Writing on Animals on Tall And True

Harry the Xmas (& Beyond) Dog

Not Just for Xmas

  -12   As a dog training instructor, I'm often asked for advice on choosing a dog. A common misconception among prospective dog owners is that the main concern is matching a dog to your living area.

People who live in flats and apartments tell me they're contemplating a small dog. These dogs tend to be highly energetic and yappy, not a good combination for apartment-dwellers and their neighbours.

Others with big backyards will say they're thinking of a larger dog. But left alone in the backyard, these dogs soon demonstrate how destructive a bored dog can be. 

Lifestyle, not living area

It's lifestyle, not living area, that should determine whether you buy a dog. Regardless of size, dogs need a lot of attention. In addition to regular exercise, play and training, dogs need a commitment that borders on monotony but is vitally important for ensuring a settled, stress-free dog.

People seem to forget that dogs live for a long time. Playful puppies grow into wilful two-year-olds, mature around five and then slowly slide from middle-aged eight-year-olds into elderly dogs of twelve to fourteen years or more. Dogs are long-term investments.

As with any investment, prospective dog owners should research their options beforehand. Visit a local dog club, watch how different dogs behave, listen to them and talk to their owners.

Share your nonfiction on Tall And True


Share and showcase your nonfiction and other writing — fiction and reviews — as a Guest Writer on Tall And True.

Read more: Share Your Writing

Ongoing responsibility

Above all, people should not buy a cute puppy or adopt a rescue dog unless they are prepared for the ongoing responsibility and cost of being a dog owner.

Because as my Harry, who turns ten on Xmas Eve, reminds us, a dog is not just for Xmas.

Please pass on this message to any family or friends considering buying a dog this Xmas.

© 2007, 2017 Robert Fairhead 

This article appeared in the Village Voice Eastern-Harbourside in December 2007. And I was lucky and had my Harry for three more Xmases!

Proofread by Grammarly

Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

tallandtrue pixabay freeimages