The Christmas before last, we managed to persuade Neil after years of trying that we should have a dog.
He took us to our local rescue centre and
we chose a scrappy little Jack Russell we named Fudge because of her
It was love at first sight for all of us. It was the best
Christmas ever as we spoiled Fudge, lavishing her with the affection she craved
since being abandoned as a stray. Even the home gave her away, waiving their usual admin fee as she had a poorly leg.
Two days after we
had her was Christmas Day 2010 and we all enjoyed a fantastic walk in the
snowy Shropshire countryside with my mum. We bought doggie Christmas treats and we felt great
pride at being able to give her a "forever home" with our
Despite Neil being against having a dog so long, Fudge inevitably became his
best pal, he got used to feeding her and taking her out most often, even though the rest of us had promised we'd be the ones to do
He took her to an obedience class, where the teacher laughed,
wished Neil luck and sent them home - there was no helping Fudge, she was
too mischievous - and totally not a fan of other dogs, or cats come to that, or ducks, swans, sheep, horses or rabbits.
Anything with four legs rather than two and Fudge was all for seeing them off. This summer I started to see some improvement and just now on our walk, she was the best ever. I told her to 'leave it' when we spotted a Staffie over the road and she just whimpered as I stroked her nose and told her she was a good girl for not going ballistic.
All the time Neil was ill, we both wanted to get
back to training her but had to keep postponing appointments due to hospital stays.
Last Christmas is a blur, Neil was out of hospital and I
cooked Christmas dinner, Fudge made a massive fuss of him.
died, Fudge has helped us all laugh again as she
chases a squirrel or murmurs with contentment when we fuss her. But she's also a massive pain in the neck - still in desperate need of training.
She gets me out of bed far too early every morning for a walk, has the most disgusting wind and welcomes everyone into our home with a wag of the tail and soppy look. Apart from the wind, she is the most wonderful companion.
She also eats clothes pegs, raw oven chips, refuses all doggie toys and barks at any dog with the temerity to walk past our house.
I've now booked to go back to training, a different class, to finish what Neil started.
Christmas will be our first without Neil and our third with Fudge. I know
there will be tears but there will be lots of laughter too, thanks to