I went home at the beginning of the month, and while at home I obviously spent a lot of time with my adorable Labrador, who still acts like a puppy… despite being 4. And while dad and I were with her, he said to her ‘we love you Poppy, and we wouldn’t be without you. But you aren’t half a pest’, as we looked round our kitchen, covered in muddy paw prints, hairs all over the carpet, the the corners of the cabinets still chewed from when she was a puppy. But, looking down at her adorable face as she stared up at us, with so much love and loyalty, we realised we wouldn’t have her any other way.
It sparked up an idea. Although she’s a family dog and so I don’t look after her by myself, I’ve had a dog in the house all my life and I thought I’d share with you my ups and downs. One, I thought it’d be fun to look back on everything. Two, I thought you lot might be interested/just want to stare at cute pictures of dogs. And three, it might help those thinking of getting one. Unfortunately due to the lack of digital cameras I had growing up, all these photos are of my current dog, but they’re still adorable.
First, a little background. I have had three dogs in my life time; Tanny (who died when I was about 3, so don’t remember), Lucy (who I had from then to 4 years ago), and Poppy (my current one). They’ve all been Labrador bitches. I have lived and grown up on a flower nursery and so they have all been the equivalent of farm dogs; there’s someone with them all day, they get muddy, we don’t need to walk them as much as most people, and they have free roam around the property. Which obviously made our dog care significantly easier, and will be rather different to your situation. But bare with…
So, my first dog I don’t remember, all I know about her is what my parents told me. I don’t even have pictures of her. She was my grandparents dog, but my parents took her in, and she lived with us from then. And all I know about her was that she was incredibly obedient. She was very protective over me and my brothers and used to stand guard over the pram, only letting people near that mum or dad ‘approved’.
Lucy was the dog I grew up with. Her nickname became ‘lovely, lazy Lucy’ and to be fair, that basically summed her up. She spent most her time sleeping, eating, or getting food to eat…
And then Poppy is my current dog. We got her as a little pup, and she was very ill when she was born (because her mother was when pregnant). But the vet gave her the all clear, and so we took her home. She’s significantly smaller than the average lab, but she’s wonderful, and it doesn’t change how much we all love her.
First thing to say, they take time, and they take a lot of it. When Poppy hears people driving down the road in the middle of the night (we live down a dead end road), she has a little growl, and if they stop outside, she barks. I’m a light sleeper, and so she’s woken me up a number of times. They need walking, luckily she goes out with dad when he goes to work, but we still try and take her out for a long walk about once a week, if not more. They will need attention, and a lot of it. She will forever drop stuff at your feet to throw for her. Sometimes they’re tennis balls, sticks or footballs… other times they are filthy, wet cuddly toys or some rubbish she’s found outside. However, I have to say this is one of my favourite bits.
Dogs love to be played with, stroked, cuddled, talked to, just any sort of attention you could possibly give them. Poppy is no exception. If she even hears a word remotely similar to her name, before you know it her head will be on your lap. And she’ll be giving you the look she always does when she wants attentions. But, it’s adorable. Lucy (my previous dog) wasn’t playful, but she used to love to be stroked and to have her belly rubbed. However, Poppy wants tok play… all the time… everyday… even when you are eating, showering, sleeping, literally anything!
Luckily for us, all my family live close by, so there was always someone to care for our dogs when we went on holiday, or out for the day. But it’s obviously something you’ll have to think about. My brother also has a dog, and Poppy and her get on really well, which is lucky. So my brother’s house has become her second home, and she’ll go over there to steal Roxy’s toys/treats, because Poppy’s above her in the ‘pack’. It’s very funny!
They cost a fortune. Obviously this depends on the dog, and whether you get pet insurance, and all that. But, even if they never get ill, you sill need food, beds, bowls, leads, collars, etc. etc. But Poppy, wonderful, safe Poppy, has been to the vets 4 times with serious problems. One Christmas Eve she was coughing up blood, and we had to send her to the vets, and she was there over the Christmas period being seen to and treated. And vets aren’t cheap. Now, many of her problems have been brought about because she’s a farm dog and so she wonders round eating what she’s not meant to. But, like humans, dogs get sick and injure themselves in all sort of manners… and unfortunately, while in England we have free healthcare for people, we don’t for dogs…
But you take her, you look after her, you feed her and you play with her, because she becomes another member of the family. And when you lose a dog, you effectively mourn him/her as you would a friend or family member. I know to non dog owners it seems like a strange thing. But this dog is there for you everyday, every time you need her, without fail. They know when your down. If I’ve been crying or I’m feeling sad, Poppy comes over and sits next to me when her head on my lap looking up at me. They sit with you while you watch TV. Heck, she even follows me to the bathroom, I literally have to turn round and explain to her that I’m capable of going on my own. Yeah, that’s one thing you’ll do. You’ll talk to your dog. You’ll tell them everything, not really sure why, but you do… So losing them is possibly the hardest part of owning one. But, as the saying says ‘better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all’.
So, there are ups and downs of owning a dog. But if you have space in your home and heart then I can’t recommend one enough. I know why they call them ‘man’s best friend’. Because they really are!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and looking at some very adorable photos of my gorgeous dog!!