Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Catch up - the beginning

Forgive me, today will be a flurry of posts so I can get you up to where we are today.

Until we got Meg 4 years ago I had never had a dog as a household pet. I was brought up around dogs, indeed my first dog memory is of a German Shepherd that my dad had for his business. She was a guard dog and took her job very seriously but I remember her with fond affection as a companion during school holidays when I used to roam around Denshaw and Delph.

My father and his wife, Chris, have always had a house full of dogs. Chris is a dog trainer and watching her behave around dogs was wonderful. I paid some attention to how Chris behaved around her own dogs and those of others, but as I was not a dog owner myself it was more paying attention out of respect and interest in Chris than necessity. I hope that makes sense!

Before we got Meg Dean and I looked at our life and the kind of dog we wanted in regards to its breed attributes. We wanted something small but hardy for our visits to the Lake District in all weathers and seasons, and decided on a terrier type dog. I researched all terriers and their traits including their 'bad' points. We looked at our local rescue centre and visited several looking for a suitable terrier. We found Meg. Meg was a sad case with a sad history but the day she came home with us was her new beginning. Meg took to her 'training' very well and within 2 months we had a happy and well adjusted dog.

12 months later we decided Meg should have a companion. Our neighbour had rescued a bitch from a local rescue centre who 5 weeks later produced a litter of Parsons Terrier pups. We choose Colin. I will not be discussing Colin at this point. Sadly Colin died last Boxing Day aged 2 years and my wounds are still very raw.

Meg pinned for Colin and we missed having 2 dogs so we found Ghyll. Ghyll was a tiny bundle of spoiled fluff having come from a household with 3 girls who picked him up and mollycoddled him constantly. Ghyll however adjusted very, very quickly to our household and his role/position within it.

Life was good, the pace was slow and calm. I still do not know what possessed me to look at other dogs in July. I missed Colin and his energy and in all honesty I think I was looking for his replacement, another dog to fill my days with mental and physical stimulation. As much as I adore Meg and Ghyll they are plodders and I missed the uplifting energy I shared with Colin. As soon as I saw Jack I called out to Dean, this was the dog. He had bright eyes, he was alert and he really needed a new home.

We learned however upon collecting him that he was not 3 months old, indeed he was 7/8 months old. BUT we had made a commitment to Jack. The drive home was a nightmare. Jack's cage was so small he could not lie down in it, I should have taken one of our crates but when the owner said she had one I thought it would have been suitable. Jack howled and barked all the way home, and I did not blame him one little bit.

The introduction to Meg and Ghyll was the stuff nightmares are made of. As we later learned Jack had never been socialised with other dogs, walked on a lead, given boundaries or even a hint at how he was expected to behave around others. Ghyll however took this whirling dervish of a dog in his stride and within 15 minutes had Jack bounding around, tail wagging. I allowed the dogs to behave like dogs. I did not interfere with Meg and Ghyll as they were the ones to show Jack how to be a dog. Jack ran round the garden in circles all day and by 7 o'clock I was exhausted just by watching him. I was sat in the middle of the garden waiting for Jack to approach me. I did not force his attention I let him come to me when he himself became curious as to what this silly woman was doing. I did not pet him nor talk to him indeed I did not even look at him, I just watched the overall situation.

So we now have the household standing at 3 dogs, 1 exhausted wife, 1 bewildered son and 1 husband who came home once all this energy had been dissipated.

Regrets? Yes some, not in the dogs but in the people that were involved. I regret believing that this '3' month old pup needed rehoming due to an asthmatic child. I regret believing that everyone who has a dog cares for its physical and mental well being. Would I do it the same again? No. The next time I will ensure that Dean is with me when we collect a dog. Dean has it in him to have said 'thanks, but no thanks' to a sad, unhappy dog with a heart and soul so big you can see it in his eyes. Not because he is hard hearted, but because he is realistic, practical and aware of our limitations.

But we have made our bed and we shall lie in it. Our blog is going to be how we now make that bed comfortable.

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