Choosing to bring a puppy home
By PAPIA ROWE
Deciding to get a puppy
This is such a big decision to make for anyone – or at least it should be. For us, being ready to welcome a puppy into our home was the result of several different factors coming together. We are clearly dog people – I sometimes think of myself as half human and half dog with pride ! However I take the care of canines really seriously and would never casually venture into taking on responsibility for another life without 100% commitment from the start. I guess a lot of that comes with knowing the hard work that comes with rearing a puppy into an adult dog with good manners as well as allowing their individual personality to show through. This trepidation also comes from knowing that I will never give up on that puppy – no matter how hard it gets which lots of people do once the initial excitement of novelty fades. Perseverance is one of my key strengths after all.
Background – the why
What is our backstory to committing to a new puppy then? Well, we finally said goodbye to the last of our original 4 dogs in December 2019. Back in 2002, two years after getting married we took on two Irish Setter pups and six months later, two Border Collie pups : Bruce, Queenie, Lemon and Sherbet. We lost Queenie early on – the runt of her litter she had health problems from the get-go and we lost her at 4 years old. Bruce, Lemon and Sherbet were still around when we emigrated to New Zealand in 2010. We lost Bruce at the grand old age of 11 and in 2018, Lemon said goodbye and Sherbet followed a few months ago. It was the end of an era – these four dogs had been with us through thick and thin – the good times and so many difficult times. When Bruce passed on – we lost our old soul and the adult of all the dogs who was solid and reliable and constant. When Darran lost Lemon – he lost his best friend and the same for me with Sherbet – I don’t have a single human friend who has been there for me and loved me as Sherbet did for every day of her 17 years of life. She was something quite special and I think of her every day – now I smile when I look at her picture and the photograph reminds me of how much joy she brought me, just by being there.
We still have six dogs living with us – all of various ages and four of them taken on well after initial puppyhood. I think most people would look at us and say we have our hands full already and surely six dogs is enough. Obviously we have a different mindset. Dealing with the grief of our loss was undeniably hard for the dogs and for us (yes dogs grieve but I guess you would not be reading this if you did not already know this) and my initial response was to never get another puppy again as I did not want to put myself in the position of grieving like I just have done anymore times than I have already committed myself to.
Hope and joy for the future
When you come out of any form of grief successfully, you find yourself realising that grief is another form of love and without the willingness to love – life is pretty empty. So, in honour of our original 4 dogs that we reared from pups, we found ourselves hopeful for the future and found the joy waiting for us around the corner in us putting ourselves out there to love and care for another two pups and share our lives with them for the next 17 years.