Wednesday, June 08, 2016

love a puppy? read this first

Meet Jedda.

In January this year a lady named Kel drove into our driveway in a pick-up truck with two red heeler x dingo pups on board.

Kel was like a movie character.

Long red hair down her back, cowgirl boots and belt to match, dressed in jeans and check shirt she was fit for a rodeo. Kel is an animal whisperer no doubt about it.

I'm still not sure exactly how Pete found Kel but he had heard that Kel found puppies for people. So for a good few months Kel was on the lookout for us for a red heeler pup.

Late December Kel phoned to say that she had found a breeder in Queensland with a litter of pups but that we needed to wait a few more weeks before the pups could leave their mum.

I was out of the house when Kel arrived. When I came home River came running out the front door, "Mum this is the best day of my life!!!!"

I knew Sol was going to be excited that we FINALLY had a puppy but River's excitement surprised me I didn't think he would be as taken with the little bundle of fur that arrived.

Once the first rush of puppy love wore off and the toilet training challenges set in we all began to realise we had absolutely no idea what we had signed up for.

It was Pete's idea to choose a working dog breed. The idea and the reality are quite different things.

We knew that puppies and working dogs especially had a lot of energy and would be quite nippy around the heels as their sharp little baby teeth were tested out but wow it was all so constant!!

So much so that within two weeks of Jedda joining our family Pete declared to me one evening, "I've made a mistake. I've chosen the wrong breed, I think we should send Jedda to live on a farm, now while she's young before she gets too attached to us".

"Whaaaaaat??!" was my civilised response. "I think we need to give it some more time", I suggested. "She'll settle down."

But no, in my darling husband's get-things-done-now approach he decided it would be a good idea to tell River and Sol of his plans the next morning before school.

"Can't you at least wait until after school? They're going to be devastated," I said bracing myself for the inevitable tears.

And tears there were.

I took the boys to school that morning with tear stained faces and tried to re-assure them that Dad would change his mind. I hoped quietly to myself.

That night after school River in his mature beyond his years way announced to Pete that he had an offer for him, "Dad if I spend time training Jedda, we take her to puppy school and we keep her for another month, if she hasn't settled down by the end of the month we can find a farm to take her, but if she does settle down we can keep her." How could anyone argue with that?

I'm very pleased to say that six months later Jedda is firmly part of our family.

It's been an interesting ride falling in love with a puppy and carrying out all the responsibilities that come with having a pet. Sol and River do really love Jedda and I might add that Pete is besotted with her. Pete is the one that walks her on the beach each morning and has made a whole new group of friends as a result.

Jedda's made friends too, we don't only have children over to play now we have dogs! Jedda's friend Del has even had a sleepover!

Within a day of Jedda arriving I tried to talk a friend into taking Jedda's sister. I'm so glad that my friend decided not to. With the benefit of hindsight it wasn't the right time in my friend and her family's life to take on a puppy.

If you're dreaming of owning a puppy or have children trying to talk you into getting a puppy my advice would be if you've never owned a pet before do your research before getting a puppy.

Here are my tips:

- research the breed, do they lose hair? how active are they? what are their temperaments? do you have enough space in your backyard for the breed you are considering?
- find out all the costs involved - registration, vet fees, pet food, flea treatments, grooming
- if you travel a lot - who would look after the dog? could the dog travel with you?
- spend time at the local dog walking park or beach and get to know some dog owners and different breeds. Keep talking to dog owners and ask lots of questions

Having a pet IS a wonderful thing. It is a big responsibility too, one that will demand of your time, energy and money but will of course offer emotional rewards and physical too with all the walking you'll be doing!

Even though in my heart of hearts I'm not really a pet person (sorry for all of those who are! but I have to be honest!) I can't imagine our little family without Jedda now, she is such a sweet old soul and she has brought new friends into our life too.

Are you thinking of getting a pet? If you have a pet what are your tips for becoming a pet owner?

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