Looking back, I was completely unprepared for having a dog in my life. I was a newlywed, we hadn’t moved in to our new house, and I was starting a new job. Life was busy and stressful. Although I had vague thoughts of having a dog ‘at some point’, it certainly was not my reality.
But when I first met Charlie, he looked at me with his sad green eyes and I knew I had to make it work. I won’t lie, the first few months were tough. I hadn’t done my research. I didn’t know that labradors were balls of energy, especially as puppies. Charlie took to nipping at my clothes – now I know that he was just being a playful puppy, but at the time, I was nervous around him. He took a long time to toilet train, mostly due to our inexperience. There were many times I was in tears, thinking we made the wrong decision.
But I couldn’t give up on him. There were moments where he fell asleep and I just found my heart opening with love for him. You couldn’t be sad for too long, because he has an insatiable appetite for life (and everything else). And after a few months, before I knew what happened, I was head over heels in love with him. I read everything I could about dog behaviour. I learnt how to train him, in a positive and kind way. I learnt that if I respected him, he respected me in turn. I received the best help possible, especially in training him to walk on a leash, which was challenging.
Charlie has tested us in so many ways – he needed surgery on his hips at one point, and needed months of rehab afterwards. This was an incredibly difficult time, because we hated seeing him in pain. But his courage and resilience were so inspiring. He also had a bowel obstruction when he was a puppy and required more surgery.
But all this means that he’s even more precious to us. All of Charlie’s puppyish behaviours have settled down. He knows a million tricks, such as grabbing tissue for me when I sneeze 🙂 I love the way he smells and I love his semi-snores at night. I even love his “Charlie Specials”…which I’ll tell you about another day. Let’s just say it involves an olfactory offence.
I could go on forever, but I will need to tell you about Hannah, Charlie’s best bud and partner-in-crime.
Tell me about the dogs in your life and why you love them.