At last my new forever friend has found me.
When I was a child there was always a dog around; Rip, Aunty Gracie’s dog; Peter, my Grandad’s dog, then Patch and Smudge at home. When I first started teaching and lived in a flat with my much loved and mourned friend, Pat, we got a Basset Hound called Henry. He was the greediest dog in the world and we just could not keep him, so he ended up living in the lap of luxury (and drinking pints of beer I heard), with Pat’s mum and dad!
I have had two faithful dogs in my life since I got married and had children. The first was Nellie, a Miniature Wire-haired Dachshund, (blind in one eye hence the name Nellie from Nelson), that I got when she was just 10 weeks old. I chose the smallest dog I could find as my young son was wary of dogs. Having always loved dogs I wanted to introduce him to a breed that would be smaller than he was and therefore non-threatening. Nellie became our adored family pet through 3 more children, two house moves and a divorce! Nellie had such a distinctive character; funny, cute and with an intense devotion to the children. When I was at work and the children were at school, Nellie would squeeze under the gate and take herself off to my mum’s for the day to wait for our return. Mum lived in the same road as us and people were always amused to see this tiny dog trotting along purposefully as if going to the office!
In the record-breaking hard winter of 1982 when we were snowbound for weeks and Nellie couldn’t go out without disappearing into a snow drift, we were adopted by a cat called Sommy (after Somerton Lock where he was fished out of the canal as a kitten). Nellie and Sommy became inseparable and we were never sure whether Sommy thought he was a dog, or Nellie thought she was a cat! Whatever it was, Nellie adopted the cat and for the rest of their lives they slept in the same bed. When Nellie was 171/2 years old she died of old age. Within a month Sommy died too, leaving an enormous hole in our lives.
After a gap when our only pets were hamsters we acquired our second faithful friend. It was in 1993 when my much loved dad died, that Jenny and I went with my mum to help her choose a puppy as a companion. She chose a beautiful black and white pedigree Cocker Spaniel which she called Tess. While my mum and I were focusing on Tess, Jenny had been chosen by another of the puppies, a blue roan cocker spaniel. This puppy followed jenny everywhere so, needless to say, as Mum went home with Tess, we went home with Blue.
Blue was the sweetest, most gentle and loving dog we could have had. Living opposite a park she got plenty of exercise but the one thing she hated was the car. It was hopeless trying to take her on journeys as she just cried from the minute we got her into it. However she had a lovely life, adored by all the family. She looked like a puppy all her life until she became very ill and sadly the vet advised us to let her go peacefully, which we did. She was a grand old 141/2 years.
By the time Blue died all my children had grown and flown (literally in 3 cases!), so I did not feel the need to get a new dog. I was happy taking Jenny’s dog, Frank, for walks while she was at work. But since Frank died at a ripe old age I have really missed having a dog to walk and love.
I have been searching the rescue and re-homing centres for weeks with no luck; until yesterday! Gerry was searching the internet at the hospital for puppies in the Cotswolds, and I was searching the internet from home. There were so many adorable puppies available and I did ring up for one or two, but then I spotted Dayna. She is not a puppy at 5 years old but she needed a new home. Something about her eyes appealed to me and I rang up and arranged a visit. From the minute I walked in I just knew she was the one. She is quiet, gentle and loves to be near people. She really knew how to get me hooked, sitting on my lap with her eyes looking deep into mine. Knowing how easily persuaded I am, I decided that I needed a more objective view ~ Gerry would have to meet her too! It was with some trepidation that I drove him to meet her straight from the hospital. But I need not have worried; she totally won him over too! We took her home there and then. We were given a lead and a raincoat for her but no bed, blanket or toys which surprised me. We bought new ones on the way home but sadly she had nothing familiar to comfort her.
Last night was difficult as she was in strange surroundings and she was a bit restless during the night. I probably did all the wrong things, putting her new bed right by my bed so she was near us, but eventually she fell asleep. She woke me ridiculously early ~ 6.30am! And totally untrue to form I got up and took her for a walk! She walked beautifully but did not wee until she got home! Bit of a hiccup there as it was in the hall, but fortunately there were towels and blankets down which saved the carpet!
Today she has eaten well and drunk her water and is still peaceful and adorable. Any advice on how to help her settle in smoothly will be gratefully received! And especially any advice on how to encourage her to wee outside!!