In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”
Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?
As I’ve briefly mentioned in quite a few of my previous posts, I have a Golden Retriever named Daisy. She’s going to be two on the last day of February.
I bought her in early May of 2013, about a week before my birthday. Admittedly, I rushed into it a little bit. When I get an idea into my head, I have a very hard time convincing myself to slow down, wait or not do it. The fact I have no self-control is also why I’m now having to diet, but that’s been discussed plenty in other posts.
Anyway, my then-best friend decided he wanted a dog. He isn’t very organised, so I’d often be the one to help him out when he got his latest big idea. I spent hours looking for options to suit him, and even longer looking through “puppies for sale” ads, my heart melting with every picture that came with them. Like most of his big ideas, he changed his mind. As quickly as the idea came, it went. I should have seen it coming (I guess subconsciously I probably did) but I was annoyed. All that research for nothing. I couldn’t get those little furry faces out of my mind. I’d grown up with dogs, but had moved out of home a year before, and I missed the cuddly company. I lived in a first-floor apartment, so it wasn’t by choice I didn’t have my own. It just wasn’t feasible.
The days dragged on and my mind kept going back to those ads I saw. Finally, I decided I couldn’t ignore them any more. My lease was coming up and I knew I’d be moving (my housemate had to move out due to changing jobs and I couldn’t afford to live there alone), so I decided if I saw an ad go up, I’d bite the bullet and go for it. I hadn’t completely made up my mind between a Goldie or a Lab, so I also left that up to fate.
Now that I’d set my mind to getting a puppy, I couldn’t think of anything else. I was constantly on websites that listed ads, even when I was working. I was on the shop floor when I stumbled upon an ad that had only gone up a few hours earlier, advertising golden retriever puppies. This was happening faster than I’d anticipated (it had taken months for mum to find our first dog all those years ago, though looking back, it’s because she’s the opposite of me, and meticulously plans everything) but I also knew that retriever puppies were snapped up extremely quickly. I called the number on the ad straight away, and was surprised to find out that they were the next suburb over from work. They were keen to sell the puppies ASAP (I could tell that over the phone) so I agreed to go to the address after work and check out the furbabies.
I told myself that there was no pressure to buy, even if they were keen to sell. I don’t know why I bothered though. The second I saw the chubby, fluffy babies, I knew I had to have one. I specified I wanted a girl (I’d grown up with female dogs so I thought it was safest to stay with what I knew) and they showed me two sisters. The old man who was there was nice enough, but didn’t seem hugely interested. I guess his mentality was that if I wasn’t going to buy one, someone else gladly would. I asked what the differences in personality were between the sisters, and he shrugged and said nothing. Obviously, I didn’t believe that but maybe he just couldn’t tell them apart. They looked like the spitting image of each other. He gave me one to hold while the other toddled around my feet. The second he put the little girl in my arms, I knew I had to have her. There was no way I could say goodbye to her.
He wanted me to take her on the spot, but everything had happened so quickly that I told him that wasn’t possible. I was happy to put a deposit down but I would have to come back on the weekend after I’d bought a bed and collar and lead and food bowl and food for her. I had none of that. Once he knew I was serious, he didn’t mind holding onto her for the next five days. I was grateful for that. I didn’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t willing to.
The next five days dragged on for so long. I stocked up on all the dog things I could get my hands on. I still wasn’t sure of my short-term plan for her. I lived in an apartment, I worked full time. Still, I’d make it work. I had to. My original temporary plan was to buy a big puppy pen, leave her in it during the day, come home on my lunch break to let her out, put her back in, go back to work for the last few hours, then let her out when I got home. Not ideal, I knew that even at the time, but I only lived five minutes away from where I worked so as a short-term solution I thought it would work. I bought the biggest puppy pen I could find so she’d have room to move around in, in preparation for this plan.
The day finally came when I could go and pick her up. I was so excited. I bought my friend with me so I had someone to hold her on the car ride home. When I arrived, the old man greeted me again, letting me inside and leading me to my new furbaby. He gave me a bag of dog biscuits and a book on puppy rearing. I handed over almost $1000, then we headed off. We took her back to my apartment where I’d already covered the floor with blankets in case of accidents. The puppy toddled around, sniffing. I wanted to cuddle her and play with her; she wanted to nap. She’d already had a big adventure, and decided finding a little nook to squeeze into was safest so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick her up again. Smart dog.
After I let her rest for awhile, I wanted to show her off. I took her to my work first. The car ride must have given her a tummy ache, because the second I bought her into the backroom, she starting making the “I’m gonna be sick” noises, and I got her to the sink just in time. Poor puppy, it had been a big morning. Everyone at work fussed her over. After that, I took her to my parents’ place. I’d been careful to keep all the pictures off social media as I hadn’t told them yet. I knew they’d be mad either way, but I thought surprising them might help.
I rocked up on their doorstep, the puppy tucked away safely in my arms. Mum went to tell me off, but just couldn’t do it. She was just as enamored with her as I was. The puppy set off to explore the next new place. Mum’s dogs didn’t know how to take her. One of them has always hated dogs so promptly got put outside, while the other watched on from a careful distance. It had been a long time since she’d been around a puppy, but she’d always been gentle so we knew she’d come around to the visitor.
After the initial shock wore off, mum asked what I planned to do with the puppy while I was still in the apartment. When I explained my temporarily (less than ideal) solution, she promptly said that wasn’t going to happen, and she’d have to stay here while I was at work. I was pretty happy with that, even though it was 30 mins away. At least the puppy would have company all day, and she’d get toilet trained early. I wasn’t sure how the grumpy dog would like the new housemate, but bad luck to her.
That night, I took her over to my nan’s. I loved showing her off while she was still little enough to carry. I knew this phase wouldn’t last long. The puppy was completely worn out, and promptly fell asleep again. It was then I managed to get this awesome photo of just how tiny she was. Her paw was the same size as her stuffed elephants. Within a couple of months, the same toy was dwarfed by her.
The first few days were spent going back and forth between my apartment and mum’s place. The puppy wasn’t eating much, which we were concerned about, but eventually she came around once she began to feel settled at mum’s. She was so playful, constantly carrying toys around in her mouth (or at least, trying her best to) and she loved treats.
While I worked, mum taught her how to sit (she’d learnt how to by the time she was twelve weeks old!) and was on the way to being toilet trained. She did have a cheeky habit of peeing on the porch though – to her, outside was outside, and it was hard to fault the logic.
While all this was going on, I was looking for a new place to live. We finally found a few we liked, and set out to apply for them. We thought it might be tough to land one with a puppy, but the first one we applied for we got, which was great! Within a couple of weeks, I’d packed up and moved into the new place, eager to have my puppy with me.
Since then, I haven’t looked back. While I may have rushed into it, I’m glad I did. I love the company she offers (especially now I live alone), I love how smart she is, I love that she’s often the reason I get off the couch and exercise. She rescues me from moths that get into the house and from birds in the backyard (she loves chasing them). Her favourite place is the local dog park where she gets to meet new friends. She also loves going back to her first home (my parents’ place). At some point, I’m going to get her a friend, but not until my house is built. I’d like to say I won’t rush into the next one, but I can’t make the promise. At least I’ve thought about it for awhile. I’m in two minds between getting another retriever, or getting something smaller. I love Goldies but sometimes it’s tough walking her (she’s really strong and stubborn when she wants to be), but I’m worried if I get something smaller, that Daisy might get carried away playing and hurt her. Decisions. I have awhile to think about it, so I have plenty of time to think it through.