Dougal are much loved first ever family dog died last September and is still missed. As a family we want to get a new dog, because we miss one and also its a really good exercise to go to the park and exercise daily lol!
Dougal was a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel breed dog, and we have come to realise that most of the breeds have some sort of genetic weakness, and some breeds are even inbred. But the weaknesses are not bred out, which is disgraceful! It's like Alsatians often have problems later on with their legs and their bone skeletal structure. King Charles's often have heart and weight problems. Dougal was checked by a vet when we first got him and seemed fine. The vet told us to take out pet insurance now, because later on, we might want to claim on it. After about 6 months of having Dougal, a heart problem in a value was spotted. In some ways it was good for him, because it meant that he was always pretty slim, and other spaniel owners were always really jealous :) Dougal did need more and more pills as he got older and the insurance would no longer allow us to claim for that on the insurance. (It's disgraceful really! You can not claim more than £3000 or for more than 12months for one condition!). Is it better to have insurance, or pay some money each week into a separate back account in case some of your animals need expensive treatment later on?
I think Dougal died in the end, because his heart got so massive, and in the end his body couldn't cope any more, but he lived such a wonderful live. After he died, the whole house was very traumatised and we got cards and flowers to the house from local people! He died aged 7 :(
My first thought was that I wanted a new dog right now! Exactly the same as Dougal! But you know even if he/she was the same colours, it would have a different personality to Dougal. No one and no animals are the same!
So we have decided not to go for a King Charles again, because heart problems are prevalent. Currently we are arguing between a Bearded Collie or a different type of Spaniel. We were looking at Tibetan Terriers, but someone warned us that they are of the Terrier family and can behave like a Terrier type dog/ snappy etc.
But at the park we met a lady with a pretty mongrel dog. She got it from a RSPCA centre fairly near us. (Not the famous Battersea Dog's Home). I don't have anything against mongrels, and they have very little genetic conditions compared to the expensive, bred perfectly breed dogs. The only problem I have is that getting a dog from a rescue centre, they are always "damaged" in some way. If you are really unlikely they were beaten and if you are really likely, they just belonged to a sweet old lady who died. Unless you get a rescue dog as a puppy, which always go really quickly, the dog can be unpredictable and you could have problems. I have loads of friends with mongrels and people on my livejournal and you can have a wonderful dog, but what happens if you don't get one? Especially as we have two cats, and they have to fit in with it. That's why I think we need to get a dog from a puppy.
Anyway before we got Dougal from a breeder, we had a look around Battersea Dog's Home. It's such a depressing place, with the dogs all in cages. Each dog has a little profile with tick boxes eg "safe with animals" "safe with kids". At the time the dog had to be okay with children and cats, and none of the dogs we looked at fitted our requirements. They all seemed to be MASSIVE or small dogs who killed children etc.
We are going to look at this other centre at 2:30pm today. Apparently its nicer than Battersea, and there is a nice spaniel/terrier cross there called Trixie, but she is 6 years old and apparently nervous, but getting better. I am not sure what we will end up with. I don't think we will come home with a dog from there today, but its good to go and have a look :)