There is a reason that I have not written as much recently. That reason is small, black, undisciplined, incorrigible and in possession of the most beautiful pair of brown eyes that I have ever gazed upon. Yes, we got a puppy.
I am not really a dog person, I prefer cats – I admire their disdain and independence. A dog is the type of commitment that terrifies me. Plus, I hate the smell of wet dog. So really, dog ownership was not high on my list of things to do.
The children have been hankering after a puppy for a long time and I have consistently vetoed the idea, but a gradual thawing in my resistance has been in the offing for the last year. The consensus on the positive benefits of dog ownership on children’s mental health seem to be unanimous. Anxiety is calmed, nerves are soothed and the unconditional love that a dog offers, boosts sadly eroded self-esteem. Now that I am more mobile, a dog seemed like the perfect reason to get outside daily and find time for walking.
All puppies are insanely gorgeous and instantly lovable of course, but I was conscious of the dynamics of our family and wanted to find a breed that would be energetic yet calm, playful yet biddable and loyal. Also, not too big. As much as I love the gentle Labrador, they have the uncanny knack of knocking me behind the knees in greeting, not to be recommended when you only have one fully working leg.
We saw four different litters of puppies; Border terriers, Lakeland terriers, Whippets and finally spaniels. We were definite fans of the Lakeland and Border terriers, however I had reservations about the relentlessness of terriers, which I had been warned had poor recall. The Whippets were absolutely adorable but perhaps too reserved by nature. The spaniels were perfect. Mostly Cocker spaniel with a tiny hint of Springer, the mother was a beautiful gun dog, highly trained and very affectionate. We visited the litter, the day after they had opened their eyes for the first time. The boys and I fell in love at first sight. Although it was difficult to select just one from the litter, we opted for the runt, a small bundle of nerves and licks.
Wolfie, as he has been christened, has been with us now for five weeks. Five weeks in which he has woken me before 6 am every morning asking for a wee. Five weeks in which I have failed to do more than 10 minutes of work without interruption. Five weeks in which he has systematically chewed every skirting board, chair leg and misplaced sock in the house. Five weeks in which he has grown from a reserved, tiny ball of fur into a gangly, confident and boisterous 14 week old puppy.
I think this is just the start of our adventures.