DH and I are sharing this year’s Anniversary and Christmas gifts: we’ve ordered ourselves a designer puppy. Normally I’m happy to get a rescue dog, and all my cats have been rescue moggies, but after the episode with my last beloved beagle, Boots, I couldn’t do it again. I need a dog I can train and who will meet the living requirements of our family.
Boots was a fabulous true beagly beagle. He had the most astonishing howl, the loudest I have ever heard. He was a wanderer and would regularly escape from the garden or house to terrorise the traffic with his insouciant and completely non-existent road sense. He bullied other dogs smaller than him but was reasonably terrified of dogs larger than him. He stank, all the time, regardless of whether he was washed or not. He had a voracious appetite, not helped by my neighbour feeding him when he thought I wasn’t looking. And he invariably tried to hump people’s legs. A disaster of a dog.
He had to wear a chain lead on his walks because he pulled so hard he could drag a reasonably sized person behind him without too much difficulty, and when he wanted to smell something, he would plant his legs and hunker down into the ground so that you couldn’t move him. A shocker. He developed several age-related ailments, including, not altogether unexpectedly, Pancreatitis, from eating too much fat. In his old age he grew these enormous cysts on his body which failed to impede his movement but looked very odd, and caused him no pain. He had most of his rotting teeth removed and cost us a small fortune in vet bills when he either had a pancreatitis attack or got hit by a car (3 times). He was a cheerful, very friendly, willful beast, and he was a marvelous, calm old dog – a much better companion than when young.
He died at 14 years old when a visiting tradesperson left the gate open, despite a dozen signs telling him to close the gate. Boots, not having any road sense and being guided purely by his nose, left the yard and wandered down our busy road. He died quickly, painlessly and with just a scratch on his temple from a driver unable to swerve her car to avoid him. We were all in tears, that day. Me, the car driver, even the wretched, stupid, careless tradie.
The grief I still feel at times has been astonishing, and the grief I felt at the time was enormous, heart rending. The click click of his nails on the floor haunted me until recently, and I’m STILL cleaning up his hair that got trapped in the corners of rooms or underneath chairs. He shed hair like no tomorrow. But I’m better now, happier and ready to take on the challenge that is a new puppy. Besides, I’ve put my weight gain in recent months down to the fact that we’ve not had a dog to walk. Time to get a dog!
DH and I have chosen a Groodle. In the US they’re known as Goldendoodles, but in Australia, a doodle is also a willy. A pink torpedo. A euphemism. So a Groodle is a Golden Retriever x Poodle. The poodle is there to provide curly hair that doesn’t shed and the Golden Retriever is a dog breed known for its great behaviour with children and families. Apparently they are really trainable and very smart. Hooray.
We are getting a black Groodle, probably female, so she will be called Poppy. If it’s a he, the dog will be called Zebedee. We went to see them today as they were getting their worming treatment. Here’s a few stupidly cute pictures.
They are too adorable for words, but black dogs are notoriously hard to photograph as they lack shadow features. It’s all black on black. I really liked the one in my arms there – a very placid, sleepy little curly haired puppy, she should be good with the children and visitors that come to the house. We get to make our final choice after New Year, when the puppies visit the vet for their desexing treatment.
Anyway, DH and I are of the same mind that bringing a family dog into the home will be the perfect addition to our household. A loving companion for both of us that will bring us joy and meaning. We already have a cat, but she’s rather a snooty thing, and doesn’t really like us much (perfect cat attributes). We’re looking forward to the experience of training a puppy, and it will be crazy here for a while, but I’m ready for the challenge! And what a brilliant Christmas and Anniversary gift. A gift of life and companionship. Apparently my mother-in-law loves dogs but they are getting too old to care for one, so I’ve promised to bring the puppy over to visit. So this gift is one that will benefit all of us. And the children-of-step are over the moon about a new puppy. Over the moon. I think this gift is so much better than any piece of jewellery or new piece of electronica, or anything. This is my perfect gift, chosen together, named together, loved together.
Happy Christmas, everyone!