Since losing our two best canine buddies Jazz and Bluez, in the space of nine months, we now find ourselves drawn to any available dog for a quick dog fix to keep us going.
This evening at the vets with Maisie, this lovely chocolate lab cheerfully obliged with boisterous, bouncy enthusiasm. He was a big chunky boy, and despite having just had his bits chopped off, he was in good spirits, so we each got a good dose of doggy goodness whilst Maisie was having a blood test.
The amount of positive energy and positive input that a dog brings to your life cannot be under-estimated - they're endlessly friendly, and forgiving, and generous with their affections...of course they can beg and bark and bounce and other bothersome behaviour, but this pales against the vast, deep, rich joy that comes along with the doggy package deal.
I can't recommend finding and making a good furry dog-friend highly enough...and suffice to say, we just can't be without one for much longer.
It's only three weeks until our bouldering holiday in Fontainebleau, after which we'll be actively looking for a new tenant to fill the large, empty vacancy that is our house now.
We're going to have a section of the garden fenced off and a kennel installed, to make a run where a new dog could be left for a while whilst we're out. We'll need a bit of an integration period before trusting a new dog and the cats to be left in the house together...so the run will give us the flexibility to separate animals as required.
Our longer term plans involve three dogs of different sizes and ages, and it seems most sensible to start with the middle ground.
We'll initially be looking to rescue or adopt a middle aged, medium sized dog...something like a lab or a golden retriever. It will need to be fairly laid back (always get a dog with equal or lower energy to yourself), cat tolerant (if not cat friendly), and reasonably well-behaved, although we're happy to work on any issues.
Once that's settled in, we'll go for something bigger. Anna has a bit of a thing about the Italian Spinone, and having introduced me, I'm immediately sold on them too. They're bigger than a lab, although not huge...they have that brilliant shaggy-dog look, which I love...and they're placid and peaceful like a golden retriever.
Unfortunately, they're rare and expensive, so we'll have to go slightly against our better principles and buy a pedigree pup.
(We're largely disapproving of the Kennel Club breeding system, which encourages inbreeding and selection for arbitrary physical characteristics, often without concern for the health and well being of the dog or the wider gene pool).
Finally, once the two bigger dogs are well settled into our pack, we may add a smaller dog, probably a terrier of some type - perhaps a scottie or similar.
And maybe we'll stop there for a while...although maybe, if we buy our own place, all bets will be off!
PS Bonus again, you lucky people...
|snake in the grass|
Just to demonstrate the exciting life we lead, here's another grass snake that Anna found when doing a quick reptile check on the way back from the vets...
Must be the Year of the Snake, or something...