In March 2014 we finally had enough predictability in our chaotic lives to get a dog. Having wanted one for years, this day was momentous. A quick google, a few phonecalls and the next day this fat, flatulent, fluffy bundle of chocolatelyness was ours, a chunky chocolate lab of 12 weeks old. Completely stupid but completely cute.
His was a bit of a sob story. The owner had mum and dad, but sold them once the puppies were sold as she was heavily pregnant and struggling. One puppy was sold to her brother but he was out the house 12 odd hours most days so returned him pretty quick. She literally had days before due date so it seemed like fate.
A month later I became pregnant although I didn’t find out for a while longer. I’ll always credit him with making me feel comfortable enough for it; pregnancy took a while but it seems we got him and a month later something changed.
Anyway, fast forward a few months, we bring the baby home. Advice sought from Dr Google, we brought her in in her car seat, him on a lead but free to sniff. I went in first, I was so pleased to see him but also to reassure him he was still important. My lovely lovely boy. He was 13 months old when she came along and they are now best of friends.
At first he was unsure. Mummy and Daddy suddenly had this new thing they spent all their time on. Mummy didn’t play any more. She was too tired, too busy but still tried and took him for lovely walks. Daddy had done a good job of training the boy, he was well behaved. We crate trained him and when it all got too much we’d find him sleeping in there with the door open. Safe and settled.
Slowly, the signs he loved her he started to show. Feeding the baba on the moors and my usually quiet dog suddenly started going mad, barking and all aggressive. There was a man 100m away and he was protective because we were vulnerable. 15 minutes later and baby in sling we meet the same man. Dog doesn’t bat an eyelid.
Now, ‘Ayley’ is her favourite word. She’s sad when he’s gone. She clambers over him, hugs and pulls him, walks him, climbs into bed and he sits there and takes it. She feeds him ‘ninner’, both at the right time and extra when she can sneak it in. She’s learnt to throw his ball, he loves that. She was sad the other day when I picked her up from nursery that I hadn’t walked him down to get her. ‘Doggy’ wasn’t there. I think the tantrum was 10 minutes long.
Today I caught her in a cupboard in the kitchen. She had his dog treats but didn’t know what they were. He was sat, patiently waiting but as soon as I took the packet he was all over me. I gave one to her to give him and he was so gentle.