He is here…

This weekend marks the year anniversary of when my hubby and I got married at Holne Park House. It’s gone in a flash, but…that isn’t the biggest thing to happen in our lives anymore.

Lots of our friends who have gotten married did something quite big to commemorate their special day. Big gifts perhaps…a trip away. And we? Well…we became responsible of another living being.

We set off on our two hour drive to Portland yesterday to collect our new puppy. The whole way there I felt somewhere half between riddled with nerves and being completely numb; still not really believing that we were off to do what we were off to do…

Our house has been getting very ‘puppy ready’ over the last two weeks. His crate arrived, some toys, vet matts along with other things, but it still wasn’t fully sinking in. I have always been one of those people who doesnt really accept or believe something is happening until it IS happening…

School exams for example.

Oh my God, Bex – are you feeling nervous? I am so nervous…

Nahh, don’t feel anything! * sits down in the exam – panics almost to the point of mini panic attack!!*

This was very much the same.

When Bacco was placed onto my lap from our wonderful breeder and we started to make our journey home, the numbness cascaded away into a flood of panic and nerves. Oh my God…he is mine. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS GORGEOUS LIVING THING.

And oh…that car journey was the longest of our lives! Craig was painstakingly taking corners, we both would flinch when going over bumps as as soon as we did our poor, tired little travel sick puppy would begin panting. I held him in closely to try and take some of the movement out of the car, and he buried his little face into my arms and closed his eyes. “Good boy!” I’d say lightly. Have you ever consciously slowed your heart rate? I did impossible things to keep my little man calm, and it worked. He would look up at me for reassurance, looking deep into my eyes. “Good boy” I’d say again with a smile. This seemed to suffice, and he would push his face back into a crevice.

He was sick when we were almost home.

Once we were home though…wow. He tottered around confidently looking at our lounge, galloped around our garden finding dried leaves and new things to smell (as his new panicked mummy made sure he wouldn’t eat anything he wasn’t meant to!), and took any new toy we introduced him to proudly, with tail held up high, into his crate. Soon enough, he had curled up and started snoring within it.

What? This was CERTAINLY too good to be true, right??

I had read many things about how to crate train your new puppy. How to introduce him to it slowly…how he may hate it so you must make it a positive place (I started this by feeding him inside his crate), but bless our sweet little boy – he happily made it into his den and will voluntarily go inside for some down time, and this is our first full day with him at home. Me and Craig kept laughing in shock as we watched him flicker in dream.

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We took him out to the loo, calmed him down, put on the radio and left the landing light on as he settled into slept.

But then night time came.

Have you ever trembled at a sound? Felt as if your heart was slowly crumbling and falling into the pit of your stomach?

Well. I didn’t stop trembling last night. And I didn’t sleep a wink.

We only had three cries last night – he was such a good boy.

One when we went to bed (we stayed up as late as possible as we knew the clocks were going back, slowly crept off without a fuss – but he still didn’t like being left on his own..)

One around 1ish (it broke my heart when appearing on the stairs to *clap* and say “NO”. As when he saw me, his little face lit up and his tail began wagging….)

And then lastly around 4. A mournful howl, one that tore at my stomach with sharp knife like fingers. I simply clapped loudly from the top of the stairs (I couldn’t bare to see his little face again) and he stopped immediately.

I, however, sat on the edge of my bed and cried.

We both decided to get up at 6am (7am from last night…silly clocks going back. Well…and we were awake anyway!) so that he wasnt on his own in bed for more than 8 hours. Our lovely little boy lit up, wagged his tail and we took him straight outside where he did a poo! (sorry…can you say “poo” on a blog?) I had heard horror stories from other people who had tried putting their new puppies in a crate for the night. How they had “screamed all night”, “torn up their bedding”, “messed all over it”. How they “had to bring him upstairs”. And our boy? Perfect.Of course, I am sure cuddled up with us on a bed would have been his first choice (as it would be mine…), but as I write this to you, just after mid day, I can hear him sighing away curled up in his favourite den. And that’s what I wanted it to be for him. I think it is about keeping strong, however awful it makes you feel. He cries because he wants you to come down, so…if you come down and talk to him, and leave again – of course he is going to scream more as it brought you down the first time! And yes, as I cried I mumbled to Craig “what if he hates us in the morning?”, as I felt we were doing something evil in his eyes, but…do you always go to a crying baby? It is a hard lesson, and I am damn sure not looking forward to being “strong” over the next few nights. (Please only be a few…)

We had been advised by our breeder to get vet beds so that if he had a little accident the bed area would stay completely dry, and it was. It is designed for puppies, whelping, and even older dogs who may suffer from incontinence, and it worked a charm. It is what she uses and the feel of it must have felt similar and comforting, and I want nothing more than my little boy to feel safe and happy.

