The dogs in my life part one

Buster the very first dog in my life. He was my paternal grandparents dog who I adored.

I know I promised when I first started blogging again earlier in the year that I would feature the dogs more in my posts and I realised this morning that I have been a little remiss in my duties. People enjoy my posts but secretly I think they feel a little cheated when I don’t include the mutts latest adventures!

So for those of you who are new to my blog or for those of you who are longtime readers I thought I would devote a couple of posts to them over the next few weeks so that I can fully explain about how the dogs came into our lives and what havoc they wreak – in a good way!

As a child our family dog was an orange and white cocker spaniel named Chas. I wanted him to be called snoopy but was overruled, I think Chas suited him better than snoopy ever would. Chas came from a farm and as we didn’t own a car at the time my mum and sister were driven by a neighbour to pick him up. Dad and I walked the two miles to the local shops to pick up dog paraphernalia including his collar and lead. I remember being very jealous that my sister would get to see Chas first and felt cheated. I must have driven my dad mad with my whining during the walk to the shops and back, although I don’t remember him telling me off but patiently explaining how important my job was today choosing the items for our puppy.

My Grandad and me with Chas at Aberdeen Beach

I remember when Chas came home he was riddled with fleas, my mum placed him on some newspaper in the kitchen, spending ages getting them off him. I can’t have been much more than 5 or 6 years old but that memory is pretty vivid. I also remember he was fed the brand “Chunky”, a tinned food that smelt almost as bad as Chas’ farts after eating it. Back in the early 1980’s we did not seem to be as focused on dog nutrition as we are now. My dogs have mainly eaten a premium dry food, only receiving a premium wet food when Mollie was pregnant as a way to get her to eat more.

Chas was an absolute bugger of a dog, he was an angel for my dad and I but led my mum a merry dance. As an uncastrated male dog his favourite trick was to run away from my mum for hours at a time, only to return home after he had satisfied his male urges. I remember sitting in class at school one day and looking out the window only to see my mum running up the hill towards the playground in pursuit of Chas who had decided to pay my sister and I a visit at primary school. As I am writing this I have realised stubborn dogs are going to be a bit of a feature in these future posts.

Unfortunately Chas had a nasty temper, he only liked to be petted by one person at a time and he preferred my dad or me over my sister and mother. This would have been fine but my dad worked away from home for weeks at a time. Chas would have been put down these days as he bit both my sister and I. Eventually my parents re-homed him with my mother’s father. Chas was much happier there, going for massive walks three times a day and having no kids around to annoy him. Sadly Chas died unexpectedly from cirrhosis of the liver at the young age of 7 and from the time that until I was 16 there were no dogs in our family home.

When my sister was around 14 she contracted a case of the flu from which she never recovered. She couldn’t go to school and was bed bound for many years. My parents decided to get her a dog, so Sophie the Yorkshire Terrier came into our lives. She was gorgeous and tiny but unfortunately she left us all too soon. Sophie passed away from an allergic reaction to anaesthetic when she was being spayed. It was a one in a million tragic event, it hit us all very hard, my sister most of all. The next day my mum tracked down a lady who was selling Yorkshire Terrier pups and so Josh and Connie came into our lives. Josh was a stubborn old bastard to be honest. He hated having a bath and you only had to say the word and he’d dive under the nearest available bed  trying to take chunks out of anyone who attempted to remove him from his hiding place. 
Sophie, me and my sister
Connie and Josh

When I got my first home, it was a pretty solitary existence. From the August to the November I lived in a bed and breakfast paid for by the company, whilst I waited for the mortgage to go through on my flat. I was living alone in a new town, holding down a new job. When my front door shut at night I had no human company until I went back to work the following day. I had been joking with my parents that I needed a cat or a boyfriend. Against the odds I ended up with a boyfriend (I’ve never really been a cat person), having been single for the three years prior to that.

OK so I found a picture of me with a cat!

The flat was leasehold, the terms of the lease expressly forbade pets of any kind. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I liked to live dangerously so we bought a hamster and named her Tubbillina or Tubby for short. Tubby was tame within a day loving nothing more than running around our flat in her ball. She was an ideal pet for us being nocturnal, as I was out all day at work. Hubby worked twilight shifts, getting home around 3am each morning when Tubbys activity levels were at their peak. A more worshipped Hamster you will never find.

Hubby had never grown up with dogs, Josh and Connie terrified him, even though they were tiny. Over time though his confidence grew, when we visited my family we would pack the dogs up in the car and take them for walks on Dartmoor. He really began to like having dogs around and vowed whenever we moved into a house we would get a dog.

We always said we would would have a small dog, we didn’t want a big dog as hubby was still nervous around anything larger than a west highland terrier. All that was to change when through work we met a couple who bred Weimaraner’s. Neither of us had ever heard of the breed before and were intrigued. We went around to meet the dogs and were terrified by the size of them. Our friends owned five of them 3 bitches and two dogs and they were enormous!

One of the bitches was pregnant and our friends said that we could have one of the puppies. I then spent every waking hour reading up about looking after dogs and Weimaraners. Travis was born on October 26th 2003 two days before we moved into our new home. We got to see the litter when it was a few weeks old and later we were the first people to choose which pup was going to be ours.

Travis chose me and from the minute he came home on the 13th December he was my dog. Travis had us over a barrel, Weimaraner’s I now know are not a dog for the fainthearted or inexperienced dog owner. They have a unique stubborn streak and are too intelligent for their own good (or their owners).

Travis

Travis was a beautiful dog if a little badly behaved. He never caused any of the destruction our other Weimaraner’s have caused, the most he ever destroyed was a copy of the Yellow Pages. He was a terrible thief though, I will talk about that in another post. If it wasn’t nailed down Travis would steal it, food including other people’s picnics, other dogs toys, Marine Corps radio packs just to name a few. Travis was well-known to the Marines who trained on Woodbury Common where we walked him and not for good reasons.

In 2005 Mollie (Travis’ sister) joined us. I had my heart on changing her name to Pixie when she joined us aged 11 weeks however she had been answering to the name Mollie for a few weeks it seemed cruel to change it. Travis was not impressed at this new pup joining us. He stared at her all the way home in the car as by then our friends had moved to Cornwall.

Mollie had not been a planned purchase. Up until two weeks before we got her we had never even discussed getting another dog let alone another Weimaraner. It was all just chance again, hubby and our friend had been to watch a football match when “K” mentioned that from the last litter they had one bitch left and they were thinking about keeping her. The person who had been due to buy her house sale had fallen through and a houseboat was not a safe environment to bring a puppy to live. Later that day hubby met Mollie and it was love at first sight. When he arrived home later that day all he could talk about was Mollie this and Mollie that.

A week later we drove down to Cornwall to meet her taking Travis with us. Travis played with Mollie but didn’t take a massive interest with her preferring to play with the other adult dogs. Travis and then later Mollie were always immediately taken back into the pack with no problems whenever we visited our friends and it was nice to be able to go out somewhere we could take both the dogs and not be scared if they made a mess or were naughty. Our minds were made up on meeting Mollie that we would take her home.

For four days after Mollie’s arrival Travis ignored her and sulked with me. Hubby took a week off work to ensure she settled in with me taking the following week off work. However Mollie has only had eyes for hubby in the same way Travis only ever had eyes for me. It was really nice for him to finally have his own dog, Travis loved him but it was me he worshipped and it was the same with hubby and Mollie.

Mollie and Travis a few days after we brought her home.
Next time how Frankie and Willow joined us.
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