Believe me when I say that I'm no dog expert, but I'm slowly getting there. Little CC had wanted a dog forever-and-a-day, or at least five years, which is a long time for a child. We had already indulged her 'need' for a pet when we bought Sandy and Pebbles, our beautiful guinea pigs, back in April 2011. They are a delight. But, I wasn't quite ready for the commitment of a dog.
People said to me 'You can't have a dog, you work!' and 'How will you cope?', 'What will happen when you go to France..?' whilst all around me, on the school run, and on holiday I saw working people, with families and dogs, damn well getting on with it. Why not us too, I thought ?
So we got a dog. I wanted a rescue dog. I knew we couldn't get a puppy, they really are too much work if you are at work. Although, saying that, I did find a place that will come and see your puppy during the day if you need it. I tell you, if you have the money, you really can get anything done for you and your pet.
I also wanted a dog that would fit in with our lifestyle of running and activity. A relatively youngish dog then.. hopefully with not too many 'problems'. We registered with some rescue centres, we never heard anything back. We called rescue centres, having fallen in love with a dog we had seen on-line, only to be told that said Pooch was in Spain, or had already gone to another family, or just anything really. I started to feel fobbed off... We looked at a lovely greyhound, but he was too big and powerful for little CC and would never be able to be let off a lead and would probably need a muzzle. I knew it wouldn't work.
At out local rescue centre's open day, where we had seen the greyhound, we saw a cute little white terrier and registered our interest. 'We will consider you..' said the staff at the centre. For two days we held our breath, and then the call came 'We're really sorry but the terrier has gone to someone else as they were at home all day ..' I think I cried when I got off the phone. 'I'm going to bloody well get a puppy!' I said to BB feeling forlorn, overspilling with mummy-doggy-love.. I looked into the place that would come and check your pup during the day. I knew it could be done. But I knew I didn't really want a puppy, I wanted a dog that needed a good, loving home. And then the call came.
'We've got a dog that we think would suit you'. He's a lakeland terrier called 'Dusty'.' His previous owner was working long hours and couldn't give him the time and exercise he needed. He doesn't know his name, so you can rename him if you choose. Oh, and he loves running.'. I paused, was this really the right thing to do, the right time to get a dog ? He was gorgeous and just the dog for us, but I was still apprehensive. Then CC met him, and BB met him, and I went for a run with him and all was perfect. The nice lady from the rescue centre came and did a house check, all was fine.. Fences secure, places for doggy to sleep etc;
We all saw him for a final time on Saturday morning, and as there was an open day the next day, so we arranged to collect him the following Wednesday. I had made my mind up, this little doggy was going to be ours! We carried on with our usual Saturday, CC went off to her dance class, and we were headed for the supermarket. We went via Pets At Home as I wanted to see what I needed to get for doggy's arrival .. We were back in the car when my phone rang. 'It was the centre, if it's OK with you, we don't see any reason why you can't pick up Dusty today'. Well, I could have cried, we arranged to go back at 1630, and we dashed into Pets At Home and got a bed, toys, a blanket, food and water bowl, food etc. I already had a lead I had bought the previous weekend.
CC was still at her dance class. She knew nothing of this. All of the items were at home ready and we went to collect her from dancing. 'Why are we going this way home Mummy?' I fobbed her off, 'I need to quickly pop to the supermarket ..' 'Why are we turning in here then?' she asked as we approached the centre. 'CC, I said, guess what? We're getting your little doggy today, right now'. We were both so thrilled.
We got our little man and brought him home...
That was four months ago. Dusty, aka Dusty Dog, or DD on the blog here, is a clever boy, who totally knew his own name, when given a little time and attention. He sits for treats, is perfect at night and loves to run. He also pulls on the lead (we're working on it..), and bites holes in the fence if he gets a sniff of fox from the other side, but you can't have everything right ?
This is him in my arms on Sunday with one of his home-made treats. He's a beautiful dog, but animals are expensive. His insurance is £30 a month, annual check up and vaccine is another £50 approximately. Our trips to France incur another vet visit both before we leave and before we return which is about another £60. That is before he has eaten any food, or been groomed, wormed or de-flead. (is that a word?) I was and am prepared for those costs, but I can imagine it could come as a shock if you hadn't counted it all up. That's one of the reasons that the family pet is the first to go when a family's financial situation changes...
All in all, although there are advantages to training a dog from a pup, I'm glad we went with DD, our beautiful little rescue pooch. Dusty Dog, we are your forever family, and we love you.