By Andrew, Country Collar Club owner, 20th January 2021
This is my first column for My Pet Matters and I’m incredibly excited to start this adventure with you. I’m proverbially ready to start my morning walk with a waggy tail (no pun intended). For me personally, I’m wanting to share with you my own tales (pun absolutely intended) of dog ownership.
Probably best to start at the beginning. I own two dogs with my beautiful wife Lauren, we live in Sheffield in the United Kingdom and are very lucky to have some of the most dog-friendly surroundings close by. Woodlands, moorlands, reservoirs, dog friendly cafes, rivers, the Peak District and most importantly for the dogs, a nearby Grandmother who gives them pre-cut apple pieces (minus the core and pips). This treat isn’t even for good behaviour, it’s just because Grandma can. I think this sort of behaviour must be in the Grandma rule book or something. If you’re a parent reading this, you’ll probably know the dread and anxiety this weekly afternoon drop-off trip to Grandma’s house inevitably brings. You know full well 4 minutes after drop-off, they’ll all be souped up on skittles and 3 slices of homemade chocolate cake by the time you come back for collection. Thankfully, it’s definitely just apples for Rosie and Holly (I did have to put my foot down on Grandma’s latest menu, which included a mid-afternoon sausage sandwich).
Anyway, here’s a photo of them right here. Rosie on the left and Holly on the right.
As you can probably guess, this photo was taken during warmer climates. I’m not sure how January is fairing for you, but here in Sheffield we are 3 days into every walk culminating in a playful snowball fight with the fur-babies. That’s definitely one of the perks of being a dog owner in the winter months, you get to avenge all the snowball fights you lost as a child. Don’t worry, there was no trip to the school nurse for either Rosie or Holly when we got back home. Just cold paws, frost-bitten fingers and 2 very tired but happy fur-babies.
As Rosie and Holly have reached the ripe old age of 9 and 13 respectively, I’m not too sure calling them fur-babies remains appropriate. If 13 in doggy years was the same in human years, I’m sure Holly would cringe at her embarrassing Dad calling her a ‘fur-baby’. Thankfully, as a dog only parent, I don’t have to combat the same troublesome, but inevitable hurdles some of you parents must contend with. Teenagers eh?!? That’s the second perk of being a dog owner right there. Dogs don’t get moody when you question whether going outside with shoes but no socks on is “appropriate for January, even if it is a fashion statement?”
Dogs also don’t get moody when you suggest going out for a nice family walk to “blow away the cobwebs”. Quite the opposite for them isn’t it? As the eldest, Holly still amazes me with her enthusiasm when the magic word “walkies” gets mentioned. When she’s out on those beautiful calm and crisp winter morning adventures, her 0-60mph speed acceleration would still beat the number 95 double decker bus in a drag race. Admittedly though, her get up and go routine always commences with a scene I am now accustomed to, of her struggling to hop down that half a meter from our living room couch onto the floor. Heart of a lion, body of a bag of potatoes. I compare it to the emotion I would unquestionably feel, watching my 102 year old Grandma do a charity bungee jump for the local bring and buy sale. Her heart is in the right place and that adventurous fire within her soul shall never go out. Even if physically her body isn’t quite up for such escapades, and if truth be told hasn’t really been since 1998. Still, it doesn’t stop her does it? Just like it doesn’t stop Holly getting down from our sofa.
At 13, she definitely is winding down. More than I dare to admit at this exact moment, based on recent events. Nonetheless, for now – that fire in her is still there for all to see. Maybe all future bring-and-buy sales should rope dogs in. That’s the third perk of being a dog owner, no not discounted chocolate muffins from elderly Mrs Hooper’s baking stall, I’m talking about watching your dog get older. It doesn’t matter how old your beloved pooch is, you still unconditionally love them. In return all your dog wants from you is re-assurance, comfort and to be nestled up beside you on that cold winter’s night post snowball drubbing. There’s something emotionally encapsulating watching your dog grow up, becoming one (if not the most) cherished member of the family and your best friend all rolled into one large fur ball. That’s the beauty about dogs, they’ll be beside you every step of the way, just like you should be for them. Even if they do resemble a bag of Maris Pipers with an apple tree growing inside of them.
Until next week.