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Of course, furry family members mean it’s not all play and no work. Gould happily participates in the everyday care of the animals. He’s currently working on the Dog Care Merit Badge for Boy Scouts. “So I have all these different things that I have to do which is really helping me bond,” he says.
As part of the Merit Badge, he regularly walks the dogs, and brushes and bathes them. He also tracks their weight and ensures that each one gets the right amount of food for its body size, which can be a challenge with two dogs of very different sizes.
“Daisy gobbles up her food, while Rusty slowly nibbles on his food throughout the day,” Gould says. “So one of the problems we would have is, Daisy would gobble up the food, and then Rusty would leave and she’d come and eat all his food. So we’re feeding them separately now.”
Training is another aspect of the Merit Badge. Daisy brought a few tricks with her from her days on the big screen. But Gould’s also taught her a few new things, such as how to lie down and roll over. She’ll also “speak” and “shake.”
While the experience of training has been fun, particularly when Gould gets to share Daisy’s tricks with his friends, he admits it takes a lot of motivation and patience. “Training is definitely difficult, but it’s something that you should do,” he says.
In addition to being part of his pets’ everyday care, Gould also participates in their wellness care, visiting the veterinarian regularly for checkups and vaccinations. “Just like how we have to go to the doctor to check up on things and make sure we’re all healthy, our pets have to go and we have to make sure they’re healthy,” he says.
Gould stresses the importance of regular veterinary care because unlike us, our pets can’t talk. “It’s very important to take our pets, especially, because with humans we can sense maybe there’s something wrong. If there’s something wrong with our pet, sometimes they can’t tell us and we might think they are OK, but really they can have a problem with them.”
What about the future? Does Gould see pets as being part of his life? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” In fact, he says he’s already thinking about owning a big ranch when he retires and having a whole bunch of different kinds of dogs. “I’d like seven different kinds of dogs just on my ranch,” he says. “That would be my dream retirement.”
In other words, it would be a very difficult life without a pet, Gould says. “They’re like my family, so if I lost one of them, you know, it’d be like losing one of my family members. My dogs, they have their own personalities and habits that I just love, and I would hate to be without them.
“I think a dog is one of the best things that a kid like me could have,” Gould says. “They’re therapeutic, they’re great companions, and they’re going to be with you through the long run in life, however long they live.”
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