The impact from Willow passing away so quickly left us reeling for a while, but as the summer holidays marched on and two very noisy children took up so much of my time, it became easier.
As the warm days passed Jay and I talked about waiting to get another dog and then started to talk ourselves into not having a dog at all.
It wasn’t until the girls went to school, Bart starting Primary 1 that the full impact of a Willow-less house hit me again. We have a half mile walk down the track to reach the main road where the girls are picked up by a taxi, which then take them to school in the nearby village. I had it all planned out that this was going to be mine and Willows time to take a lovely walk together twice a day. Even with the Dixie Chicks blasting my ear drums from my Walkman, I was so lonely trotting up and down the hill.
Although AJ is the big animal lover out of the two girls, it was Bart who really missed having a dog around and she would ask me two or three times a day when would we be getting another dog.
We love Collies, but the thought of another one in the house was too painful so we thought about getting another type. Again, James chose the breed and I went searching.
We decided on a whippet. We had heard they have lovely temperaments and James really liked them, especially after meeting a friends whippet Italian greyhound cross. Living as far north as we do I thought I would have a lot of trouble finding one, and I was right. I finally came across an advert on the internet of some puppies in Inverness, but on further investigation I realised the ad was over a month old. I thought it worth a try, so contacted anyway. I heard back from Lorraine the next day who told me there was one puppy left, a silver boy. I know Jay really had his heart set on a girl, but when a photo came through of a gorgeous gangly pup, being cuddled by a little boy, I was smitten.
The following morning, with a crate in the car, money in my pocket and a whole bunch of lies told to the girls on why I had a dog travel cage, (we hadn’t told them about the puppy in case it didn’t work out) I waved them off to school and headed out to view the little whippet.
I picked up my friend Lynsey on the way through Inverness and the pair of us followed the directions sent to me.
It was love at first sight. Lorraine came to meet us carrying this big eared, gangly legged little scrap and I just knew he was mine. We headed into her house to have a chat about his needs, food requirements and see his parents, then a short time later armed with a lead, collar, bag of food and his favourite toy, the new puppy and I headed home.
I had several names rattling around in my brain, but after meeting the little chap, Artie came to me and the name just wouldn’t leave me head. So Artie he became.
I met the girls with him that afternoon. They adored him from the start and shared the job of walking him back up the hill to home.
Now a few weeks later, it is as if he has always lived here. He is a fabulous little chap with a funny personality. He gets on great with my in-laws dogs and cat… now. Our cat Sparky doesn’t seem to mind him, although Artie can be a bit of a pest.
Jay is over the moon with him and they have started puppy/human training classes together.
Once again we got lucky and found ourselves an amazing dog.