It is crazy how much I love him always. Like…when I meet all puppies or animals in general I “love” them – but not like this. This is a love that kept me awake all night or roused me at the slight noise to check he was ok. This is a love that could leave me staring at him all day. A love that I go completely calm and warm inside when he looks me in the eyes, runs at me with a wagging tail or cuddles up into my lap. I cannot wait to work hard at making him an amazing dog (despite how nervous I am about doing a good enough job for him!), and I am going to look at introducing him to the clicker tomorrow…

Stay tuned.

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Show off.

I do love my days working with the charity, Magic Carpet. They are a wonderful charity based in Devon that provide arts in health activities for adults with learning disabilities. As a freelance drama practitioner, I provide drama days for them, where we are currently working towards our very own version of Peter Pan.

Today was filled with drama activities, music on my ukulele and pretending to be Pirates and Lost Boys. (To name a few things we got up to today!)

Our Lost Boys live in a huge tree house above the canopy of the jungle, the entrance to which is through a secret door inside a tree. From their hidden paradise, the Lost Boys can secretly drop items on to passing pirates heads. Tomato soup and custard were two things that were mentioned! And brought about many giggles!

When given the tools and opportunities, everyone can have wonderful bright minds and fantastic creative imaginations – and days like this are perfect examples. They thrive when using drama and music, and I love watching them grow in confidence and as their ideas blossom.

Not only are these participants absolutely lovely, most of them being quite elderly, but they are so interested in your life and love talking about what you get up to when you aren’t with them. I have never worked with people who are so interested in me. Just me. What am I going to have for dinner tonight? Did I have a nice weekend? That they like my hair today, or a scarf I might be wearing. Being with them for a day and working (albeit, tough work at times), you leave feeling warm inside and inspired. And of course, that I see them weekly – they knew I was planning on getting a puppy! And I must say, they were very excited to see a picture of him on my phone!

Oh…isn’t he beautiful!

What a lovely face!

Ow, isn’t he sweet!

Of course I think he is gorgeous, and I am beyond excited to get him…but as an adult, being this excited about something, you can feel that you might be starting to annoy people by going ‘on about it’. Of that perhaps you are ‘talking about it too much’, or ‘showing off’.

But they don’t make me feel that way. Being so full of genuine intrigue and excitement. Asking questions about him. Wondering if I could bring him in one time. Genuine, and complete.

I can’t express the joys and benefits of working with people like this. I love my diverse job, and what I can bring to people through drama and music.

And…you know what else?

I actually loved being about to talk about puppy to gentle people who were just as excited for me as I am.

Thanks, guys x

The countdown begins…

I don’t quite believe it.

Like…I know it is happening, but I actually don’t QUITE believe it yet. Not fully, anyway.

We are getting a puppy.

I know! What? Those who know me know how loooonngg I have being going on, and on (lets just pretend this is times 100 or something…I went on a lot) about wanting a dog for my own, and…now I am getting one.

What do they say about ‘good things come to those who wait’? Well, I have waited. And now is the right time.

I have battled with my desperate desire to add a family pet to my home with the difficulty of both of us working full time. I did not want to get a dog to leave alone in the house all day every day. I know people do this, and they make it work…but I didn’t want this. This changed however when I started working for myself. After three years working in education, I found myself forced into attempting the freelance life. I thought the pressure and stress of finding work, having those months where you worry about your expenses as you only bring pennies in (if you are lucky) and not having regular routine would be too much to handle, expecting to fail within the first year. But…I didn’t. And a year later (almost to this day) I find myself not only making a living, but enjoying the freedom and the excitement and peace this comes with. There was just only one thing missing now; one thing that I had room for now after the constraints of full time.

We had jointly been researching beagles for a long time. Not only are they blooming GORGEOUS, but most importantly to me…are known for being great family pets. That was it – that’s what I wanted. A dog that would not only start my family, but be integrated as a member once children came along. And, despite many sites warning ‘first time dog owners’ away from them as they can be incredibly cheeky, I was in love – and up for the challenge!

When we found an experienced breeder and arranged to see the pups, I was still in complete denial. My husband wasn’t actually going along with this…was he? Was he teasing me? Letting me see them, fall in love and then go – “Ha! Nahh, only joking, we can’t have a dog”.

And…oh my life. They were beautiful. She not only introduced us to the littler (so cute seriously, you would cry. Well…if you were as crazy about animals as me you would. What am I saying? A hardhearted fool would have!), but also to her 9 adult beagles. I always knew they were gorgeous and friendly but – they were so gentle, so warm with their ear kisses and soulful eyes. A gentle paw up on your lap, a nuzzled breath into the ear and then deep, deep eye contact. All followed up by a wagging tail of course. I was sold – even more so than I thought I was. We had to have one of these puppies.

We arranged a second meeting after promising we would ‘go away and think about it’ (pft, like that needed to happen!) and we went back last weekend to choose him.

And guys, we’ve picked him.

He comes home with us in two weeks. He is perfect.

They say that you usually start your family in the first year of marriage? Well…we bring him home on our first wedding anniversary.

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