Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The pet-shop story

My son loves animals. His love does not discriminate between species. Equally fond of birds, cats, fishes and dogs, he attracts the stray ones like a magnet and they follow him around till it is time for him to come home.

He always nagged me about buying a dog for him, I resisted not only because I am scared of dogs and so is my daughter, but also because so far we lived in an apartment and I did not want to share that space with a pet. I see raised eyebrows don't I? Especially Balan!

Finally when we moved to this villa and had space enough inside and outside to have the much desired dog, there was no stopping my son. Kids can be quite tenacious as we all know. So is my son...

He: "Mom, so are we buying the dog today?"
Me offhandedly: "Soon"
He comes around and stands in front of me: "How soon?"
Me: "Are you sure you can take care of a dog? I really do not know anything about dogs."
He: "Of course I can, I know everything, I have to take him for a walk twice and play with him and give him his food and clean his poop and pee. I will also teach him to do his 'business' outside the house, but that might take some time and of course you must be accepting of accidents once in a while."
Me thinking 'wow where did he get all that stuff from, and why can't he get his school project information from the same source that he got this stuff from?': "Hmm, seems you did your homework on pets. So what breed do you want?"
He: "A Golden Retriever not older than four months."
Me: "Okay so we have to find out how to go about getting a dog here, it might not be easy."
He: "I know all the pet-shops in Muscat, let us go and check them out."
Me: "We will and now please go and do your homework."
He: "I have thought of a name, I will call him Shadow"
Me: " Do you want a male dog?"
He: "Yes of course, a she-dog won't play with me. She will always sit and watch TV like didi. It has to be a male dog."
Me: "Hmm. Homework"

Conversations like this happen more than twice in my house, always initiated by my son and contradicted by my daughter. Amidst this, I started to shed my inhibition to dogs. Probably it was the mother winning over the woman. My husband who likes animals as well but has never had a pet except fishes in a tank was roped in. He looked at my daughter incredulously.

She: "I don't want a dog, He will bite me."
He: "It does not hurt that much, I was bitten once by a stray dog and had to take quite a few injections. A pet dog will be vaccinated so you do not have to worry about needles poking you."
She: "You gotta be kidding me! Why do we have to buy a dog, why cant we just have plants and fishes?"
He: "We have to get a dog so that you get rid of your fear, now that is a good reason, if any."
She: "Will it be a big dog? I am ok with a tiny pup, by the time he grows up he will know me and won't bite me."
He: "Lets see."
She: "I will not clean up after him, I am making it very clear right now."

Finally after a somewhat mixed consensus on the issue the research started. Research for anything is my husband's forte. He got in touch with expats leaving and wanting to re-home their dogs, with breeders, with pet-shops and pet-clinics. Responses were quick to come and as quickly discarded by him much to my son's angst.

Son: "This way we will never be able to have a dog."
Dad: "For you buying the dog is the end but for me buying the dog is the beginning."
Son: "I don't care, beginning or end or anything in between I want my dog."
Dad opens a link and shows him a site: "Read this and tell me what you feel?"

This is the link that we visited,

If you have trouble opening the link from here please copy paste


on your browser to read

An eye-opener to people like me and my children, but not so to many others who own and love their dogs in this country. The pet-shop mentioned in the above link is a very reputed shop here. However, this is not just the case with this pet-shop. This seems to be true for most such outfits in Muscat. Now that the research has crossed the ornamental stage of cleaning the poop and naming the dog, my son has realised that a dog up for adoption is a much better choice than ordering a pup from a fancy pet-shop. However much scared my daughter maybe of dogs, she has also realised that if we finally own a dog, it will be very hard to see it suffer and die.

We are still looking for a young pup who wants a loving home. When matters get serious, it's funny how prejudices melt away.