If you follow me on instagram (@sharlzed), it would be hard to miss that I have just become a new fur-mum. Yes, some people have puppies (and I honestly thought I would be one of those), but it turns out I have a fur-child. You can tell this by the number of photos of the dog sleeping, eating, running and (oh I can’t describe the joy this brings me) wee-ing on the grass rather than on my newly cleaned wooden floors.
Everyone said – “You’ll end up doing all the hard work”, and they weren’t wrong. But I was ready for a dog. I haven’t had one since I was a child, and even then my experiences weren’t great. Poor old Honey, sent to romp in doggie heaven because of bad eczema (I remember sitting in the front of my Dad’s VW bus, under the tree, being told Honey wasn’t going to be our dog anymore). I was about 6 I think. Then there was the little Jack Russell, who as they are wont to do, ran away and got run over. I think I was 8. And that was pretty much it for my dogs. There was Lady – my Dad’s bull terrier, who was unjustifiably blamed (and yelled at by an hysterical me) for biting off the top of my 2-year old brother’s finger – when I was ten. For the record, he got his finger caught in one of those stable-style kitchen doors that slammed shut in a wind gust. Poor Lady. My other memory is of her drinking out the toilet bowl. My dad loved that dog. I should probably mention Steffie the Staffie, but I was long grown up and moved out of home by the time she was around.
So, I was ready for a dog. And it is a good thing too, because they are hard work. A lot like having children – you have to feed them, train them, be patient with them (not my strongest point), provide endless cuddles and attention. And, just like children, they have a mind of their own, that is not always aligned with mine. Ah, the frustration of independent thought 😉 I find I do a lot of wheedling with everyone in my family. Is that just me?
But the dog is such a blessing. His sheer enthusiasm for us – from his early morning bark to say “I am awake, wake up and love me”, to the jubilant wriggling that occurs when we come back home, forces me to stop and appreciate the moment. You have to pause and give him love, and it reminds me to take a breath and pause and give attention to the people I love too.
Working from home, it is gorgeous to have a little living thing at my feet, just quietly content to be near me. If I get up and make a cup of tea, he follows me and plops down beside me patiently. He is like a little shadow. A solid little shadow I have tripped over several times, but a delightful one all the same. And it means I have a reason to talk out loud – a habit I got into when my kids were babies and I haven’t managed to give up yet. A dog provides at least some semblance of an excuse for these random mutterings.
The children christened the dog Rocky long before we met him. It is an ironic name, since he is far more fur-ball than dog-of-steel. And they hate it when I call him Sylvester. A cultural reference far beyond their ken, they are convinced it will confuse him. So Rocky it is. Or Puppy. Or Dog. But only when they are not around.
Yes, I have a bad case of Puppy Love. And I would recommend it to everyone.