I haven’t blogged of late. Not because things have been particularly difficult (although they have, from time to time), nor because I have nothing to say (I do! I do!), but because in the last month our home life has been turned upside down by a small dog named Dorothy.
It has been a bit of a shock. We are not, or were not, ‘doggy’ people. We got annoyed with the dogs who barked as we ran past and the owners who didn’t pick up their dogs’ poos. We often found the smell in doggy houses rather unpleasant and if I’m perfectly honest, we probably thought most doggy people were a bit soft in the head.
When the children started to badger us for a dog, we found every reason we could to dissuade them. Along with all the arguments listed above, there were: We won’t be able to go abroad on holiday; you will argue over it; it will wreck the house; it will upset the cats; there are too many dogs around here already; it will molt everywhere; we will end up having to look after it, not you; it will be very expensive. And each of these points has already proved itself to be true. But…
Our sad eyed bundle of fur has already given our family an almost indescribable boost. Indeed I feel quite overwhelmed (in a slightly teary and really rather soft-headed way) thinking about how our lives have changed for the better since she came to live with us. The parallels with adoption are there, although unlike our children, Dorothy was one pampered pup (we’re talking Farleys Rusks and warm goats milk at bedtime) before she came. Still, like our children Dorothy has had to leave all she knew before and make a new life for herself here with new owners and without her mum, dad, brothers and sisters. So we are in familiar’ish territory there at least.
And our daily lives have once again been transformed, for better and worse! For a start, she has given us a whole new routine: We get up early to feed her and take her out and plan our day around her (alongside the children’s school and activities, of course) so at the very least we are ready earlier, getting more fresh air and more exercise. She has given our family a new focus and dynamic – we no longer put all our attention onto the children’s behaviour and, although both have complained that they get less attention, they also love her and are slowly accepting that there might be more to our home life than their own needs and wants. It’s hard to be cross when she nips or wees on the carpet, after all, she’s just a baby! – our baby – and sweet as a nut, which helps.
Most importantly (and thank you Mizz for pointing this out before we got her because it really tipped the do-we / don’t-we balance in her favour) she gives us all endless, unconditional love. Being joyfully greeted every time you come down stairs or back from the shops with the waggiest tail, the sloppiest licks and softest cuddles, really is all it’s cracked up to be and makes us feel truly, specially blessed. Seeing daily behavioural changes based on our actions and their consequences is an added bonus! And coming as she has when our children are at their puberty-approaching grumpiest, the timing could not have been better. What is picking up poo with a bag when you are used to scraping it off the walls? Barking? Pah! Chewed furniture and wet doggy pong? Bring em on! Thank you Miss Dorothy. You have changed my life.