My life revolves around two tiny, fluffy little dogs.
I exaggerate not.
I got my Bichon Frise, Lily, (aka Love Of My Life), for my 40th birthday, last October.
It was truly love at first sight.
She sleeps with me, watches me shower, follows me from room to room, even the bathroom. She is my constant companion.
We bought her, but from a home where she was unwanted and neglected, so we consider her a rescue dog. She came to us at the age of 18 months, with matted fur, very little training and poor social skills.
We showed her complete love and affection, worked on her toilet training and got her matts shaved out of her coat.
After several months we saw a change in her as she relaxed and began to trust that this was her forever home.
We celebrated her second birthday with great joy.
One issue that was a major cause for concern was her distress at being left alone for any length of time. We feared that in her first home she had been neglected and possibly left alone all day.
Her panic and distress at being left alone has resulted in no holidays and a grand total of TWO nights out to the cinema for the OH and I since she arrived. Whenever I left the house on errands, I always rushed back, feeling massive guilt for leaving her at home.
She got so upset at any absence of me in the room that the OH and I decided to get her a little sister.
Poppy, the Cavachon, joined our household in April of this year.
We had no idea the disruption and heartache she would bring.
Lily hated her on sight.
My little girls nose was put seriously out of joint by the interloper.
The OH fell head over heels in love with Poppy immediately, much as I had done with Lily. Many arguments as to whether or not Poppy could remain with us, given Lily’s level of distress at her presence, followed. Tears were shed on both sides and the house turned frosty.
My heart broke to see my once happy little dog cower in the corner as Poppy stole her food, her toys and her bed. My Lily just was not the same anymore and I couldn’t bear it.
After a few days, we took Poppy to our wonderful vet for her first health check, only to be told she had a congenital heart defect that was completely fatal. Our options were to allow her to progressively decline and eventually die at around a year old, or to opt for surgery that would completely cure the defect.
There was no question about it. We were not people who could be responsible for any animal suffering. Given that the OH was flatly refusing the idea of returning her, or trying to rehome her, we decided we could not bear to bond with her and then wait for her to die.
We had no pet insurance and the surgery was due to cost up to €2,000.
The unscrupulous man we had bought her from was not returning our calls at all. We felt he needed to know the situation and stop breeding form the bad genetic line.
I hope karma has something special in store for him.
Our vet pleaded our case to the vet hospital and managed to get us a discounted charity fee of €1,000, which was a blessing.
I have to admit that the three days that Poppy was away for her surgery were a wonderful respite from the fighting and despair that had become the norm between the two dogs.
I savoured life with just Lily, as it had been in ‘the good old days’. We enjoyed three days of blissful togetherness.
However Poppy returned after the three days, full of energy, sporting a massive scar and funny little shaved belly. As if nothing had happened at all, she tore around the house at warp speed.
This dog was unbreakable!
She proceeded to chew everything in sight.
Despite buying her a large collection of chew toys, she continued to favour my leather sofa, leather storage box, slippers, and chair legs, anything but the toys.
Her little puppy nails scratched the sofa to shreds. So much so in fact that it is now covered by a throw to hide the ruins.
She learned to jump up onto the kitchen chairs very early on and I have frequently retuned to the kitchen to find her perched on top of the dining table as if it were her own personal throne.
She is single-pawedly destroying my much loved and well-tended garden. Fast as a cheetah, she is nigh on impossible to catch once she starts the garden rampage.
On the bright side, she took to house training very fast and has very few accidents now. She also walks very well on the leash, which is still a struggle with Lily.
Lily is adapting to the new arrangement, slowly but surely.
Lily prefers to lie in bed after I get up and wander downstairs at her own pace. She is not what you could call a “morning girl”.
Unfortunately, Poppy is.
As soon as Lily appears at the kitchen door Poppy dives on her for a morning cuddle and play. Lily growls, bares her tiny little teeth and a scuffle breaks out every morning. I have grown accustomed to this and tend to ignore it until it dies down after a few minutes.
My day ahead will be filled with keeping a close eye on Poppy to intercept any illegal chewing activities and countless trips to the garden for toilet breaks. I seem to spend an inordinate portion of my day circling the garden waiting for either dog to do their business.
But one day…
The other day I noticed the two dogs sharing a seat in the lounge, curled up together snoozing. They also now instigate play with each other, which still involves some snarling, but appears to be mostly harmless.
They chase each other around the garden, trampling all over my flower beds. Lily has adopted some of Poppy’s bad habits and is now rooting around in my plantings as she never did before.
Poppy watches Lily’s every move, and we can see her learning so much from Lily. It’s lovely to observe her looking up to her big sister with total adoration in her brown, (slightly crossed), eyes.
I am feeling more hopeful each day that they will continue to bond, it is still very early days after all.
My Lily still knows she is my number one, my Love Of My Life. She maintains the privilege of being allowed to sleep on my bed, snuggled between me and the OH. Poppy is confined to her crate in the utility room at night, which suits her fine as long as she has her blanket and toys for company.
Each morning I am woken early by Poppy’s barking, demanding release and a toilet break.
I get up, do the honours and make a coffee. My days of sleeping in with Lily are long gone.
I sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, as Poppy licks my toes under the table, and await the morning scuffle that will inevitably occur when Lily rocks up to the party.
Once the carnage is over, I get down on the floor and allow two gorgeous little dogs to climb and nibble all over me and I think perhaps Poppy has her place here after all.
Perhaps the ruined sofa, boxes, cushions and chairs are worth it for double the doggie love.
It has not been an easy couple of months but I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
* I feel it is only right that I should reference, highly recommend and thank rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com for inspiring me to write about my fluffy daughters. 🌻 🐶