One final canine moan: the hand-washing.

When we got a dog, I imagined it was all dog walks in meadows and fireside snuggles. I had no idea how much dogs poo.

Forgive the graphic content (we’re used to that here anyway), but my word there’s a lot of it. She’s like a factory. In the past, I’d seen it on the ground or in parks thanks to careless owners. I’m aware of their need, but our cockapoo... well the clue’s in the name I suppose.

Of course, we’re the good ones – we pick it up (in bags, I should add – oh and don’t skimp on getting cheap value versions. Pay the extra for ones without holes in, trust me). But it does mean hand-washing galore. I always wash hands before cath-using – but now I really do it, no pretending. I’d rather not gain a dog but lose hygiene.

So, my knuckles are red-raw. I now wash my hands before and after the day’s many toilet visits, after dog walks, before eating – heck, sometimes I just wash them for the sake of it because it seems like I haven’t for a while. A dog in the house just makes a clean freak like me crave an eternal bath.

I suppose us catheterizers are special. We MUST put ourselves first – whether that means hygiene or nipping to the bathroom before the dog gets to go out. I don’t want to risk hospitalization – if I’m stuck there, letting the dog out becomes even trickier.

I’d recommend getting a pet, by all means – they’re great companions – but don’t forget who’s the master, whose needs should come first. So, my advice? Put the dog second. If you need the toilet, go to the toilet – and “sit!”

The opinions expressed here are of a personal and anecdotal nature, and are in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.

Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone. Call and talk to a member of the support team today, on 010 880 3833.