There has been a dog shaped hole in my life for quite some time now. Living and working in London has made it pretty impossible to entertain the thought of getting a dog in the past, but since moving to Richmond Park and working from home most days, plus my boyfriend running his business from home too, and getting a car to get around in, and fortunately having both a front and back garden with direct access to parks and fields, I finally found myself in the position to actually get one! Jonathan loves dogs just as much as I do, but I still couldn’t believe my ears when he actually said ‘yes, let’s get one’!
I love golden retriever and labradors but they are a little big for our place, and I didn’t feel right about just buying a puppy through a breeder or the internet, as there are so many lovely but sad, unloved and unwanted dogs in the world that are desperate to find a loving home.
I registered with RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Blue Cross, and frequently browsed their website waiting for the right one to come along. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for but I knew that when I found him / her, I would just know. Step in the Wild at Heart foundation. I discovered them through Instagram, and they re-home stray dogs from countries like Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Bosnia, where people generally have a pretty bad attitude towards animals and see dogs (and treat them) as vermin rather than pets. I couldn’t believe how many gorgeous dogs were left abandoned, abused, or just unwanted in those countries!
It was very hard to make a choice, until I saw her. Small, fluffy, a tad scruffy, and just totally adorable. So I filled out the paperwork, had a home check and interview and once I was accepted, transferred £360 to cover her vaccinations, microchip, pet passport and flights. A total bargain if you ask me!
Preparing for her arrival was pretty exciting in itself. Every time I added to my collection of dog things, it felt like I was getting one step closer to her arriving! We decided to start her on Tails.com* personalised and tailor made dog food – they adjust the ingredients based on her size, age, breed, etc! (*they’re offering Yes Please readers two weeks of tailor made dog food delivered straight to your door! Just use the code TAILSYESPLEASE at the checkout)
We also stocked up on Canidae puppy food (grain free and they only use 7 – 10 ingredients, including fresh meat, poultry and fish).
Then we got a few little Pooch & Mutt dog treats so we can reward them for using the puppy training pads or for other good behaviour – we reward them when they poop outside, too!
The Pooch & Mutt puppy development treats are natural, ethical and low-calorie, plus they’ve got plenty of omega 3 oils which are essential for brain growth! It’s also been shown to aid puppy memory, so can help trainability. Well, we hope! The chicory is a natural prebiotic which will help with the puppies’ delicate digestive system.
Next we got a medium sized cage from Rosewood to be able to pick her up in from the airport (it felt so strange driving to the airport to pick them up!), and of course to be able to transport her around more easily.
As puppies love to chew on anything and everything, we made sure to have a few small chewy toys from Rosewood for them as well – although it hasn’t stopped them hunting for my loafers!
Then just some poopie bags, plenty of kitchen roll and sterilising floor wipes, puppy training pads, delicate puppy shampoo, dog leads and collars and the food and water bowl, and we were all set!
Then something even more exciting happened. On Monday Wild at Heart got in touch to tell me that her brother who would be traveling with her on the same flight needed an urgent foster family, as his adopting family needed more time due to home renovations. The idea of picking up not one but TWO puppies was almost too much to handle! Plus of course we felt that having both of them together would help both of them settle in so much better, and be a little less nervous after traveling for nearly 10 hours!
We drove to the airport and waited excitedly for them. They arrived at 3am, scared and nervous and shaking a little bit, and we were told by the vets at the airport that they had blood in their stool (due to stress they imagine), and a bad cough – which could be due to the air conditioning or change in temperature (we hope – their vet appointment is tomorrow).
The minute we arrived back home they marked their territory – in every room. And I’m not talking wee. Diarrhea explosions everywhere, missing all the easy wipe-down surfaces and instead managing to find every rug and carpet in the house! When I ran to fetch some kitchen roll and carpet cleaner, Flora just sat in her puddle of poo, while Felix thankfully sat next to his, but then started wagging his tail and flicked it everywhere. That was just a taste of what there was to come! Seriously, how can two tiny animals create SO MUCH POO?!
Anyway. It’s not all bad. It’s only day three of having them, and already we’ve managed to train them to use just the puppy pads indoors, or run out into the garden! They’re settling in so well, and seem so happy and content. I think it has definitely helped a lot that they have stuck together.
They are completely inseparable. Although we have two of everything, they like to sleep in the same basket together, and spend all day playing together, chasing each other round the garden, play fighting and keeping each other entertained, then snuggling up against each other for a nap.
I can’t imagine separating them now and I am dreading the day Felix gets taken away by his new family (who have paid for him, arranged his transport and are no doubt very excited for his arrival!).
Felix is such a joy and I’m totally smitten with him, as is Flora. He’s a lot shyer and needier and more clingy than she is, and not as adventurous, but anything she does he then has the confidence to try too. Flora ‘the explorer’ happily ran into the garden sniffing around and running around, whereas Felix whimpers when he’s left alone, and is terrified of change or anything new. He didn’t want to try the stairs, he didn’t want to explore the garden, he didn’t want to go for a walk… But when he watches Flora try something, it’s enough to convince him to give it a go.
They help each other so much and are so happy and settled here together. As he’s more needy and is terrified of being alone, he likes to curl up on top of my feet when we sit down for dinner and when I attempt to work from my laptop.
On which note, I haven’t been able to do anything productive for three days now. Yesterday we played all morning, went for a nice long walk, then I bathed them, wrapped them up in towels to dry them whilst cuddling them and keeping them warm, and we fell asleep like that for a two hour mid afternoon nap. Flora with her face nuzzled into my armpit, Felix lying on top of me with his face nuzzled into my neck resting on my chin.
I’m so worried about him, as I know he’ll be so terrified and confused and heartbroken when he has to move to yet another home, with new people, totally alone, and without his best friend. I couldn’t stop crying last night just thinking about it! And I’m worried for her too, of course, as his scent will still be in our home, her basket and all the toys and I know she’ll miss him so much when she finds herself with no one to play with all day.
And I’m worried for me. I really don’t know how I’ll cope when the time comes for him to go!