Many of you will remember fondly, our late local District Nurse Fenella Maver, and her little dog, Corrie. Corrie was a wire-haired fox terrier, one of those dogs that kids used to have toy versions of with a wheel at each foot and a big red handle with which to push them along.
In her final months Nurse Maver became unable to look after wee Corrie and due to a casual remark to Irene Napier at school one day (Irene was kindly looking after Corrie and Nurse Maver in their home at the time) I somehow agreed to take her on!
I hadn’t consulted my family at all and the kids were all -
“ you’ll have to walk her every day you know”
“Who’s going to clean up after her?”
“don’t expect us to take her out” etc.
but I had had a dog as a child and was keen to have one again.
I had been led to believe Corrie was about 7 or 8 years old, but when I took her to the vets the first time it emerged that like lots of ladies of a certain age she had been lying! She was ten. She was also quite deaf and had been used to rather too much human food as treats which made her a bit overweight, underfit and umm not very fragrant! However, she fitted into our household well, being like most of the stuff in it, a bit scruffy, secondhand, but still with plenty of life left in her.
She came to live with us in November and her fitness target was to manage a walk to the top of Castlelaw by Christmas. She did it! She gradually got fitter, loved rooting out hedgehogs to bark at in the garden, sometimes too early in the morning, and became one of the family. She loved to stand on the open door of the dishwasher and give the plates a pre-wash!
I took her to the nursing home where Nurse Maver was living a few times and everyone enjoyed her visits.
Eventually she added blindness and increasing frailty to her woes and after 2 years with us we had to say goodbye.
I lasted just over a week before getting another dog! Dibley was a rescued Airedale Terrier who was about 8 years old. Same sort of idea as a wire haired fox terrier but bigger, more statuesque, and a real country gentleman. He actually had a pedigree! I think his previous family had split up so he became homeless. He was an intelligent, gentle dog with impeccable manners, who was also full of fun and energy. Sadly he succumbed to a sudden “twisted gut” and died before we had had him a year.
My family were now won over to the idea of a dog and so after about a month this time enter Dougie! Another rescue, from PADS at Forteviot this time. He was four, a failed sheepdog - frightened of sheep! - and children, loud bangs, window cleaners, bikes, scooters, you know typical nervous collie. I had to coax him into the car with treats and slow acclimatisation. Dougie spent much of the first year with us hiding in a box room whenever anyone but me was in the house, but he loved being out walking in the hills and was good with other dogs from the beginning. He now loves to join any parties in the house, has many girl and boy friends (human and canine) all over the village - he’ll do anything for a biscuit - and can walk past a (quiet) child without bolting. He copes with ferries and buses, but is still wary of sheep - maybe he thinks someone might whisk him away from his cushy life as a pet and put him back to work!
Although he just turned 11 years old he still relishes long hikes whenever he can get them and is doing a great job of keeping both David and me sane and fit(ish).
A dog IS a tie when you want to be away from home for any length of time. You either have to take him along or come back early, or ask someone else to look in on him, but these disadvantages are FAR outweighed by the pleasures and companionship a dog can bring. We love having our dogs - and as for the poo issue - well you just have to Bag it and Bin it!