For years we were contemplating getting a dog and for a long time we were going to get a scruffy terrier on the premises that they were nice and small. However, some people we knew had one that was lovely until one day it randomly turned on their youngest child so that put my parents off that idea. We finally decided on a Labrador after a taxi driver in St Albans told us all about his Lab who used to run away from his children when they took him for a walk and then get home before they did.
We bought off some people who owned a small holding in Essex. They had several dogs and about five rescue horses along with an assorted collection of chickens and guinea fowl. There were three black dogs and two yellow bitches and we picked the younger of the bitches.
As a puppy.
We picked her up on the way back from a holiday in the Lake District and so began her puppy years. Due to her small size people still think she is a puppy today but she is a LOT calmer. She had a crate to sleep in but if we locked her in it for any reason then she would howl until we moved it out of the kitchen. She would have regular ‘mad puppy moments’ which involved her dashing around the kitchen in circles until she crashed into something or got exhausted. She would never walk to heel on the lead (still a fight 6 years later) but she would come and sit and sometimes lie… She was and still is very good at shaking paws.
Learning to swim in Devon. She jumps straight into any water she sees now – the smellier the better.
As she grew up she experienced snow which she is hilarious in, sweet chestnut hunting which makes her do a very entertaining ‘prickly walk’, swimming which she learnt to do on holiday in Devon and shooting which makes her so excited that she sleeps for about a week afterwards. There are lots of theories as to why she is so small, the runt, a Balmoral Lab (small enough for the queen) but we call her a Suffolk Flat after the type of brambly apple tree we had in house number nine.
Surveying the scenery in the Isles of Scilly earlier this year.
Things our dog likes:
- Walks (as soon as we turn into our drive on the way home she slows to a plod).
- Sleeping, especially outside in the sun.
- Shedding hair everywhere.
- Chasing cats which involved nearly dislocating my arm in September.
- Playing blanky and ball, a game she invented herself which involves holding her blanket in her mouth and trying to step on her latest tennis ball.
- Playing any game which involves a tennis ball.
Things our dog doesn’t like:
- Any fruit or vegetable (she will eat anything else especially popcorn and cornflakes).
- Being washed with a hose.
- Traveling in the boot of the car (she likes to be at someones feet).
- Not being allowed in a room where everyone else is (even if she is covered in mud and there is a white carpet).
- Being decorated with flowers, caps, headphones, etc. She puts on a very tolerating expression.
- Not being fed when she thinks she should be, she will stare at you very meaningfully…