Pethood Stories – A Woman’s Best Friend with Petplan – I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life where we haven’t had a pet of some kind. As a child we were surrounded by cat’s, rabbits and guinea pigs. There’s definitely something calming when you sit petting an animal. I was more than happy to share my Pethood story as part of a series from Petplan Pet Insurance.
Our Pethood Story
Our son had wanted a dog from around the age of five and would regularly ask but we had a cat who was a bit grumpy and it wouldn’t have been fair to get a puppy. So that Ryan could have a pet of his own we got him a hamster, and then another four months later when the first went to hammy-heaven. Unfortunately this one didn’t last very long either and as Ryan was heartbroken we decided that we needed to choose a pet with a longer lifespan so we got a Lionhead Rabbit called Sammy and Ryan doted on him.
Having a dog was still discussed on a regular basis, and as a family we quite liked the idea of having a dog but we were both working full-time and our cat was still the main issue so the conversation was shelved many times. I should point out that we did love having our cat, she was a lovely girl, she just didn’t like other animals.
Amazingly she made it to the ripe old age of eighteen, and as a pet family it wasn’t long before the yearning for a furry friend became apparent.
2014 was the year of The Dog
Our situation had changed. We’d had a little girl who was now three and Ryan was fourteen. I worked part-time and Chris’ job was fairly flexible so it wasn’t long before the yearning for a dog came up again.
We did a lot of research before making any decisions, taking into account the every day costs of having a dog as well as the time we had available for walking etc. Chris didn’t want a small dog, Ryan wanted an English Sheepdog, Isabelle wanted a puppy and I sat and did the research but we were looking at labradors and retrievers. Then I found the Labradoodle.
Labradoodles come in a variety of sizes with some being more curly and hairy than others. Labradoodles are a crossbreed of a Labrador and Poodle and was first bred around 50 years ago as a low-allergen guide dog. A lot of people mistakenly think that Labradoodles don’t shed their fur which is totally wrong – you only need to see what we hover up every day!
So once I’d discovered the Labradoodle it wasn’t particularly hard to convince the others that this would be the perfect breed. As a breed they are good natured, if not a bit daft, great with children and have a good life span. It’s interesting to see what the most popular breeds through time are. I found a local breeder who had some puppies available soon.
I wafted the information through to the others on a daily basis and it was three against one (Daddy) and to be fair he didn’t take much persuasion. I showed the kids pictures of labradoodle puppies with their scruffy gorgeous little faces, and appealed to Chris’ sensible head about the advantages of having a dog, in particular why a Labradoodle would be a good fit.
When we went to visit the puppies we were led into a kitchen and in ran the puppies. I forget how many there were but they were all golden apart from one little scruffy brown pup. They were all over us, but this little brown one was biting at Ryan’s trainers, pulling at his laces and generally wouldn’t leave us alone. We knew then a there that he was going to be ours, it was like he’d chosen us.
Bringing him home in a veg box sat on Ryan’s lap, all of us grinning from ear to ear. As we’d done our research we knew that we’d have a settling in period where he might cry for his mum, brothers and sisters so we bought him a cosy bed and a toy monkey for him to cuddle up to.
Suprisingly he was no bother at all. He was at his happiest being around us and it really didn’t take long for him to be knitted into our family life. Dogs are known to lift people’s spirits that’s why they use them in some hospitals and nursing homes and coming home to this cheeky chappie is always a pleasure.
Charlie was covered by temporary pet insurance when we picked him up which lasted for a few days which gave us a chance to get his insurance in place. We opted for Labradoodle Pet Insurance Lifetime Cover which gives us peace of mind should anything happen. Petplan offer a range of cover which is tailored to your dogs breed so that you get the correct level of cover. Anybody even considering getting a dog should definitely factor in dog insurance.
It seems that most breeds have certain traits and illnesses they can suffer from. Labradoodles are prone to:
- Ear conditions
- Skin conditions such as dermatitis
- Lumps and bumps
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Cruciate ligament rupture
Poor Charlie does suffer with his ears on and off and has received treatment quite a few times now.
Life with Charlie
As we live on the coast we were keen to get him used to the beach so had his first trip to the beach at four months old. It was on this car journey that we had our first episode of dog car sickness which we later realised was due to anxiety. He gets quite anxious in the car, panting a lot which was resulting in him being quite sick. It took a while for him to overcome this, but we persevered making sure that we kept car journey’s short and always took him to places that he would enjoy.
Our Charlie has a lovely personality. As Isabelle was only three when we got him we made sure that he never jumped up at her, and even now he won’t jump up at children. He’s a sociable boy with other dogs and people. I don’t quite think he understands when people aren’t that bothered with him as he’s used to getting a lot of attention. He would wait for Ryan to come home from school for a bit of rough play.
Charlie is ruled by his belly! He’s a very well behaved dog, BUT will be a bit naughty if he’s given the chance to scoff. He’s gate-crashed many a picnic and has run off a few times when the temptation has been too great. Since getting him we have had another baby who is currently weaning so Charlie is in heaven at the moment.
He doesn’t like water! Bearing in mind the Poodle in him are known waterdogs, he hates it! He doesn’t swim in water and will only go up to his ankles generally at the beach where the water is gradual. When it rains you practically have to shove him out the door. He’s such a wimp.
Charlie loves to play, but he’s not as bouncy and energetic as he was as a puppy. He’s hopeless with balls. He runs after the ball but then never brings it back. His favourite walks are on the beach or in the forest where he can discover lots of different smells and loves to find sticks and bits of driftwood.
Charlie is our third baby, our fur baby. I’m his Mummy! Only other dog owners understand when I refer to him in this way. It took around the same to choose a dog sitter as it did finding a nursery for the kids.
We had another baby last year and it was quite a big adjustment for all of us. It was our first time with a newborn and a dog and the fur was a bit of a concern for us. A year on and Charlie’s loving this new source of food that a weaning baby provides. We now have daily dog/pram walks which seems to suit everybody.
Charlie celebrates Christmas with us. He has a dog chocolate Advent Calendar, a stocking and presents under the tree.
We also celebrate his birthday every January by making him a cake or treats and presents. His dog bed even matches our sofa!
Charlie is undoubtedly a member of our family and we’d be totally lost without him.
*This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own