Hubby always wanted a dog. I didn’t want a dog, I wanted a baby. IVF failure number 6 hit us both hard and we struggled to move on. I struggled to get out of bed every morning, what was the point, I had nothing? A few weeks after we got our negative result I started to look at pictures of puppies on-line, why not, I’d got nothing else to do. One evening we were sat watching TV & I just quite randomly said “Let’s get a dog”. I don’t even know where it came from! Hubby nearly fell off his chair and just kept asking if I was sure. Why not? We had waited years for a baby that was never coming, we needed to move on.
Hubby wanted a Cockapoo so I left the research on breeds to him. I knew nothing about caring for a dog, neither of us had ever had one. He found a breeder and arranged for us to go and see 2 apricot Cockapoo’s. A few days later we went to see them. I was really disappointed, I just didn’t connect with them. Everyone said we would just fall in love and come away with one and I kept saying no, we would know when it was the right one for us. Neither of them were right for us, one was swinging from the curtains hanging on with its teeth and the other wouldn’t come to us, so we said we would leave it. The breeder said they had a chocolate colour one and would we like to see him. Yes, we said.
The first time we saw him, we fell in love with him. As he came towards us, hubby just said “look at him, he is the one”. We spent a bit of time with him and I picked him up and put him on my knee. He curled up into a ball & fell asleep. In that instant my heart melted and I knew he would be part of our family. A few days later we picked him up and brought him home.
I’d done as much research as I could & I became a frequent visitor to the pet shops for the next week. OMG this was amazing, I got to buy new things, and lots of them! The first day he was home he didn’t do much other than sleep, I think he was in shock. Truth is, so was I. I now had something else to think about, something was completely dependent on me.
The next few weeks were a struggle for me, my anxiety levels sky rocketed. I was anxious when we left him. The first time he barked, I cried & said I couldn’t cope with it. I paced around the garden with him to get him to wee, he did nothing and then came inside an pee’d everywhere. What the hell had we done? I was really struggling to settle with him and not worry about him all the time.
I remember carrying him through the house, him in mid flow, a pee trail over the floor of most of the house, just to get him outside quickly. By the time I got him outside he had finished! He just didn’t seem to be getting the whole pee outside thing and 2 weeks in I was getting frustrated, more at myself than him. But, week 3, something clicked and he finally got it! Yey, no more pee to mop up!
I knew I was struggling so I took some time off work to spend time with him. This was the turning point for me and we started to bond. I took him for a long walk every day (well as far as a 14 week old puppy could walk), I talked to him, played with him and this is when I realised dogs do have an amazing life, he slept for about 18 hours of the day.
So, our bond firmly cemented and I slowly started to heal. Somehow the infertility stuff got pushed to the back as we concentrated on our gorgeous puppy, J. We had something to talk about and focus on, something other than IVF & having a baby. I had a reason to get out of bed each morning, something else needed me. I walked every day and I think this has been a huge plus for me. Fresh air and space to think, space to clear my head before work and after work also helped with the work stress.
On the days when I feel awful, he brings a huge slice of happiness to me. There is nothing nicer than doggy snuggles when you are feeling down. I have spent lots of time training him, which has been a great thing for me to focus on, something different. Apparently our four legged friends aren’t born knowing how to sit, lie & walk by your side, who knew! The first two J mastered quickly, the walk command took 12 months, he preferred either acting like he was part of a sled pulling team or standing like a Meerkat on 2 legs when he saw another dog. Lots of time, patience and more importantly treats, he now walks by my side like he has always known what to do.
He has been to the emergency vets twice, both times I cried all the way there. We had to leave him overnight the second time and I was in bits.
Our family love him as much as we do. When we visit someone there is no “Hello, how are you?”, the first question is “Where is the dog?” Yep, we are good, thanks for asking, nice to see you too!
He has helped me through some of my darkest days & through some of our toughest days together. He has helped me to heal my broken heart & has made me realise that I’m not cold and detached from the world, I’m actually full of love. Sometimes I look at him and my heart literally bursts, tears come to my eyes. I think its a reminder of the love we have in our family and the love that we would have been able to share had we had children. J brings a smile to my face everyday, even if he is being naughty (and he can be very naughty…or maybe mischievous). He has me wrapped around his paw, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I come home from work & he is waiting, always glad to see me and showers me with his version of affection (mostly jumping and licking). In an instant, the worries of the day at work disappear.
I couldn’t see how I was going to get through life with nothing. But I don’t have nothing. I have a family and it is our family of 3.
He is my boy & I love him with all my heart. I always will.
I will leave you with some pictures of his first 18 months with us, just because…