A dog in Vancouver


Fire Hydrant

Originally uploaded by Ryan Pears.

There’s a Dimitri Martin joke where he says that a person who owns a dog in the city is clearly saying that their need for companionship outweighs their dislike for picking up shit. That joke has been going through my head quite a bit over the last week or so as I’ve considered getting a dog.

The difference between getting a dog now, living downtown Vancouver in an apartment and when I was younger living in a house with a large yard in the rural area of Kelowna, is that apart from picking up poop it’s not as easy to care for a dog in the big city. Or as cheap.

My main concern is that I work eight hour shifts and can’t get away for lunch to walk the dog. Add the walk to work and back and the dog would be on its own for nine hours. Not a nice thing for either the dog or the smell of my apartment.

I know there are dog daycare services, as well as dog walkers. A quick trip through Google seems to suggest to me that it tends to cost $25+ a day for either of those services which might be a reasonable price but makes the dog ownership thing quite a bit more pricey.

Do you have a dog in the city? How do you take care of it? What’s a guy who lives on his own to do?

3 Comments so far

  1. Jen (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

    As silly as this sounds initially, get a large breed dog.

    Dog’s exercise needs vary according to breed, not size (terriers and collies needing far more work and activity than most other breeds), and larger dogs have larger bladders (and therefore can wait longer between trips outside).

    Our shepherd/retriever cross easily goes 10-12 hours between walks, and even then sometimes frolicks for 30 minutes or so on her walks before peeing – definiely showing her lack of desperation.

    Also, if you think about it, your dog probably goes longer without a bathroom break while you’re sleeping, than while you’d be at work. And I know of very few dog owners (of dogs of all sizes) who can hold it through the night.

    Puppies of course need to be taken out more often, so you may want to consider adopting a dog who’s a year old or older if you can’t take the time off work for training.

    Other than that, feed your dog after work so it can relieve itself in the evening before bed, or first thing in the morning, and your pup should be fine.

    A far more pressing concern would be boredom, which is where I say dog walkers, at least once a week, are worth their weight in gold.


  2. Judd Cochrane (unregistered) on February 5th, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

    Agreed with the larger breed dogs. A great dane is perfect apartment dog. I’ve got a large breed dog in the city. I take him to work with me – where he sleeps all day. My pup gets a 40 min walk to work in the morn, then he’s fine all day. Once a week at doggy daycare ($25/Day). That tuckers him out. Then lots of exercise on the weekends.

    Older dogs like to snooze a lot – especially sighthounds, so consider a senior.

    A great resource can be some of the retired folks in your neighbourhood. A lot of them like to take a few local dogs out while their people are at work for a smaller wage than the “commercial” dogwalkers. Talk to the pound too – they’re a good resource.

    Dogs in the city really are a big responsibility. A bit more than most think. But – the rewards are many. Good luck!


  3. Judd (unregistered) on February 5th, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

    Agreed with the larger breed dogs. A great dane is perfect apartment dog. I’ve got a large breed dog in the city. I take him to work with me – where he sleeps all day. My pup gets a 40 min walk to work in the morn, then he’s fine all day. Once a week at doggy daycare ($25/Day). That tuckers him out. Then lots of exercise on the weekends.

    Older dogs like to snooze a lot – especially sighthounds, so consider a senior.

    A great resource can be some of the retired folks in your neighbourhood. A lot of them like to take a few local dogs out while their people are at work for a smaller wage than the “commercial” dogwalkers. Talk to the pound too – they’re a good resource.

    Dogs in the city really are a big responsibility. A bit more than most think. But – the rewards are many. Good luck!



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