It's Molly dogs birthday today. Molly is our 8yr old cocker spaniel who we had had since being a puppy.
We bought her as a present for our son, who was going through treatment for Leukaemia at the time and as he was nearing the end of the treatment we promised him a dog. Believe me, it was not an easy task, finding a dog. I thought I would have chosen the very first one I set my eyes upon but no, it took a few visits to see what was out there, what kind of homes they were coming from and what the breeder was like. One thing I did not want to do was to fill the pockets of some awful breeder who was selling litter upon litter with no thought for the mummy dog.
The first set of puppies we went to visit were in a house on one of the poorer estates in our town. That didn't bother me but when I got there I did not get a good vibe. I took both my kids with me and they obviously fell in love with all the pups straight away. "Please dad can we have one, please, please dad". I looked at the pups, all playing inside a small paddling pool enclosure, covered in dog poo. It was not right. No mum dog in sight and 6 little pups caked in poo, rolling around in an empty paddling pool. I made my excuses and we left. I think the kids cried on the way home, thinking I would never get one.
I had set my heart on a cocker spaniel, golden in colour if possible. I always wanted a dog I could take to the field and play ball with. I wanted a girl dog and I already had her name as Molly, even before we met. The weeks went by and still there was nothing on the web sites I had browsed. I kept reading about spaniels and how active they could be, I was really looking forward to our walks together. Then it appeared. A breeder suddenly popped up on the site with one remaining golden female cocker. It was in Rochdale, some distance away from where we lived but that meant nothing to me. I was going no matter what. We made the call and after work that night we all went out on the 60 min trip to Rochdale, me the wife and both kids. They were soooooo excited on the way, expecting me to bring her home that night.
When we arrived at the location, everything I had read about started to pop into my mind. The location was a farm, just on the outskirts of the town. We were greeted by the farm owner and we asked the relevant questions regards him being a breeder, can we see both parents of the pup etc etc. We were then advised that the mum could not be seen that night as it was late and the pup had been brought there so we could see her. I broke the golden rule. The kids were mithering to see the pup, what could I do. Really the general rule is, if you can't se the mum and dad of the pup then don't buy it. The chap led us to a kitchen area and opened the door for us. As we entered, all alone curled up in a little basket was the most cutest little golden puppy you have ever seen. She looked so pleased to see us and slowly climbed out of her bed as we walked to see her. Her dark eyes stared at me almost begging me to take her there and then.
I wanted to pick her up first but with the kids being there I knew they should have first hold. My son gently picked her up and cuddled her into his chest. From that moment we were hooked, well I certainly was. After we all cuddled her I left the kids in charge whilst I spoke to the chap selling her. He wanted £600 which was the going rate 8 years ago. We sat and talked for quite a while and he asked us why we wanted a pet so I explained my sons illness, which he was finishing treatment for. The chap was amazed and also told us how he too had leukaemia when he was a child. Due to this he offered us the pup for £400 as he could see we were desperately in love with her.
Due to my sons leukaemia we had to wait till the pup was 12 weeks old before we could take her. This was all to do with his treatment and when it would be safe to have a pet. The chap stated he would keep her the extra 4 weeks and we left a deposit.
The next five weeks dragged. I thought about Molly most days, sat in the kitchen without us. In my eyes she was already mine. We read books on dog food, (which is a maze in itself) and settled for one of the well known brands. We purchased a collar with her name on and bought a cage and dog bowls. The kids made a calendar with the date clearly set on it. It was like the countdown to Christmas.
Soon enough it was the first week in July. We booked the collection date and the excitement was high. I remember it being a beautiful summers day when we left to go and get our Molly dog. The one hour journey again took us to the farm in Rochdale. We were greeted by the same chap who took us to our baby girl. She was bigger, much bigger that when we first saw her. The kids screamed in excitement that they could now take her home. We slipped on her new collar and the kids took her out in the courtyard whilst we paid the chap. On returning back to the kids I found them arguing over whose knee Molly would be sitting on in the car on the way home. For those with kids you will have come across this scenario several times a week.
We loaded up the car and my son was chosen as the first lucky winner of the "DOG ON KNEE" competition. Off we went on the 60 minute journey home. Five minutes later we were pulling over at the side of the road with Molly being sick all over the car. How can dogs be car sick. I will never know the answer to this question but many years later Molly is still sick on car journeys.
Eventually we arrived home and took Molly into the house to meet her new bed and her new home to be, for the rest of her life. She was frightened and just wanted to stay close to us. It must be awful to be taken from your mother like this but it's been done for years upon years.
We knew what to expect that first night. The books and social media sites all said the same....when she howls and cries at night time DONT GO DOWN TO HER. We found an old small ticking clock and wrapped it up in her bedding We Brough from the farm. This was supposed to sound like a ticking heart from her mum, with her smell still attached to the blanket. This would certainly help her sleep that very first night.
We placed her in her cage, switched off the light and crept to bed. For the next two hours Molly cried and howled until she eventually must have fell asleep. We didn't break the golden rule that night or the next three. By day four Molly was trained in the art of sleeping, she was happy with the thought that when morning came we would back to see her.
The next few weeks was a mix of love, worry, tension and play. Molly took time to settle in and would poo constantly. She had the runs and we had her in the vets at least twice over this. Eventually this calmed down and we put it down to the change in food.
We started to bond, me and Molly. A dog will form a loving bond with one family member and in our family it was me. I fed her, loved her, stroked her and walked her. To Molly I was her life.
I can understand how close people get with their pets, treating them as a family member. For 8 years I have formed that love of Molly. That bond when I return home from work and she eagerly meets me at the door, tail wagging and always bringing me one of her toys to show her affection.
She then leads me through to the utility fridge where she knows I keep her treats. I am then followed from room to room for the rest of the evening until bed time when she wants for me on stair number 6, always number 6. Mans best friend. All a dog wants is your love and attention. I often spend more time saying good night to Molly than I do with my own wife.