It’s an old story, one that typically begins with, “Aren’t they cute! Let’s get one! I’ll walk it every morning! I promise to brush it.”
The fervor to get a dog peaked when COVID-19 turned office work, home life, education and travel upside-down. Staying at home became the norm. The need for a fresh source of local entertainment was more than satisfied by the boundless energy of a young dog.
Gradually, things changed. On-line learning was gradually phased out. The commute to the office in Montreal or Ottawa returned. The novelty began to wear off, and there was less free time to devote to Rover.
The centre of attention started to chew on shoes, toys and table legs. Desperately needed relief walkies didn’t take place, so ‘accidents’ began to happen not only on the kitchen floor but on the living room rug. When he was left alone from 800 am until 500 pm, the neighbours became quite annoyed at his incessant yelping.
The OSPCA will soon approach over-capacity with pets that can no longer be conveniently accommodated by the ‘new normal’. Pet shops and breeders have a no-return policy. Besides, who wants to adopt something that is no longer a cute little puppy and has developed some rather bothersome traits!
My story’s focus now shifts to Portugal’s Algarve, February 11-March 18, 2020.
Almost every day we’d set out from our comfortable accommodations to explore. Beyond every seaside resort village there was an abundance of agricultural and vacant land, with a scattering of dogs of all kinds, usually in mixed breed pairs, who seemed to be gazing at us. I’d pull over to the shoulder of the road.
The dogs might cock their heads or swivel their ears as they slowly retreated to a safe distance. If I could put speech bubbles above their heads, they would be saying, “Have you come back for me?” “Do you have any food for us?” “Are you going to start throwing rocks at us!”
None of these dogs was ever aggressive. However, all were too timid to respond to my gentle beckoning.
Here’s my take on them: Portugal is a wonderful place to holiday. For an extended stay, a young dog would be a wonderful companion. However, after the six-month stay comes to an end, Pedro becomes a liability. The UK has a lengthy quarantine requirement for any animal coming from abroad. Airlines impose a hefty fee for carrying pets.
Some carriers and cruise ships have a ‘no pets’ policy.
Therefore, the long-stay tourist bids a sad adios to his no longer forever companion.
Think more than twice before you take on a forever pet.