We have an exciting new addition to our family next week : Kevin ,the 8 week old jack russell puppy, is joining the chaos at our house! We already have two dogs, one cat and 5 hens, but as our older dog is now 14 years old, we feel the time is right to introduce Kevin, so that they have some overlap. I went to visit him for the fourth time yesterday, to take him a blanket, so that it will smell of his Mum and sisters, so that he will not feel too lonely when he comes here.
The first time we saw Kevin, his eyes were still closed and his Mum, Scruff, was very attentive and protective of her litter of four puppies. Gradually each time we have seen him, she has distanced herself from them, so much so that yesterday, she was missing in action and the pups were now weaned and independent, even going outside. He is adorable and I am confident that he will be a good addition to our madhouse, although I expect some jealousy from Ruby, our 7 year old cocker spaniel, so she will have to be managed like any other jealous sibling.
It struck me how different motherhood is for Scruff than my experience : she had four babies and was with them constantly while they were dependent upon her and she defended them with her life – apart from the quantity of her offspring , our experiences were similar at this stage. Then she started to achieve some separation, as they grew bigger and more active and she was willing to leave them for short periods – this is possibly akin to when I ended my maternity leave, and returned to work when joshua was 6 months old. Only I left Joshua in the capable hands of a childminder, did not leave him with any siblings to fend for himself.
Yesterday I did not see Scruff at all, she only comes in at bedtime apparently and even then she wants nothing to do with her pups now, as they are reaching an age when they are ready to leave home. I do not recognise any of this stage of motherhood and I do not expect to ever see Joshua leave home and make his way in the world independently.
Joshua and our other dogs have not met Kevin yet, just me and my husband, so he will need to be introduced to them all carefully next week and he will need some space to find his feet in our busy household. If he is anything like the companion to Joshua that Ruby has become, then we will be very fortunate, as they are inseparable. She adores him and they spend a lot of time playing ball together both in the house and in the garden. Hopefully she will teach Kevin to recognise his seizures and to comfort him during that process, as she has learnt to do.
I know that puppies are hard work, with the little accidents and the chewing that are inevitable, but on balance I am expecting Kevin to bring even more fun, love and laughter to our family, which can only be a good thing.