Back to basics as new pup joins the family

This year over the course of two months saw our beloved pets drop from a chaotic threesome to one lonely lurcher. He moped around the house, head hung low and took to his bed. Not even his ball could coax him out.

We decided that the incumbent dog, as he was still young, would probably take to a pup.

As it happened we had to cancel our trip to the United States to our nephew’s wedding due to family illness, but we had kept the holiday time. A good opportunity to get a pup settled in.

We rang various contacts and trawled the internet and eventually we found a multi-coloured litter of lurchers, relatively local. We took possession of a broken-coated brindle girl we called Freyja – the Old Norse word for ‘lady’ and the goddess of love, beauty, war and destruction, which seemed to sum up a lurcher quite well.

Most people would expect a vet to go armed with stethoscope and thoroughly examine a pup prior to purchase. This was not the case, our intended, the only bitch among the litter, firmly bonded to me and it wasn’t until half way home I noticed the tip of her ear was missing. Having owned an amputee and a one-eyed cat, an odd-eared lurcher was not an issue.

The resident lurcher was initially a bit put out by the new arrival. It took three days for him to soften ,but now they are the best of friends. As with many of our clients it’s been years since we had a pup, especially as the last two dogs were rescues so we had to go back to scratch.

Armed with a socialisation chart, we have been trying to expose her to all types of people including children, various modes of transport and housework noises such as the vacuum cleaner, and gently getting her used to being handled especially ears, mouth and feet.

Now fully vaccinated Freyja has enlisted us on a training course, aka a puppy class. We come away with our homework every week and it is a revelation to see how easy it is to send out mixed messages without meaning to.

It’s a great opportunity for her to meet other dogs and new people. Other commitments have been put to one side to work on the training while she is still at this impressionable age.

We are certainly looking forward to our doggy holidays next year with renewed enthusiasm, having two fit, young dogs again, assuming, after the recent storms, that we still have a caravan in the Lake District!