NWR: are dogs a good idea?
RTL, pictured above on a recent walk with my son and his friend, has gone away for a few days. I dropped her off this afternoon with a dog sitter in Barnes, who already had a motley collection of four rather different sized canines in tow. She was charming, and I'm sure RTL will have fun with her new friends.
But our home seems kind of empty without her. And less smelly. It gives me a chance to reflect on whether dogs are a good thing or not.
In her favour? She gets us out of the house, whatever the weather, twice a day. Dogs need walking, and - to be honest - humans need walking too. A walk is a great way to start the day. It's thinking space.
Also, it's psychologically healthy to care for and cherish something other than oneself. It's quite easy to care for a dog like RTL, because she's always pleased to see you and never seems to get upset or have a bad day.
And she's fun. Animals bring out the child in me, in a positive sort of sense. They fill me with wonder and make me want to play as well.
The case against? She's smelly. She can be a pest, especially when we are eating. She often barks before 6 am demanding to be let out. She chases cats. She is a tie, and the logistics of not leaving her too long and making sure she gets her two walks can be complicated and annoying.
But overall, I'd say dogs are a very good idea.