As you may have already gathered, if you follow me on instagram or had the pleasure of watching my Vlog last week, we decided to get a puppy. When I say we, I mean, Damien walked in from work to a lovely surprise a few weeks back!
I’ll be honest, I’m no expert when it comes to training a new puppy and the first night of her crying downstairs had me questioning whether I’d done the right thing. The turd trodden through the house, the new aroma lingering around and our pussy cat, Pip, now residing upstairs had also contributed to me questioning my sanity. Oh yeah, the three kids and regular hospital trips must also be considered.
Yes. I admit it. I know if it was anyone else, i’d be asking why!?
When George was diagnosed with leukaemia we were told new pets at that time were a no-no, as was travelling more than an hour’s radius away from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, holidays, being around other children that could be carrying contagious illnesses and a whole host of other things that most other people take for granted.
Since then, we’ve watched in horror as our baby suffered the devastating side effects of cancer treatment. We’ve comforted Oliver as he questioned whether the medicine was going to work for his little brother and Harriet as she cried for me whilst I left her to be at George’s bedside.
These days however, we’re in a completely different place. George’s treatment has progressed well, he’s attending school and we’re now able to leave the area as long as we’ve let the hospital know – progress. I asked George’s consultant as he entered the maintenance stage of his cancer treatment whether a new pet was still off limits. The doctor felt that providing we’re practising good hygiene at home and the puppy is fully vaccinated then welcoming a new family member has more positives to offer than negatives for us.
The kids have always longed for a doggy… I decided the they deserved this, and the fact that I’m hanging around talking to myself on Vlogs, I took the them “just for a look” a few weeks ago at some puppies. Obviously we came home with a fur ball on Oliver’s knee and wondered what the hell do I do with it now?!
“Sugar” as Oliver named her, is a Cockapoo – a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Toy Poodle or a “bloody mongrel” as one lovely lady kindly pointed out to me on the park at the weekend. She doesn’t appear to be a curly-poo, more of a silky-poo and she’s definitely a clever-poo…. I’ve taken to adding poo on to everything Sugar orientated like a real-life mushy dog owner.
We chose this particular “breed” or “cross-breed” as Cockapoos are renowned for being great with children (v.important in this house!), are affectionate, not major barkers, are clever and don’t shed or drool a lot – perfect for a novice dog owner like me.
Oliver cried when I said we could have her. My son, who I’ve hardly seen cry since he was a baby, cried! Harriet speaks to Sugar in her own language and is completely besotted and George thinks he’s a dog too.
Sugar (poo) is perfectly timed for me as well… i’m not one to sit around watching Jezza or spending my life tidying, our house is a home, it’s clean, but I don’t want my gravestone to read “her house was really tidy”….. so now I have a new little friend to keep me company while the kids are in school and sometimes I’ll move things around in an attempt to do housework around puppy dates and walks. She gets me out and about in all weathers when I wouldn’t have bothered before, getting a bit of exercise all the way to the pub on a Friday afternoon. In all seriousness though, it’s refreshing getting out to blow the cobwebs away.
She’s already sorted her toileting out which is a major bonus with George around. With the added bonus of the artificial grass, we can wash everything away and disinfect too. She sleeps soundly at night, can sit, roll over and give her paw…. I think I’m a dog whisperer!
We’ve been to a Puppy Party – yes this exists! we’re going to training classes and we’ve met loads of new people (of course) out with their dogs on the park, it’s like a whole new social life. Sugar seems really happy and settled in the mad house, she’s strangely soft towards George and loves to learn new things. We’re looking forward to many happy memories and when I say she’s great company, I mean I’m still being watched on the toilet x
(I must note that our Consultant’s opinion on whether us as a family could take on a new pet is not a blanket decision for all oncology families. If your child is receiving cancer treatment, please speak with your child’s doctor regarding new pets as everyone’s story, situation and treatment is different).