“The dog is our family member, his health and well-being is crucial for us.”
Interview with Kriszta D. Tóth
Kriszta D. Tóth is very busy: she is the founder and editor-in-chief of the wmn.hu lifestyle and culture magazine; besides, she writes books and works as a Hungarian goodwill ambassador of UNICEF. The first thing that comes to our mind about her is that she is bright-eyed, smiling and always has a good question. This time, we interview her about responsible pet ownership, animal health, and of course, about her “tiny” pet animal, Ringo, the German Mastiff.
Where does the love of animals come from?
Ever since I can remember, I have loved animals. When I was born, my parents lived at my grandparents’. As soon as I got home from hospital, I was accompanied by the black puli of my grandpa and from then on the dog never left me. I was about 10-12 years-old when the first German Mastiff arrived at my family, he was the black and white mantled Athos.
Is this the reason why you chose such a big dog?
In England my husband had a big dog, in Kaposvár I also used to have a big one. Totally independently from each other, so it was not a question that our common dog was going to be a big one.
What is life like with such a big dog?
Funny and adorable. Ringo is a real character. A human in a dog’s body, we consider him our adopted son. But for a dog of his size, it is particularly important to set clear rules and limits that must be consistently kept. But I have never had such an affectionate dog who could love so much.
Could Ringo quickly fit into the family?
Relatively quickly, yes, but the “pack rules” had to be set at the very beginning. We knew that he would grow rapidly and he would be bigger and stronger than any of us. It was important to attend dog school with him and learn how to deal with each other’s character.
What sort of exercise does Ringo do every day? Does he move a lot?
Every morning one of us takes him running to the nearby field, we go for walks in the neighborhood or we play football with him in the garden.
Has Ringo had a major illness? If yes, will you tell us about what happened?
Thanks god, he has not had severe disease, just injuries. Once his thigh was badly torn and had to be sutured several times, then he got traumatic fever so he healed very slowly.
How often do you visit the vet?
I can’t really tell exactly how often, I’d rather say when it is necessary. We go for regular vaccination and disinfestations and of course, any time we see Ringo needs a doctor.
Have you ever experienced an urgent case when you had to rush to the vet?
Well, it was’t specifically urgent but rather exciting and looking back, a bit funny case when Ringo’s nail got an inflammation and it hurt him so much that he did not let us close. We called the veterinarian who suggested giving him a mild sedative and take him to the doctor. Yes, that sounds easy; however, the dog reacted almost immediately and sprawled on the carpet. So in the end the vet had to come to us because we were unable to put Ringo into the car.
Do you go to screenings with Ringo? If yes, to what kind of screenings?
When we take him to vaccinations, the veterinarian always listens to his heart. For such a big dog it is crucial to pay attention to heart rhythm. Besides, we are aware of the diseases that might affect big dogs such as hip dysplasia. It is an inherited disease but still you have to be prepared for it. I have heard about cases when developed dogs had to cope with such problems.
What advice would you give to our readers, how should they take care of their pets’ health?
I don’t really like giving advice in any topic, including this one. I’d rather let the experts do so. I only ask something: please take care of the health of your pets, pay attention to the sings, when the animal “tells” you something is wrong. Just as with humans, you should go to preventive examinations and have the animals checked regularly.
How important is it for you to have the most advanced examinations available for animals?
Since the dog is our family member, his health and well-being is crucial for us. It is important to have him in expert hands and that every necessary examination is accessible to him. The availability of MRI examinations is great news, particularly as big dogs have had limited access to it so far. In the newly-opened MRI centre Ringo can also be examined with the device which can detect several diseases in time that our pets cannot tell us about, we can only see they have a problem
What advice do you have for those who want a big dog in their home?
Without the sense of humour and the ability to laugh at yourself, don’t have such a big dog. Yes, Ringo is huge and thinks he is a human: he sits on the sofa to watch TV and sometimes wants to sit in your lap as a pet dog. You need an extra-size dog-waste bag and it is impossible not to notice him. But he loves the family, the kids, and of course, we love him back.