We have had the joy and the frustration since May of having a new addition to our family one cocker spaniel pup who is now nearly six months old. It has only been a few months but it feels in many ways as if he has been living with us for ever and most of the time I think he has made the family complete.
However it has taken both Andy and me a long while to be persuaded that getting a dog was a good idea and alot of persuading by my daughter. This is despite the fact that both of us had dogs as children and we both have very fond memories of Patch and Snoopy. Snoopy was also a cocker spaniel and from the moment she came to live with us as a child I loved her to bits and walked her for miles as we really grew up together. The day she died I broke my heart as it really felt as if a part of me had died too. So you would think that I would have wanted a dog earlier wouldn’t you?
Well being an adult came into it as the years went by instead of remembering the joy of owning a dog all I could think of was the downsides. The mess, chewing our furniture, mud on the carpet, the tie of a dog and so forth and admit when my daughter started to ask as a young child it was a firm no from me. No this would be lots and lots of hard work and didn’t I have enough to do with a young family?
However children are persuasive creatures and she didn’t give up and reading to her a brilliant series of books about Jess a Borders collie set in the Scottish Borders about a girl and her collie Jess I began to remember what a special thing it is having a dog. How it teaches you to look after someone. You could say it teaches you early doors the basis of being a parent putting someone else before your needs whither that is walking when you don’t want to or giving a cuddle when you want to be alone. Snoopy for me was also the person I would talk to when I had fallen out with the whole world and she always convinced me with a lick and her big brown eyes that I was worth it. Later Snoopy got the growing up pains of boy rejection and also when my beloved papa died Snoopy was who sat with me as I cried and cried not saying a word (she was clever but not that clever) just cooring in and making me feel so much better. So two years ago I came round to my daughters thinking but with still the reservations of the adult worrying about the house.
We still had to persuade Andy though and that took alot longer but gradually he came round to the view and the fact that our daughter had saved £100 for the pup helped him realise that she was really serious so it was agreed.
We met our pup one day in April and for me and my daughter it was love at first sight. For my son it wasn’t but a gradual interest the more we visited the pup and for Andy again an interest and approval at the pup we had chosen. I must admit at this point I still had many reservations about it the adult in me coming through and also doubts about doing the best for this wee pup.
And so the pup came home and I would be lying if I said its been plain sailing it hasn’t. There have been times when he’s eaten my shoes, hidden my son’s in the garden, torn round the house at mass speed and ripped up yet another plastic bag that I wonder what I have done. But in the main I am loving having a dog again. Love the fact that as a family we have to go out on more walks we always have but we need to do so daily and I find walking more gives us all more balance in our lives and like her father before her my daughter is more likely to tell you what is bothering her on a walk than just coming out with it in the house. I love the smell of the pup when he has woken up from sleep and I confess I love having someone to talk to when I am here on my own. And I love his character pure mischief most of the time and his love of having a bath makes me laugh even though if he does jump into the bath with the kids the bathroom is more of a mess than usual.
I also like the fact that I can see that both children already are growing with him and learning what it means to take care of someone not to mention I have caught them both cuddling him and telling him their woes or their good news. As for Andy the pup adores him and goes mad when he comes home at night particularly when he then takes him for a walk. Andy would not admit to it but we have even caught him giving the pup a cuddle and talking to him and I know walking after work helps de stress what can be a stressful working life.
So in conclusion our pup has been a welcome addition to our family. Yes he can be exasperating and yes he can create mess worse than the kids and yes he has chewed things but he has also given us lots and lots of love and reminded me that you don’t get unconditional love from anyone else but a dog. It has also made me reflect that perhaps as adults we should take time in our lives to let the child in us out and take a risk.