If you follow me on any social media you’ll know already that I am now the besotted owner of a dog called Stanley.
I’ve always been a ‘dog person‘ but renting an apartment & proudly courting a decent social life are generally not factors indicative of a dog owner so, how did we do it? More importantly how are we doing it day to do? Read on to find out.
Having grown up with dogs I understood the massive responsibility that taking on a dog is… I also understood that this responsibility exclusively befell my parents while I happily enjoyed days of care-free playing with a dog while someone else walked/fed/toileted them.
Sean however did not grow up with dogs & had been badgering me for a sold 18 months about getting a dog while I, the unlikely voice of reason continued to explain that as renters, we simply weren’t in the position to get one.
In an attempt to placate Sean’s pleas which had gone from whispers to near-deafening in that 18 months I agreed to drive up to the DSPCA for ‘a look around’ with no genuine intention of actually getting a dog… not because I didn’t want one but simply thinking it wasn’t possible until we’d bought a house of our own.
Sean’s strong-point argument was that we had always approached life with a ‘figure it out as you go’ type attitude so, why should this be any different? Another life being involved in this scenario is what made it different for me.
You can call up to the DSPCA without appointment at any reasonable hour to have a look at the dogs available for adoption, we called up on a Tuesday afternoon & was shocked at how busy the place was. I was more shocked (& pleased) to hear that they adopt out about 35 dogs a week… I assumed it’d be much less than that.
You’re welcome to walk around & look at the dogs, each in their own little room through a window. My emotions were so mixed on this trip; no doubt the dogs were cared for with the basic need met but the longing in their eyes as they sat looking at you though a frame was haunting- their fates undecided & pasts so unknown.
Most of the dogs had a sticker on their window stating they’d already found their forever home with lots of puppy courtesy of the dockland’s seizures & beautiful big dogs who we sadly couldn’t consider due to apartment living.
Then there was Stan; a staffy mix found wandering in bad condition, toilet trained but never micro chipped & never looked for by a concerned owner.
We waited patiently to get the attention of the staff member who was clearly fraught but making tracks though the variety of families & couples looking to be a forever home, asked if we could meet the dog they’d named Strutter then, out he came from his little room.
The staff were fantastic & advised us of his strong points off the bat- Great with kids & other dogs and, not so strong points- Play bites & very needy.
They won’t let you leave with a dog on your first day (rightly so!) so, in a whirlwind we registered our interest before hitting the road. We asked whether we could come & take him for a walk to see his temperament & went back up the to experience what he was like one-on-one, he was great.
Were we going to take him? I still didn’t think so but, when they told us they were waiting for someone else who’d registered their interest to come & collect him I suddenly realised how much I really wanted him.
Our initial romanticised plan was to go down the ‘its better to seek forgiveness than approval’ route about asking our landlord’s permission to get a dog but then thought better agreeing that it’d simply be too stressful so asked outright & she kindly said yes.
Does this change the fact that our building’s management company have signs up forbidding pets? No but, it felt like a small victory nonetheless.
Stanley is non-verbally so there would be no rational reason for a neighbor to report us having a dog but, if we were evicted for having him I assured Sean before we even got him that moving would then by the only option.
One brief house check later (ensuring its safe, they weren’t concerned that we were living in an apartment rather than a house) and, we were summoned for their Thursday collection day that involved an hour long basic pet care talk with the other families & paying a €170 standard fee which covers their neutering & vaccines.
Walking out the door with Stanley on the lead I could feel emotion travelling up my throat like a bowling ball, this was our dog, our dog! I had to compose myself before getting in the car with him after Sean saying that I was going to scare him & proceeded to spend the whole journey home looking at the passenger side trying to fathom that we’d actually followed through with it.
So, how are we getting on day-to-day?
We considered puppy training pads as Stan would have no free access to an outdoor area but that seemed regressive for a dog who’s fully house trained so now instead hes brought outside first thing in the morning & last thing at night then a few times during the day where he’s happy to do his business without grass.
We’ve happily adapted our lifestyles to include dates that heavily involve walks & al fresco brunch… giving that our winter has been eerily mild it’s been perfect.
Hes brought for a good walk every day which will either be to the park or, often I’ll bring him out running errands during the day or, meeting friends in the evening allowing his walk to adapt to my day.
Is he as needy as they said? Yes. To the point where I can’t sit down to put socks on without him going for my lap. The level of affection he seeks is profound but so too is the level he provides. He likes to be right on top of one of us at all times & will follow me into every.single.room. I don’t mind at all though, it actually forces me to relax as, the last thing I want to do is get up when he’s balled up on top of me.
We tried to crate train him but he really didn’t like it so, he now sleeps in our bed, snuggled right into one of us. In hind site crate training wasn’t vital for him as, with both of us working from home he’s very rarely left alone (3 times ever at the time of writing).
Plenty of neighbors in the complex have seen us go in & out with him with no one saying a word about us having a dog.
Is it a big responsibility to take on? Absolutely. Everything he needs and everything he does I am accountable for.
I can’t go out partying for two days without a care any more. I can’t have a mammoth lie in, I have to account for him financially and, he needs to be walked rain, hail or shine but, its so worth it to have a bundle of unconditional velvet-soft love to wake up to every single day. He brings a crazy amount of joy to our lives, we’re both completely besotted with him.
We managed to bring him out to eat with us every single weekend & have found the following places the most accommodating:
Pupp, Clanbrassil street
They welcome dogs into the premises & even provide a dog menu. The food is great, the staff are so friendly & there are lots of dogs to admire… whats not to love?!
L’Gueuleton, Fade Street
They have a really well heated outdoor area, are very welcoming to dogs & offer delicious brunch options.
Pygmalion, Coppinger Row.
Welcome dogs to their significant outdoor area (where everyone always ends up sitting anyway!). We brought Stanley there one night & he got on great but be nervous dogs be warned, drunk people will be very hands on!
The Greenery, Portobello.
Another great dog-friendly outdoor area with amazing brunch offers.
Super friendly staff, really enclosed dog-friendly outdoor area, great menu.
Dice Bar, Smithfield.
They were more than happy to have Stan in for a few drinks during the day (likely different at night but what dog would have fun in a busy bar anyway?) offering him a bowl of water as his pint equivalent.
Legit, Meath Street.
One of my fave Dublin cafes; great staff, limited but delicious menu options & happy to let your furry friend sit in.
Note: places that are known to be pet friendly but we’ve yet to go to with Stanley: MVP & The fumbally, both on Clanbrassil Street are apparently happy to allow dogs inside.
I Hope you enjoyed this post guys, please please don’t buy a dog- with dogs as gorgeous, cute, affectionate & well behaved as Stanley needing to be rescued & loved it makes no sense to pay crazy money in support of horrific dog breading businesses. The DSPCA get every type of every breed into their rehoming shelter who are just waiting to love you unconditionally xx