A New Puppy

Phil and I have been dreaming of getting a second furry family member for years. Lottie the wonder dog had transformed our lives, and so the thought of double the love and the fun and the snuggles was hard to resist. But the logistics of hospital appointments and visiting folks and holidays with two seemed tricky. So head always ruled heart. Until last January! In a ‘you only live once’ moment, we decided to throw caution to the wind, and started scouring the Dogs Trust website to find the perfect pooch. But then lockdown stopped all dog adoptions for a while… and when they finally resumed, everything had changed!

Suddenly dogs were hot property. Sought-after. In very high demand. The cost of puppies doubled in price, and rescue pooches were snapped up. Adopting Lottie had involved wandering along aisles of adorable (and loud) canines looking for their forever home, a couple of trial walks and signing the dotted line. All finalized in that one visit. But this time around, with centres closed, and the number of potential new adopters, far far exceeding the number of potential adoptees… it was a totally different ball game. Now all dogs profiles were posted online only. Now you applied via a six-page application form, with an enormous blank box to be filled with multiple convincing reasons why you’d be their perfect pooch parent (think UCAS personal statement! 😉 )! Now, if you made it to the shortlist, you were rang up to be quizzed further so they could pick the best. Now for every dog, there were between 30 and 1000 other folks all vying to be their chosen one. Gees, it was competitive! Gees, it was stressful!

During the three months I was actively looking, I applied for 21 dogs. Yes 21 dogs!! We made it through to the shortlist five times, we were even selected to be ‘the one’ twice- but things fell through both time. Consequently, as September turned to October, and October turned to November, my A-game get better, but my nerves got more jangled. I’d be refreshing the ‘dogs available’ page every hour (as they’d take down a profile after receiving a set number of applications). My ‘personal statement’ had been rewritten and rewritten and rewritten to perfection. I was scouring dogs homes and charities further afield. And I became increasingly frustrated and upset and confused and sad by the whole process. It swirled up many more rain clouds, as I battled my Autumn storm.

But then on dog number 21… we met our match. 🙂 An over-excited, boisterous, energetic, out-of-control but beautiful, friendly, intelligent, loving six-month-old Patterdale Terrier puppy. We renamed him Kepler 🙂 (google the Kepler Track- our favourite ever walk). Already on his fourth home, he was in desperate need of attention and love. Due to coronavirus restrictions, we couldn’t meet him until the day he came to live with us. So for a whole month we had to prepare and plan -phone calls, reading reports, watching videos- for a dog that we may or may not adopt. We had to jump through multiple hoops -photographing the house and garden, building a new secure fence, getting Lottie jabbed – for a pooch that we possibly could or possibly could not be having. And we had to buy bits, and set up our home, for a puppy that might or might not be staying. But amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully -and surprisingly- the dog meet went well. Twelve year old Lottie and six month old Kepler sniffed each other and then begged for treats. He moved in. 🙂

So for the past two weeks, our lives have been turned upside down with this gorgeous whirlwind of fun. There’s been lots of training treats, lots of “what are we doing?”, lots of reading and researching how to help him. There’s been sleepless nights, over-tired days, constant supervision, no free time. There’s been mouthing and jumping and tears and barks. There’s even been some horrid spats with Lottie. In the first week, the good hours were far out-numbered by the bad. But as the fortnight has passed, there have been more and more laughs and love and little steps forward. More cuddles and well dones and moments of heart-bursting joy. Slowly he is settling in. Slowly the whirlwind is calming. 🙂

Eleven months after we started looking for our second furry family member, we finally have two pooches running around in the fields. And I couldn’t be happier! Another wonderful ending to 2020. 🙂

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