Having posted a picture on my facebook profile of all our gang, I was asked Can a person have too many dogs. My favourite one liner is ” The correct number of dogs = n+1, where n equates to the number of dogs already in the household.
Joking aside, it is something that should be given serious thought, where would you draw the line, and what factors would you use to determine the answer.
We now live with 8 dogs, all bar two are either re-home or rescue. A re-home I consider to be where for genuine reasons, the dog can no longer be left in its original environment, and the owner has taken great care in selecting a new home for them. A rescue to me is a dog that has either been picked up as a stray, surrendered for less satisfactory reasons, ie breeding faults deemed not suitable for sale etc, or cases of neglect.
Through my work I have come into contact with 100’s of dogs, both through grooming and visiting shelters. The two I see most of are Walkies Dogs and Alpets Poundies Rescue. Five of our gang have come directly or indirectly through these two.
Although I love all dogs, the ones that have come to live with us, I felt an instant connection with when first meeting. Some people will get this, I think it’s along the lines of they chose me. I’m happy to argue that it’s not too many dogs for our personal circumstances.
During a working day, I can engage with them at least every hour and a half..more usually every hour. When not working, they tend to be sat around my feet when resting, or playing in the garden. We are fortunate that we have large gardens and immediate access to fields in which to walk them. They are a large part of our life, so insurance, treatment and food costs come from what others may spend on going out. Breaks away are short and whilst we had six, camping was the norm, we have yet to attempt it with eight.
I was warned by someone with a lot of experience of a multi dog household, that you get to a point where one more doesn’t make a difference, to us that’s correct to our friends, I’m sure it does, they are somewhere I hope they are happy. Their company certainly provides a level of contentment.
For me I would suggest this is the limit for our circumstances (but then I thought that when No 6 came). All of our dogs get on, there is the occasional spat, but they are soon best buddies again.
If we were in the centre of town, in a small house, with limited walking opportunities, I would concede our tribe could be considered too big. We are fortunate to be where we are, and happy to share that with our gang. The greatest number I know with one person, outside a working or breeding environment is a lady I know with 29. She does have volunteer helpers, a large amount of land and all her pawpals are rescue or cast offs.
Like anything in life, I believe it’s having the knowledge and responsibility to know what is right for you. Two large breeds,in a confined space, with no exercise, would be too many. 30 with the right set up, right people and care, may not be.