So you want a Dog?
We have an adorable labradoodle called Queenie.
She was hard work for the first two years of her life.
Running away from us when called, nipping at our heels, jumping up, scratching the kids with her big paws.
Passing bowel movements the size of a horse.
Demolishing table legs and kitchen doors.
Ripping up flooring. Barking at the wind and passing wind that would kill the population of a small country.
She once found a dead bird on the field near our house and for the life of me, I could not get her away from it.
The poor entire creature was firmly planted in her mouth and halfway down her throat.
I was so furious, I stormed home yelling ‘That’s it! We are over! We no longer have a relationship.’
She came home half an hour later and sat on the porch.
Regurgitated bird at her feet, feathers around her mouth and a very repentant face and possibly sore tummy.
I literally didn’t speak to her for a week and referred to her as ‘that black dog’ for a very long time.
To say she has been in the dog-house on numerous times, is an enormous under-statement.
The naughtiness that was Queenie in those first few years, knew no bounds.
I once found her in the laundry room, having digested half a packet of poop bags and a tray full of cat litter.
She eats knickers. Mine preferably.
She steals leftovers from the bin and knows where the entire population of cats dispose of their waste surrounding our house.
She has been harder to train than the children.
Think parenting a toddler the size of a teenager, with four legs for speed and fur like a bad 80’s perm.
It’s a nightmare.
However, upon her second birthday, she hit some sort of good behaviour marker and changed. Became calmer.
We started to like her. A bit.
I started calling her by her name again. Sometimes.
Now we are nearing our third year with her and the tables have completely turned on our once feral puppy.
She is utterly scrumptious, still not obedient and still eats cat poo.
But she is therapy, all packaged up in a black fur ball of kindness and love and she just adores her people.
She rounds the children up when we are on a walk, hovering over them like a mother hen.
She surfs like a Boss, upholding her Australian family roots. Taking one for the team in the freezing UK water, instead of balmy Australia.
And, she rests her sweet head on our knee when we are sad or crying. Sitting by our sides in comforting solidarity.
So, if you are thinking of getting a dog, I would say, keep thinking.
Give it time and see if the desire wanes or grows.
If it grows, borrow one. It’s a much cheaper exercise and will give you some honest clarity.
After all of that, you still want a dog – get a Queenie.
But be prepared of two to three years of hard labour and pray plenty for patience and kindness.
After that, it will be plain sailing.
Basically, the best decision you could ever make.
Go buy a dog.