My brother and I always yearned for a dog when we were growing up. But a suburban block, inadequate fences and a flock of chooks placed that dream in the too-hard basket. Now that I'm a parent, I understand where my mum and dad were coming from. A dog is a huge responsibility and their plates were already full.
We may not have had a pup to call our own but we did have two adoptive dogs. That's what we called them, anyway. Not that they ever stayed long and we were in no way responsible for them but a few times each week Max and Sam, a black and gold labrador, would wander (or waddle, as old labradors do) up from their home two streets away and perch themselves on our front deck. Of course, the allure of sausages and chops was their greatest incentive, but I'm pretty sure they enjoyed the company, too. Regardless of their docile nature and begging-for-love eyes, Max and Sam were the only dogs that I've adored. It's safe to say that I'm not a dog person. In fact, it takes a pretty special dog to warrant my attention or my affection. In the same breath, I appreciate that a dog is an asset to family life. A fluffy companion is a sight to behold and yet beyond the cute-factor is work and responsibility - for everyone in the family, not just the parents. Daniel and I often talk about getting a dog but it's not a leap we'll make till we own our own home and have enough space. We talk about preferred breeds, training programs, making memories and, to be practical, the financial cost of a beloved hound.
In the meantime, we get to enjoy Sadie. She belongs to Daniel's sister and lives at his mum's house and she's gorgeous. Half beagle, half husky, she is incredibly well trained and absolutely fantastic with the children. Che's fear of dogs has significantly subsided since Sadie arrived, Poet takes it upon herself to tell Sadie what to do and where to do it (she always obliges) and Percy crawls around after her and tries his best to pull her tail. She may drop a lot of hair but she's a mighty fine vacuum cleaner and has the sweetest nature. But Sadie, like all dogs, requires health care and baths and haircuts and flea treatment. It's the part of dog ownership that doesn't seem all that appealing to me at the moment...it just looks like more work! But, I could be swayed. Dr Katrina Warren of Dr Harry Cooper (I loved that show!) has joined forces with Bravecto - the only oral treatment to offer extended protection against fleas and paralysis ticks. Together they're on the hunt for Australia's smartest dog and they're spreading the message about full year flea and paralysis tick protection, too.
Considering the fact that I spent last night de-nitting the children (and embarking on the rigmarole of stripping all the beds and washing linen and towels), the thought of one oral tablet four times a year for the dog sounds like a very appealing option.
So how does it work? Once a season you give your dog a Bravecto tasty chew. It provides effective control of fleas within eight hours and pre-existing paralysis tick infestations within 24 hours. It's a straightforward, fuss-free option for flea and paralysis tick treatment and it's available for dogs of all sizes and breeds.
So where can you buy it? Bravecto is available at leading vet clinics and pet stores across Australia and you can register for a free Bravecto reminder service so you don't lose track of treatments. But the good news is that I've got 20 packs (worth a total of $1500) to give away.
To enter all you need to do is post a sweet photo of your smart dog on instagram and tag @bravectoau and @practisingsimplicity. In your comment make sure you include #pssmartdogsearch. You've got till 1st June to enter and I'll touch base with the 20 winners shortly afterward.