Monday, 20 May 2013

A New Adventure.....!

Having been made redundant from my career in Estate Agency a few years ago and giving myself over to bringing up my two grandchildren for the last five years, it is now time to get out and try to make myself useful in the world again!

We have two dogs - one a rescue with severe separation anxiety - and a husband who works permanent nights so leaving them in the house whilst I go out to work, is the last thing I want to do!

So, I thought to myself whilst yomping across the park with the fluffs, what's my favourite thing in the world after my grandkids.....?  My children would have answered this without leaving a beat - dogs!

Dog-obsessed my Dad used to call me.  Like it's a bad thing...!

I actually prefer dogs to most humans.  Unlike humans, they don't lie, cheat or steal (...well, perhaps a little petty larceny here and there! LOL!) and unlike humans, they're ALWAYS happy to see you (...except when in possession of the subject of the petty larceny anyway!).

So, having been rather poorly over the last few years and having had my mobility crumble to a couple of yards leaning on sticks at one point, I am now on the mend and walking my dogs properly again! Whoop de whoop!

So it occurred to me, as I was walking a friends dog for her, why not try a little business walking other people's dogs for them?

It's become better understood by the public in recent years, that the dog is a pack animal and as such, is sociable.  Being left alone for eight to ten hours a day in the house (or worse - in the yard or garden) is just unacceptable treatment for your faithful friend, a friend who lives every moment just awaiting your return to him...

My friend can't be on her own in regard to needing a little help with her little dog - there must be other considerate dog-owners out there who are in need of a little help too.

I know there are a few 'professional' dog walkers in my area.  Some are very good and some....well, not quite what I'd want for my own dogs, to be honest.

Just a little background.
I fell in love with the idea of having a dog before I could even talk.

My Auntie Ann gave me a well-loved stuffed Scottie Dog that she had had as a child and from that day forward I went to sleep every night, praying that some miracle would transform the threadbare little dog into a living puppy!

It never happened.  But I did get the puppy......

My older brother had a paper round and one sopping wet, thoroughly rainy day, he came home with his bag over his shoulder and it didn't take me long, even at four years of age, to discern the little bump in the bag.

He'd come across a litter of puppies on his round and tried to smuggle one back to our house unseen...!  Now, our Mum wasn't the most diligent housewife in the land but even SHE would have noticed a dog running round the place, so I've no idea what his plan was, but I knew what mine was!

That pup (my best friend for the next 17 years, Judy) was going nowhere! I think my Mum only agreed to let me keep Judy because she was afraid I'd throttle the little scrap If I held on as tightly as I was!

So, mine she was and even came with me when I married for her last year when she was 16-17 years old.

After my Judy, there came Kerry - a rescued Afghan Hound - Gosh! She was so beautiful and so very gentle.  Not only that, but we won obedience rosettes together! Not bad for two 'airhead blondes'!

When Kerry went to the Rainbow Bridge at 12 I was inconsolable and it wasn't long before we were joined by one of our few breeder-bought pups, a Weimaraner pup called Kinder. She was gorgeous! Lovely gentle nature and fantastic with the children.

Then there was the clown of the pack, Gordon Setter China!  He was the runt of the litter, with a bad back leg, poor nutrition had rendered his black coat a treacle-toffee colour and he was about half the weight he should have been. Common sense would have told anyone with half a brain to run like the wind away from this outside-bred and kept scrapling, but as we have more heart than brain, we took him home, fed him up, trained him to an acceptable - if a bit chaotic standard (we like chaotic - it's fun! Who wants a regimented dog?) and loved him all his 12 years like another child.

He rewarded us with unparalleled devotion, both to us and to our four children with a special bond with Rob, who'd never got over losing Kinder.

After China, there was a small, but very deep void. But we couldn't stand it and were at the rescue centre within months, where we found my Best Boy Merlin the Show-type English Springer Spaniel. 

I will never understand how anyone parted with this wonderful animal!

He was perfect.  You showed him ANYTHING just once, and that was it - he had it.  He was a dream to train and a joy to live with and the love....he was one amazing dog.  I miss and remember all my dogs equally - they were all so different in character, you just couldn't compare them, but I will never ever get over losing my Merlin. I will grieve for him for the rest of my life - more than any human I've lost.

We were two years before we could even think of another dog and even then, I wouldn't have if not for my husband. He was missing the physical side of sharing our lives with a canine companion. He'd put on weight and for the first time in his life, his blood-pressure was up.  He'd always had notably low blood-pressure so that was a concern.

We had a further complication in that we now had a grandchild, whom I cared for every day whilst our daughter and her partner were at work.  So rescuing was a less easy option than it had been and also, the larger dogs we were used to were becoming less of a good idea as apart for the new baby being knocked flying by a wagging rudder Nic & I were now approaching bus-pass time!  Any dog we took on now, would likely be our last dog..... and possibly not be going on the marathon walks our larger dogs had enjoyed.

...and then we found Charlie.

A lickle  Miniature Apricot Poodle that had been passed from pillar to post and in the end had been locked in a cage with no proper training.  Net result? Severe, untreatable (to date...) separation anxiety. Of course, we didn't know that when we took him - the previous 'keepers', strangely, omitted to tell us this...can't think why.....! He also has severe hip dysplasia, also not obvious immediately...... and a bundle of serious behavioural issues which very nearly cost him his life...

However, three years later and he's a different little dog. He's happy, we have the pain from the HD under control and all of his 'issues' have been sorted, except for the SA. So far.  And far from being my Husband's little side-kick as planned, he latched onto me immediately, to my great disgust!  He's a relentless lickle character though and in the end, I had to give in -  I love him to bits now!  ( ...he always puts me in mind of that old song... 'You Made me Love you, I didn't want to do it...'  I sing it to him regularly!)

Nic? Oh, Nic has his own little cross Bichon-Poodle called Lola now!  And she's delightful! She was spayed asap!

And so we live - and walk -  together happily and regularly have the other 'family' dogs, Izzy (Lola's Mum), Simba (Rob's own rescue Labrador) and my friend's little Cava-Poo to visit.

That's my potted story - I know I'd want background on anyone I was trusting with my dogs......!