Saturday, 22 November 2014

My Four Legged Fur Babies

My other pets are more mainstream than Lady O.

My boy dog Buddy I brought from a farmer who’d bred his working sheepdogs and had a litter of seven pups – four male, three female. I made contact with the farm and spoke with his wife, having already decided that I wanted a male pup. She agreed I could go and view them the following day and when I got there she’d already separated the males from the females.

One male puppy was very keen to come and say hello, and was the first to walk over to Daddy P and myself and the first to climb up for a cuddle. We decided he was the one for us, as he’d effectively chosen us, and we paid for him and took him home that afternoon. He was the son of champion sheepdogs and he came from good stock, with a good background and was already fully house trained at eight weeks old. He came everywhere with me after that apart from work, and if Daddy P went to work then Buddy went with him (at the time, he worked in a kennels)
Buddy at 8 weeks old

At the time we shared a house with another couple and their two dogs. It was hectic at times having three dogs in the household, but on the whole it wasn't an issue. At times it became worse than others when they fought and after one unfortunate occasion we couldn't allow all three of them to be in the garden together.

We moved house to our own place in April 2007 and for a while our only pet was Buddy. Both Daddy P and I were working full time and he’d be left at home alone all day. We started thinking about getting another dog to be a companion for him. By that December I was working at a police station as a station clerk, and one of my duties was taking in stray dogs that members of the public had caught and handing them over to the dog warden. One evening in December two men brought in a small female dog. She was black and white and her markings appeared to be Border Collie, but she had curlier hair than any Border I’d ever seen and she was quite small, around the size Buddy had been as a six to eight month old puppy. The story was that these two guys had found her walking around in the road by a local Tesco store, but the police station most local to there had been shut so they’d continued down the road to the next town, and wound up handing her in at the police station I was working at. I took her in and contacted the dog warden. There was no answer, so I left a message. In the meantime, the dog was hungry and cold so I let her stay in the office with me and made her a bed of blankets from the kennel block and gave her a bowl of water and some dog biscuits (we always had bits and bobs about for when the police dogs dropped in and needed a rest) The kennels were good for daytime accommodation in the event of a police dog needing a rest but this was December, the conditions were freezing and snow was forecast for that night – I wasn't prepared to leave this small dog there overnight in case I returned in the morning and she hadn't made it.

I made the decision at the end of the night once the time came for me to lock up and the dog warden still hadn't called back, I made the sergeant on duty aware of my plans and left a second message with the dog warden – I took the stray home with me for the night, to return her the following day for the dog warden to collect.

We called her puppy that evening and Buddy wasn't best impressed. We kept her on a lead so she couldn't wander off and make Buddy all territorial. Overnight she slept in the bigger spare room – it had laminate floor so any accidents would be easily cleaned and I put down old blankets and some newspaper for her along with a bowl of water. She howled a lot to begin with but she soon settled down and slept.

The following day I returned her to the police station and the dog warden collected her. I’d already ascertained she had no chip, so I told the warden I was interested  in rehoming her if nobody came forward to claim her. She had seven days at the kennels before she would be put up for rehoming.

Seven days took us to 20th December when I rang the dog warden first thing and asked what had happened about the stray. They confirmed she was unspayed, unchipped and nobody had contacted them to claim her so she was up for adoption. I went to collect her after work that night. She had lost even more weight and due to the bad weather she’d been urinating in a wet run and then running and jumping around in it, so she was covered in urine and rainwater and stank to high heaven.

I got her home and we gave her a bath and some dinner. We kept her on a lead to start with until Buddy got used to her being around and then we allowed her to be free.

As it was so close to Christmas, the name Holly seemed apt, and it goes very well with Buddy!

Five days before Christmas 2007 we adopted Holly

So that was Christmas 2007, we’ve had the two furry hellhounds since. At times I could cheerfully run away from them screaming but at other times they’re affectionate, loving and essential members of our household.

Buddy and J play and run around together for ages. They’re the terrible two, and the pair of them are as mischievous as one another. Buddy is an old dog now bless him, but he still acts like a puppy, with his constant jumping and barking and wanting to play fetch all the time. He can be a grumpy old sod at times but that’s our Buddy for you.

Holly on the other hand has only just realised she can play with J – she was very wary of him as a baby and as a young child and has only just started to play tug of war with him and playing with him / asking him for tummy tickles. She is at least seven years old now but we’ve no idea exactly as we don’t know what happened to her before she arrived at the police station that cold December evening. She has some serious underlying issues but on the whole she’s a very affectionate dog, though she clearly isn’t pedigree Border Collie like Buddy as she’s never got to adult Border Collie size. I would say she is probably crossed with Springer Spaniel given her size and her corkscrew curls as well as her temperament.

Either way, neither of our dogs are particularly young anymore, and neither of them are perfect – but hey, neither are we. I did have some brilliant assistance with the both of them a couple of years ago from a lovely woman I know called Jacqui who provides TTouch Technique which I found very beneficial for both dogs. Unfortunately due to my own laziness the lessons weren’t kept up as they should have been after Jacqui’s original day with us, so bad habits slipped back in and now I’m back to square one and needing Jacqui’s guidance again! (hopefully I can arrange something with her soon, she’s absolutely brilliant at it and I would highly recommend TTouch as something that any owner should try if you’re having behavioural issues with your animal)

They're both such characters - Buddy is totally bonkers in his everyday behaviour, but he's very loyal and will shout very loudly at anyone who comes to our house. If I take him out with me he's absolutely devoted and protects me faithfully. He's a chunky boy for a Border Collie - they're usually more slender and sleek but he is a pet rather than a working dog. When I was heavily pregnant he would come and stand beside the bed and help me out of bed in the morning. When I got stuck on the sofas he'd come and stand as close as he could and allow me to grab hold of him then he'd help me up by walking away there, too.

Holly on the other hand although bonkers is a much more friendly bonkers. She's going crazy at the stranger at the door not because she wants to get him out of her house but because she's desperate to have a fuss. She's very much a mans dog, and if there is a selection of men available she's spoiled for choice but when there's only women around she becomes less fussy! Its because of her, and the way she was acting toward me, that made me do a pregnancy test when I found out I was expecting J. Holly had gone from being Daddy P's shadow to being mine, and not allowing me to do anything alone, which made my friend suspicious and she said to me I should do a test.

As much as they drive me bonkers my two dogs are such wonderful characters and I love them to pieces. I’m very proud of my four legged fur babies!

Love, Mummy P xxx

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