safe and happy.

Owners have an obligation to register their dogs with their local council. It helps councils monitor pet ownership so that pets can be better catered to and ensures owners are contactable if dogs accidentally run off!

When visiting parks, be wary of the rules pertaining to dogs and be familiar with the boundaries for off leash areas. Be sure to clean up after your dogs and socialise them safely and carefully around others. Don’t take your dog to the park and then lose yourself in your phone or go for a jog and hope that your dog simply follows!

When it comes to health, regular vet check ups are a good idea.  Make sure their vaccinations are up to date and their teeth are checked regularly. Watching their health will save you a lot of money down the track!

And lastly, before you adopt your new family member, do some research and check out the breed. Understand whether they suit your lifestyle. Different breeds will have different needs – poodles like myself need grooming, others like labradors are likely to eat items that are left around the house and Gerti is likely to bounce all over the place!

Responsible pet ownership will not only make their lives happier, but ensures they can do so harmoniously, for everyone’s benefit.