If you’re a long time reader / follower of my antics on social media, you’ll know that the jemjabella household is a bit of a zoo. OK, a lot of a zoo.
Well, we finally added another head to that this year when – after ~3 years of research, putting it off, saving, more research, putting it off – we finally got a dog. A Labrador Retriever puppy, to be precise. He’s purebred (i.e. bloody expensive) with working pedigree on both sides, including championship winners. If you follow the lines back far enough, he’s even got royal blood. Royal dog blood anyway. (Click through if you’re interested in that sort of thing.)
Obviously with all of those big important names in his line, it was very important to give him a big important name of his own. After some to-ing and fro-ing (I wanted to call him Tater, i.e. potato) we settled on: Sherbet. Very big and important, as you can tell.
Here is Sherbet, at just under 9 weeks on the day we went to collect him:
Sherbet slept the entire 2 hour journey from the breeder back to our house, which I’m incredibly grateful for because I’d anticipated poo tsunami shenanigans.
You might be wondering: why did someone with extensive experience of volunteering for animal charities, including several years with a local cat rescue, decide to go to a breeder. To buy – shudder – a lockdown puppy? Because part of the reason it took so long to get the point of having a dog of our own was because we could not find a rescue dog that would suit our situation. In the 3 years or so we were looking at getting a dog, we only found one dog that was suitable to be rehomed with both primary-aged children and cats and he was really, really old.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d have loved to have given an old dog a home, but our house is CRAZY so he’d have never gotten any peace. And as an active family, we just wouldn’t have suited his needs. I didn’t want to force the wrong dog into our life and put an already vulnerable dog in a bad situation.
Despite having spent so long reading and researching, the first few weeks with a puppy were the most intense days and nights I’ve experienced in years. Someone said to me pre-puppy that they’re harder than babies, and I absolutely would agree with that sentiment. The biting, and attention seeking, and absolutely constant (literally, every 15 minutes) trips outside to do a pee. The unsettled first few nights where he cried for his mum non-stop. The ongoing night time toilet trips which, after years of my kids mostly sleeping through, suddenly were the most torturous thing ever. Gaz and I did one night on, one night off, but it was exhausting.
But, unlike babies, it was short lived. He was sleeping through most of the night by about 16 weeks (unlike my babies, who didn’t sleep for 2 years). The constant puppy biting gave way to playful nibbling, and now he knows how hard and when to stop. Our early vigilence means I can count on one hand how many accidents he’s had since we got him. He’s taken to puppy training like a duck to water (ironically, as he doesn’t like water) and is regularly complimented on his recall. And most importantly, he’s well and truly stolen our hearts.
Now I’m just wondering when we should get another…