My Greek friend Anna and her puppies

When I met Anna, last summer, we hit it off from the start so well that we are emailing each other almost weekly now. A few weeks ago she even phoned me: she had found six puppies near a gas station. She had decided to keep one herself and bring the remaining five little dogs to the pet shop. All the pups were hungry and thirsty.

She called to ask me what she should feed them. After I congratulated her with this fantastic action, I told her it was the best to buy food made especially for dogs at the pet store or grocery, as it has special ingredients that dogs need. Giving dogs people food is wrong, I learned at the dog school, because people foods can give a dog diarrhoea, and even can be harmful. Chicken or steak bones leftover from dinner, for example, could choke a dog or cause damage to the inside of his body. A small amount of chocolate can make dogs sick, a large amount can even cause death.

Then she told me it was so hard to choose one dog and what were the advantages and disadvantages of male and female dogs…?

my dog BoomerSince I have Boomer I read a lot about dogs and learn things at the “dogs’ school”. So I could tell her this: Male dogs usually are quicker in measuring their strengths with other male dogs. A male dog will pee more when you take him for a walk, because he wants other dogs to know he is around. Also a male dog could run out on you when he smells a female on heat!

A female dog will have her period twice a year from the age of approximately 6 months (!), and will last around 3 weeks. The average time between heat periods is seven months, but lengths of heat cycles and intervals between cycles are different for each dog. The first part of heat will be noticed by bleeding from the vulva, and… male dogs hanging around the house, even before the heat actually has started! During the first part of this period, females will not allow the males to make sexual contact. But on a certain moment the female will allow the male to breed her and this period can last 3 weeks. A female dog could be in the mood for this so much that she will run away and find herself a man, and the owner will have a litter with puppies a few months later!

Anna knew enough. She chose the pup she was in love with from the first moment, a girl, and because of her Bronze colour, she called her Argiro.

After she had come back from the pet store, she mailed: It was very, very hard to leave all the puppies there, but the pet shop owner had promised to find them all a good home. The man had asked her: “And what if your dog should slip away, what could happen if she was called by her sexual instinct, for example… How would Anna get her back? Anna did not know, but he had the solution: by microchipping! It identifies your dog forever, and it is a quick and painless procedure as well, which involves implanting a tiny chip below the skin in the dog’s neck. A micro-chip contains a unique bar code, which – when read by a vets scanner – provides instant details of the dog and its owner, thereby making it possible to re-unite the two. And as a coincidence, a vet was coming to the store within an hour, having his weekly consulting hour. So Anna stayed at the shop and bought food and a leash.

“You really should spay her, as overpopulation of dogs is a big problem in Greece,” the animal doctor said, while giving Argiro her vaccination cocktail. “It may be best to do this after the first heat cycle is over, to decrease the chance of complications. And I would have said the same if Argiro had been a boy dog, to decrease overpopulation.”

I will keep you informed about Anna’s pup!

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