Tales of puppy love

The main focus of my blog is guide dogs, so I obviously write about my own dog a lot. Now I want to hear your own stories about your canine companions. Every dog has a story, whether it is a guide/assistance dog, family pet, a mutt you know or neighbourhood stray. Write their bio, tell me about them: Name, breed, characteristics, bad habits, funny stories, whatever you want.

OJ wasn’t the first dog to come to live in our house in Donegal. There were many dogs before him, but as you will read, none were as clever.
My dad brought home a puppy he found when I was about three or four, thinking I’d be delighted because I loved animals. This dog was crazy and I was terrified! I cried and begged him to take him away. The people who owned him came looking for him, but knew me and my family and said I could keep him. My dad, being a big Elvis fan insisted we called him Shep, and I learned to love him. I remember he used to open everybody’s laces and jump up on people. I don’t remember what he looked/felt like at all. He got poisoned and had to be put down and I cried for ages!

Blackie (how original) was a stray that turned up at our door. I don’t remember anything about him but there’s a photo somewhere of me and my dad feeding him bread. I think he was a staffy, and not the friendliest, so he didn’t stay around long and got turfed off to the pound or somewhere.

For my sixth birthday I got an 8 week old golden Labrador who we named Foofur (don’t ask!) My mum wanted a small dog, but this one had huge paws and grew to be a gentle giant. He was lively, playful, crazy and wolfed down food in seconds. He jumped in and out of windows, ate doors and ran upstairs and hid when there was fireworks. He detested most other dogs, especially Patch, who lived down the road. I would walk him around our garden on his lead, and he would be as good as gold until he heard Patch. He would run, pulling me to the ground and dragging me with him until the lead broke or I let go. I used to set up jumps and obstacle courses in an attempt to train him, (Cruel i know, but I was only small!) My cousin had a horse and I used to go horseriding and really wanted one too. This was the next best thing! Foofur sometimes ran away for three or four days, and would come back thin, dirty and exhausted. He had scars on his eyes from where he got stitches after fighting. He would swim after seagulls in the sea, and my parents swore each time he wouldn’t make it back to shore, but he always did. My nephew would lie on his tummy and fall asleep while drinking his bottle. My family, friends and visitors to our house adored him.
We had Foofur for thirteen and a half years and making the decision to have him put down was very difficult. He was legendary in our town and people still talk about him today. The book ‘Marley and Me’ by
John Grogan
Could have been written about Foofur.

I bought Sasha with my confirmation money when I was in sixth class. She was a lhasa apso, with a silky coat and crooked buck teeth. I constantly groomed her, bathed her, played with her and walked her. She could jump very high for such a small dog. She had a wonky leg, so she skipped rather than walked. She would eat anything. Before we got a proper post-box the post woman would just throw the post in the back door. Sasha only chewed it once, and inside was my tickets to a REM gig. Luckily my sister found her, and she had only chewed the corners, so the tickets were fine.
Foofur just about tolerated Sasha. They would play together and he would pull her around with her head in his mouth, always careful enough not to hurt her. When she was a tiny pup he accidentally stood on her, cracking her ribs and puncturing her lung. Oops!! They would try to steel each other’s food and growl at one another, but they loved playing together.
We only had Sasha for four years because she was knocked down right outside our house.

Just after my 21st birthday I bought our bichon fries Dougal. He’s the cutest, most playful, affectionate, rogue I’ve ever met. He doesn’t bark, he screeches! He was very difficult to housetrain and growls when we brush anywhere near his rear end. He won’t go into the sea to swim at all, and is excellent at hiding from me when he’s got something he shouldn’t have in his mouth. He knows when its bedtime and loves his bed. He hides from his lead when my mum wants to walk him, then lies on the ground and refuses to move. He barks two minutes before my alarm goes off nearly every morning.

OJ is a saint compared to all the dogs that came before him. He’s trustworthy, intelligent and does what he’s told (most of the time anyway!) He enjoys his guide dog work but equally loves his free time. He learns quickly and loves going to new places. He has a black shiny coat and gets lots of complements on it. He knows when people are talking about him and loves posing for photographs.
I have learned a lot about keeping dogs since I trained with OJ at the guide dog centre in Cork two years ago. I just wish i had all that knowledge before we got any
of our previous dogs!

