We sat opposite the two most sensible people we know after one of the meals they had kindly cooked us. They have two great dogs – cocker spaniels – who we were fussing. We started talking dogs (our favourite topics of conversation are pretty much bikes, dogs and food). They mentioned their family members had just had a litter of puppies – a direct line to their dog.
This was really early in our grief, just days after Lenny’s funeral. Our feelings were (and often still are) so intensely painful that we looked for anything to ‘soothe’ them. I looked at Bri and thought she has such an analytical mind that surely she can solve the problem of grief – she is a natural problem-solver, she could ‘fix’ this. Obviously that was desperate griefy brain thinking…..
But she didn’t let us down. I distinctly remember her saying, “look, nothing and no one can do anything to make this in any way better for you, its awful, truly awful….. but you might as well be sad with a puppy.” I now think, “you might as well be sad with a puppy,” could easily be one of those inspo quotes for a mug or a card! I thought of our rescue Border Collie, how we have never owned a puppy, the costs involved and the fact we were barely managing to get out of bed by noon (if at all) each day. But Bri knew all of this and thought it was a good idea, or as she put it, ‘its not going to make things worse.’
We never envisaged having two dogs because we never thought we would get a puppy (it seems unless you know a breeder well its an ethical minefield) and another adult dog would likely bully our submissive, gentle rescue Collie. As the puppy had links to Bri and Alex it basically has a 5 star rating of ethical and moral approval – these guys research every company they purchase from, they don’t own plastic tupperware, and only drink ethically sourced coffee beans. Their relative who breeds the puppies only does so occasionally, usually there is a long waiting list and he only lets them go to people he knows (luckily our friends gave us a stunning reference). It seemed like everything fit into place – we like to think that Lenny sent him to bring us some joy and comfort – we asked him if this were the case and he winked at us.
Suddenly, we were up early in the morning and had to get up because the puppy (we named him Mac) needed us and didn’t care about our grief – his focus is food, toys and wees. It has been 9 weeks since we picked him up and he has provided us with comfort in the form of excessive cuddling – he is so silky. He needed to be cared for and we had a need to care for a tiny being (needless to say a dog is in now way a replacement for a child), but some of our need to nurture had somewhere to go. He has been a delight and is a great companion for our Collie and the only dog to ever teach her to play – he has given her a new lease of life.
Mac has already been to Scotland, to a few different beaches, up a mountain and many of the Ethel peaks in the Peak District. He eats the finest brown dog pellet available, has a posh dog bed and is adored by everyone who meets him – all in all he doesn’t have a bad life! Thanks Lenny and thanks to Bri and Alex – our fellow dogs, bikes and food people!