In the beginning there were no dogs at all.
Any dog owner at this stage, already,will look at their dog and smile, thankful that they have them in their life.
As a child I learned about the kindness of dogs from my Grandparents lovely ex gundog Golden Retriever and utter saint (I say saint because I was a handful of a child), Tara. Sadly I have no pictures to share as this was, believe it or not, before digital cameras existed so you will just need to believe me that this was a gorgeous dog (as all the dogs I talk about will be!). She was seven years old when she came into my life (or at least that’s when I can start to remember her) and she put up with me constantly fussing over her, brushing her and at one point I do remember trying to climb on her back much to the poor dogs disapproval. Never once did she growl or snap at me and from that dog forward I have always loved my dogs. My grandparents next dog was also a Retriever but this time they got her as a pup. She was a wild little puppy and I absolutely adored her. She would follow me around when I went to visit and would happily play for hours in the garden.
At the age of 9 I started helping out at my mum’s friend’s stable yard. She owned a livery yard and at the time there were only 3 horses stabled there. They also had two guard dogs (a term I use loosely I might add), a lovely black lab called Brambles and a huge Rottweiler called Biggles (I can tell you the name was a source of embarrassment for the dog as well). Over the summer and most weekends I would be at the stables on my own with just the horses and the dogs for company, I loved every minute of it. As is common with dog people, I get on better with animals than people and this was no less true then than it is now. The two dogs would follow me around and keep me company while I worked away in the yard, cleaning stables etc and they were rewarded for their loyalty with half of my packed lunch. I have to say that Biggles was, in particular, my most favoured dogs and despite the fact that he died almost 10 years ago, he still is. For being such a ‘ferocious’ (as the stereotype goes) dog he was so gentle, cuddly and loyal and I loved having him around. And so began my love of Rottweilers.
By the time I reached 15 my parents had finally (after 10 years of nagging) gave in and decided we could get a puppy. As you can maybe imagine from the dogs already mentioned, I loved the big dogs in particular and I had my heart set on a Rottie and if not, at least a big dog like a lab. My dad surprised me by taking me to see a litter of puppies and initially I was a little disappointed, which lasted all of one minute as I realised I was getting a puppy. This time around there was to be no ‘big’ dog but instead a big dog in a small body in the shape of Elmo, a Parson Russel Terrier. He was the cutest out of the two litters of puppies and we had a choice between him and one of his brother’s. Needless to say Elmo (a.ka. Mo in the pic below) chose us and at 8 weeks old we took him home. I spent the next two years coming home from school at lunchtimes so that Mo could get out for a toilet break. He was smart little pup and learned to sit and high five very quickly. At 17 I left home for university and Mo stayed with my parents (and still does) as he was clearly my dad’s dog.
7 years after moving out, my boyfriend (Ben) and I, having only lived together for 4 months, decided it was time for our own dog. We both had good jobs, we had a nice rented house and we only lived 10 minutes drive away from my work. Ben has grown up with Spaniels and that was his preference for a dog and I obviously wanted my Rottie. After much debate, and almost getting a Rottie puppy (sadly the litter we were waiting on were very ill and only 2 survived) I decided that as a surprise to Ben we would go and see a litter of Cocker Spaniels.
Most puppies at 8 weeks old are playful in short bursts and sleep most of the time. Our did not. I swear he has never slept since we brought him home. Being a working dog, Echo had a certain energetic quality to him. At 10 weeks old he went to the vet for his second vaccinations because we were desperately needing him out of the house.
The vet used the phrase, and I quote, “I’ve never known a puppy to be so unbelievably wired”.
That’s right, my dog who I had imagined would be this cute little sleepy perfect puppy, was in fact wired to the moon. He was a riot! He never slept, he ate everything and I mean everything, from toys, to carpets, to the kitchen units, gravel and at one point I did have to stop him trying to eat a slab of concrete. He was unstoppable. We had to adopt what I call (and still call) enforced nap time. Our dog is crate trained, luckily, and so that is where he goes to sleep when we are out the house (its safer for him and stops our house being eaten, see above). As a pup and thankfully only occasionally these days, we had to physically put the pup in his bed, cover it with a blanket and close the kitchen door. He would fall asleep very quickly because he was exhausted but would not go voluntarily. Dogs are meant to sleep for ~16-18 hours a day. Echo, if given the choice, would stay awake for that time. He wants to know what is happening and where you are constantly.
On the plus side, he is exceptionally fit, which is great as we like to walk a lot and he has such a great personality. What was unbearable energy as a puppy is slowly changing into this happy and loyal dog.
So, that is a brief introduction to some of the dogs that I have had the great joy to have in my life and I am lucky to have a great many of them. Echo is already a year and a half old so I have quite a lot of adventures to fill you in on. What were stressful situations at the time, are now funny anecdotes and I love my dog for not being dull.