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6 thoughts on “Tales of puppy love

  1. I agree — wish I had the knowledge I gained with my first guide for our previous pets! Our first attempt at a dog was a dalmation … the movie 101 dalmations had come out and we thought it would be so cute! Not a good fit for our family – Spot was SO hyper. Fortunately after a few months and worried that my poor children would be 'scarred' for life, we sold him to a man who had another dalmation and a large place for them to RUN and burn off all that energy. Afterwards we settled on a pug and my guides and they have been great fits for our family. Will be fun to read the stories that other readers share!

  2. We had a great collection of dogs over the years at home – all gun dogs and great personalities. My Grandad lived with us and the dogs were all his and although they would play with me and accept affection from the rest of the family – it was Grandad who they listened to and obeyed totally!Tara was a brillant Springer Spaniel, Shot was a Welsh setter (and the best gun dog Grandad ever had) and Grace was a wonderful German pointer that Grandad took shooting with then then President of Ireland Paddy Hillery. We have lovely photos at my family home of Grandad with Grace and President Hillery. Grandad died just a month short of his 99th birthday four years ago and I always think its a shame he never got to meet Clive. He would have been impressed!Sharing 'dog' stories is a lovely idea Jennifer. Take careFiona

  3. Thanks for the stories.I always wanted a dalmation after that film too Becky, but I've heard they are very lively.Lovely story about your grandad Fiona. Your right he would have been so impressed with Clive, and with how well him and the not so little man work together.I bet Clive has lots of doggy stories from his days in kennels in Cork.

  4. Figured i'd jump on the band wagon too.Our first dog, Lady was a border colley. I was about 4 or 5 when we got her. She always used to bite our heels since she was a sheep dog. As she got older she didn't do that as much, but she started becoming a bit thick. She would often chase her tail, thinking that something was chasing her. It would often end up with her head butting our front door. She also used to sleep on the landing of the stairs, but often she would roll over, and forget she was on the stairs. You always used to wake up to "Yelp!!!!!!!" followed by "Thud, thud, thud!!!!!!!" We had her for 11 years, before she croaked.Our next dog was called Casey. She was a springer spaniel. She unfortunately was abused as a pup, so often used to wee on the carpet alot.A couple of months after, we got a boxer /staffy cross, who is still currently with us. She was owned by our friend, but she was too boisterous for him. She is called Sally. We didn't name her lol.Well her and Casey got on fine for a year. Then when it came to halloween, Casey got really scared of the fireworks, so started to attack Sally. Her accidents on the carpet were getting more regular too. Eventually we decided to get rid of Casey, since she could attack my 6 year old brother.Now we just have Sally. Hopefully she'll get on with the future new eddition, which will be my guidedog.

  5. I used to have a Springer Spanniel who had a history, with foibles, growled at children and would hide behind me, but was basically simple. My second guide dog, Anxious, a Lab/Retriever, was very straight forward. Easy to understand. Slept when tired. Wagged her tail when happy and worked like a Trojan. Shewas not at all complex. My first Guide dog was a Golden Retriever,Guilda, and she was complex. She had moods. She was stubborn and always had an eye for the main chance. Chad is the most complicated of all. He will sit in front of me, at the end of a long and hard day and put his paw on my knee, look me in the eye and demand my full attention. If full attention is not attained, he will go to bed and I hear the“Hurumph” sound of a discontented dog. If we are walking and crossinga road and I decide it isn’t safe afterall, turn back, bring him backon the lead, he is so put out, confused, confidence destroyed, that his body language will shout loud to me for the following hour “you don’t trust me! I don’t understand!” So, my question is this: am I just too super aware of what isgoing on in his mind? Or, are all our dogs so different from eachother? My three Guide Dogs have all been so different, and my pet, the spaniel, who was a dote and I loved him to bits, was so different again, but I never spent the amount of energy or time on what was going on in his head as I do with Chad!Sandy

  6. haha Torie I love the bit about the dog who regularly fell down the stairs. I'm sure she got a sudden wake up call every time she did that.Interesting Sandy. I'd say you and Chad both have interesting thought processes. I really want to meet him sometime, and you too of course!

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