How quickly life can change! Last month, we were a family of four with two cats. This month, our lives are turned upside down with the arrival of a furry bundle of puppy! We picked him up two weeks ago and from the moment we got him home, we knew that our lives would never be the same.
It’s taken a long time to decide that it was the right time to get a dog. They tie you down, they need taking for walks, you can’t spontaneously decide to drop in on cat-owning friends … don’t tell me – I know all the cons; I’ve spent years spelling them out to the family! There was no way that I was going to get lumbered with looking after a pooch that everyone else had grown out of by the time he’d lost all his puppy fur. I had visions of my husband arriving home late for work and being too tired to take the dog out in the pouring rain. I could see my daughters giving him a quick pat on the way to school but being too distracted with everything else when they came home to spend any time with him. So we waited. And we waited.
It may surprise you to know that out of all of us, I’m the one most used to dogs. I had a dog when I met my husband. I’d spent my school years walking a dog for a neighbour. I had a Saturday job in a dog grooming parlour. I’d been desperate for a dog from being very small, intending to work with dogs when I left school (although that never happened) and yet I was determined to wait until I knew that the family was ready for the commitment.
And now they are. Our pup’s only just had his first injections so there are still a few weeks to wait before we can start to explore beyond the garden, but already we’re becoming much more of an outdoor family. My husband and I will sit outside and chat while our dog snuffles around in the bushes. My girls are expending more energy than ever before trying to encourage him to chase a tennis ball but finding that they’re retrieving it themselves. My Dad, having refused to get another dog when our last one died, has a special light in his eyes again when he talks to our new arrival.
Our pup, with his boundless energy and unconditional love, has endeared himself to each of us – although possibly not the cats, just yet! One of them permanently looks as if he has just come out of the tumble dryer, fizzing and spitting whenever he sees the pup. The other is calm and disdainful, daring our exuberant baby to come too close. It’s only been two weeks. I know that in time, they’ll get on - once the dog realises who’s really in charge!
And I also know that whilst there will be times when the wind is howling and the thought of a walk is less than appealing, we’ll be out there in our wellies and we’ll feel better for it. My husband calls our new dog a ‘health and wellbeing dog’ and I think he’s probably right.