Towards the end of May, our cocker spaniel, Ruby, had three puppies and we have two of them still living with us : Betty is staying here with our family but Arthur is staying here temporarily, until my niece is ready for him. They have brought such joy to our lives since they arrived, unplanned. Yesterday morning Betty sneaked through the door and came upstairs with me to wake Joshua and give him his porridge – the pups are so fast and slippery these days! I slid open his bedroom door and before I had time to wake him up gently, Betty was on his bed and licking his face as her greeting. I thought that might have been a rude awakening, but he grinned at me and giggled as she wriggled around on his pillow, delighted to see him. He responded happily to her greeting and then she gazed at me waiting to see if there was any leftover porridge for her.
As we are having new windows fitted, the house is in chaos with all doors and gates left open for the contractors, so all week, the dogs have come with me to work and stayed in the truck, until lunchtime when we have enjoyed a long walk together and another at the end of the working day and we have all enjoyed that temporary routine.
This weekend, Arthur is staying with my niece so after work I drove to the station and walked him in to wait, on his lead. I loved the reaction that he got as he made so many people smile, even if they just walked by. But a large number could not resist his animal magnetism and came over to say hello and to stroke him, several saying how he had improved their day. One couple with special needs spotted him from inside a cafe and came rushing out , picked him up and began kissing him. One lady told me that she loved his long waggy tail and another asked if he could stroke him, then asked if I thought a dog might help him with his anxiety? I was very proud of Arthur and how well he coped with all this attention from strangers, taking it all in his stride. In fact, later, when nobody approached him for a while, he looked accusingly at passers-by as if to say ‘Hey, can’t you see how cute I am?’
So my experience yesterday proved what I already knew, that dogs make people happy, they bring joy to humans. Not only have our 15 week old puppies taken Joshua to their hearts, allowing him to stretch their heads backwards, as he likes to do ,with no retaliation, but they are brave and open to strangers too, confident that they will be loved by everyone. This litter was not planned nor initially wanted, but the reality is that they could not have arrived at a better time as both comfort and distraction, and we will give them the best, most loving homes possible.