I have eight dogs at home. When I tell people that the response is usually one of two ways, an “Oh, my god!” followed by a collection of onomatopoeia. It's rare that I have ever seen or met people that have even dogs or cats than I.
To answer the most frequent question, “how do you do it?” I can safely say that it is a tremendous responsibility with a life-long commitment. Sure, it is a lot of work, and it gets difficult at times, but it is genuinely rewarding. The stress is far more relieved than gained by their presence; they are the heart of the family.
It is sometimes laughable, even to me that my family has eight dogs. The truth is, I never see them in number, I think them individually. The process was very natural also. It is not like we decided to have eight dogs overnight. We’ve had two dogs since I was 6, and the number has been increasing gradually. Now I’m 20 years old, and I have had dogs for 14 years, and yet I learn something new about dogs every day. Here's a list of some of the things I’ve learned.:
1. Every breed has a distinctive temperament.
Raising three types of dogs made me realize how dogs of different breeds behave and react differently. Among the three kinds I have, Maltese are the most reserved and calm ones, and Bichon Frise is the most feisty one. Poodles are in between, but their greatest strength and weakness is that they are very smart. They can either make your life easier or outsmart you.
2. Different breeds have distinctive health concerns
It is an unfortunate reality that you spend more time in veterinarian's when you have more dogs. I cannot imagine how many times I have been on that seat of anxiety because one of them got injured, ate something a dog shouldn't eat, or developed a chronic disease. From seeing others and my dogs, there seem to be health conditions each breed suffer in common. Maltese are more prone to cardiac diseases, a lot of poodles have leg conditions, and Shih Tzus have the delicate respiratory system.
3. Regardless of the breed, every one of the dogs has a unique personality.
Manool, a silver poodle, is a very kind, sociable dog who gets easily scared. She is very welcoming to both new people and dogs.
On the other hand, Hoochu, also a silver poodle, hates dogs. He is very reticent and calm. He is very amiable to people and is easy to handle. His biggest complication is that he has a tiny appetite. There are certain meat or vegetables that he would refuse to eat, and it usually takes more than an hour for him to start eating, unlike most other dogs.
Hodu, a Maltese, is the most mother-like figure among the group. She is very caring, protective, and soft. She lets her younger sisters and brothers bite her and tangle her. We just thought she was weak until we saw her take off a bigger terrier who kept nagging one of our dogs.
4. The most important but challenging thing you would have to change is your lifestyle.
When you have a dog or dogs, you can't have food lying around the floor or at any reachable place. There are a lot of food that could be poisonous to dogs, including chocolates, grapes, onions, and more. You slip a candy bar, and you will find the wrappers ripped apart. Also, you have to rearrange your furniture for your dog, especially when you have small dogs or cannot manage to take them out to walk every day. You need to provide places for them to play, excrete, and sleep along with someone who can be at home long enough to feed them, change the water, and clean up.
5. You need to expect to spend.
There are a lot of expenses that goes on for a dog. The food and medical expenses are the two that will prolong for a long time. Especially when the dog ages, medical expenses can burden you. Keep in mind of it and make sure you are ready to be financially responsible when you decide to have a dog.
6. The hardest thing you will ever have to accept: dogs have shorter life span than you.
It is heartbreaking and tormenting to see your little puppy grow old and age faster than you. Two of my dogs are almost 14 years old, and they have both developed cardiac diseases. The eldest one has drastically changed over the last few years, that there have been countless nights of tears. After experiencing this with two of the dogs, I am honestly not sure how I will have to get through this six more times.
If you'd like to see more photos, check out my mother's Instagram account @spicedogsss