Back in July, we had to say goodbye to my beautiful border terrier, Molly. She had been a huge part of my life for 18 years and losing her left a such a hole both in my heart and also in our home. It just wasn’t the same not being greeted when we walked in the door. I was missing those lovely dog walks. I would listen out for her claws tapping on our bedroom floor each night, expecting her to suddenly be there and each time that realisation dawned on me that she wasn’t there and that she wouldn’t ever be again.
We had always said that we wouldn’t get another dog again, we agreed that 2 children was enough for us and that going through that loss all over again in the future would be too hard… But nothing can prepare you for how your heart can take over your head and so, just a few weeks ago, I began looking at dogs in rescue centres. To begin with, it was to just get an idea but then this idea turned into a reality for both myself and Rob and the next thing we knew, we were making plans to bring a new member of the family into the home.
Puppy or Rescue?
I had a rescue dog in mind because I wanted to give an unwanted dog a lovely home that they could feel safe in and grow old in, however, there were a couple of problems that just kept turning up. For one thing, we have a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old which seemed to be big no-nos on most of the rescue centre’s websites. Plus we have a cat and it seemed as though every dog on show required a home without a feline friend.
We came to a stumbling block and I honestly did try almost every rescue centre you could think of. Ok, yes I could have looked at smaller rescues, I could have gone onto a waiting list (I assume) until the perfect dog for us came into them but how long would be waiting? Months? Years? Never? Who knows? We wanted to complete our home as soon as possible really, not in a few years time.
One area I didn’t venture into was a rescue from abroad and this was a personal choice for several reasons:
- You don’t know what temperament you are going to get
- You don’t know their full history- they have often had a traumatic life, lived entirely on the streets etc.
- You don’t know how they will take to you
- You cannot guarantee how they will be with your children (ours are very loud, very busy, full on boys)
- You may have to spend a lot of time on behaviour, routine, teaching them how to be a dog in a family home
If we were just a couple, I would have jumped at the chance to take in a dog from abroad but in our current lifestyle, I just didn’t think it would be fair to a dog or to the children. Having seen my sister go through this process, who was handed a dog outside her home, received little support other than a Facebook group and having to pay 3 behaviourists, I just knew this wasn’t for us.
And so, we started to look at younger dogs and puppies for sale online. And at first, it was just that, just looking… Until we found some that looked like a great fit for us.
Deciding On A Puppy
It dawned on us that a puppy was the right choice for our family and we made the decision that this was the way to go. The first thing you notice once you start your search is that young dogs and puppies sell so fast. No sooner do you find one that looks good, then you phone up and they are gone. I wasn’t necessarily after a tiny puppy, I’d bought Molly secondhand at 7 months old as she wasn’t wanted and she was absolutely perfect at that age so my mind was open to doing that again. Trouble was, a lot of these adverts stated no children as they couldn’t cope with them and just like with rescue dogs we hit another stumbling block.
We clicked on a few border terrier puppies (it had to be a border again for me), checked out the details, the breeders, the photos and we came across one that seemed ideal. Last female in the litter, both parents at the home, well looked after and so on. However, on arrival, it was very clear that she was far too nervous for us. She wasn’t coming over, she was shaking, she didn’t acknowledge us and all of this told me that she just wasn’t a fit for our crazy family.
We went away feeling a bit disappointed but it really highlighted to us that we did have to get this right. And then, just as we were about to leave the service station we had stopped off at, something made Rob look online again…
The Right Puppy
A family had one female left in their litter, again they had both parents as family pets and – you will not believe this – they lived in the same road as the first puppy we had been to see! Bizarre!
So, we hopped in the car and headed back to this same road in the hope that this puppy would be for us.
Well… She couldn’t have been more opposite to the first puppy we had seen. She was bigger, more alert, far more playful and very confident. She licked my face all over, she sat on Jake’s lap for a while, she tugged at his coat to play with her. It was like she was saying yep, you are my people. We couldn’t believe it. We put down a deposit right there and then and returned the following day with the full payment and brought her home.
Everybody always tells you that there is a settling in period with any new dog/puppy. You are told they will cry and whine for their Mum, they will be unsettled at night and that you need to take each day as it comes. Well, we had the opposite! Our new puppy, Tessa, came in and immediately took to looking around. She investigated all of downstairs, she played with the toys we had bought her, she ate some dinner and she laid on me and slept as though she had always done it.
She hasn’t once whined in the night, although she does sleep in our bedroom so she isn’t alone (Molly always slept in our room so it felt right to do this again). She was just meant for us.
How Is She Now?
Tessa has now been with us for just over 2 weeks and we couldn’t be happier. Yes, we are cleaning up puppy wee and poo, yes we are teaching her what is allowed and what isn’t but my goodness she is just a joy. She is fun, playful, cute, cuddly, loving, loyal and has filled that gaping hole in our home. She knows her name (it only took 3 days), she comes to her name when called, she follows me everywhere, she doesn’t cry when we leave the house and so far she hasn’t been too destructive (paper, cardboard and toys seem to get the brunt of her teething).
She hasn’t yet had her full vaccinations but once these are completed I cannot wait to start enjoying dog walks again.
And the main bonus for us getting a puppy is that she will grow with the boys and she will be a with us for many, many years.
A puppy may not be the right fit for everybody and it may not have worked for us if our lifestyle was different but right now, it was absolutely the right choice and I am so glad we have her in our lives.
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