If you don’t follow me on social media then, dear reader, you will probably not have noticed that I now co-habit with two dogs (and their Mum, it was a package deal).
Their names are Sasha and Dave, they are Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and they are the most adorable weird furry little things and I am utterly smitten with both of them.
I grew up with a golden retriever. My parents got her not long after I was born, photos of me crawling to steal and chew on the young pups bones exist, and for the first 15 years of my life there was always a dog around, mooching for biscuits, and generally falling asleep and lying in the most unhelpful places possible (and then standing up when you went to step over her). I loved her dearly and have so many fond memories of her.
I’d forgotten how much fun it was having dogs around. Having a dog hop up on the sofa (where they are allowed) and curl up next to you is wonderful, having a dog stand silently right behind you in the kitchen less so but that’s all part of the fun. One of them is a wee grump who will always make sure you aren’t giving anyone else any love, so much so she’ll force her way between you to make sure you realise she is there, the other is the most chilled out little weirdo I’ve ever met, a handsome guy that sits happily watching TV with you, ‘talking’ to all the animal friends that appear on the screen.
They’ll sit when told, they won’t touch their dinner or Kong treats until they are allowed, and they know which rooms they are allowed in and which they aren’t, even if they do continue to test that boundary. They are not allowed upstairs, but Sasha can frequently be found with two front legs on the bottom stair, which technically isn’t ON the stairs… right?
Sasha is the older of the two, she’s had a hip op so can get a little stiff if she’s been bounding about like a puppy (which she still does of course). She’s a rescue, and has a little bit of separation anxiety so whenever you get home she is OFF THE SCALE HAPPY TO SEE YOU! even if you only went out to get something from the car… She’s also very protective of her pack, which makes her a wee bit grumpy with other dogs (because Dave might make friends with them, god forbid!) but most dog owners are understanding when we let them know she’s just a noisy grump (very very much bark worse than bite). She is always wanting a belly rub, and is forever making sure that she is getting whatever attention and love is going, even if that means shouldering or head-butting Dave out of the way. She’s a wee grumbly girl and I just love her personality.
Dave is the ‘puppy’ and doesn’t seem to realise he’s built like a tank. He’s the gentlest, most laid-back dog I’ve ever met. In comparison to Sasha, when I get home, Dave will wander over, stretch a little, check me out and then wander off. If Dave could he’d make friends with ALL the animals he sees, especially the wee black cat he spots everyday from his window sill lookout. I don’t know if the cat can hear Dave whining and talking to him but what a racket! Dave also likes a ball. If Dave has a ball there is nothing else but the ball. We also have to make sure Dave drinks plenty of water as he’s on medication after having a few fits in the past. Dave likes to curl up in my chair, or plonk himself next to you on the sofa and watch TV with you (until Sasha leaps up as well to get in the way…).
It’s been only a few months but I already can’t imagine not having them in my life. Regardless of the 3am emergency pees, the walks in the snow – top tip Staffys don’t really like bad weather, Sasha especially who can pee in about 4 seconds before turning and heading back home as quick as she can – the worries when they choke on something, the scratches when Sasha jumps up on my lap, or Dave’s whining when he wants something late at night (usually up on the sofa cos you are in his ‘spot’), they make me smile every single day.
Their breed still suffers from bad press, not as much but it’s still there. I’ve not witnessed it often but you do occasionally get people veering away, or crossing the road altogether. To be clear, the breed isn’t the issue. If I dog attacks or bites a human it’s either badly trained, or badly provoked.
I’m lucky that these two have been well trained and well loved already, so it’s been pretty easy for me to learn their ways and the commands needed. The worst thing Sasha might ever do is ‘hold’ your hand in her mouth, which is exactly as it sounds as she doesn’t bite at all. The worst thing Dave might ever do is… well I’ve no idea cos mostly he’ll say hi and then bugger off and leave you to it. I mean, he does have a bad habit of always standing on one of my feet when he’s near me, but that’s just a paw to paw high-five, right?
It’s a complete change to all my routines; factoring in doggy dinner times, what to do with them if we are out for the night, making sure that Dave gets a good walk everyday, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
The other night we were sitting on the sofa, and when Becca got up, Dave quickly leaped into her spot. Not to be undone, Sasha quickly joined and there I was, on the sofa with Dave on one side, Sasha on the other. My furry little goofballs.