Jay and Artie are having a wee afternoon nap with matching smiles on their faces. I wonder if they are sharing a dream as well as a sofa.
Thursday morning after the girls headed to school, I drove to the nearest supermarket to do the weekly shop. When I say nearest I actually have to travel over twenty minutes to reach the large store. By the time I had finished the grocery shop, popped into a couple more stores and headed home again two and a half hours had passed.
I opened the front door to be greeted by Artie, our year old whippet, who was really happy to see me. Artie has recently been given the run of the house while we are out instead of the puppy cage he used to be placed in and so far he has been really well-behaved. On my second trip carrying bags from the car to the house I noticed a chocolate covered Breakaway biscuit bar, still in its wrapper on the hallway floor. Uh oh. On further investigation I found the multi-pack of bars missing from the kitchen work surface and four empty packets strewn across the living room floor.
I immediately telephoned the vet to ask their advice and after explaining the situation they said he should come in for a check over . I quickly got the rest of the bags from the car, shoved the frozen groceries into the freezer and loaded up Artie.
We arrived at the vets and to say Artie was hyper and bouncy was a bit of an understatement. I think either the chocolate was kicking in or he was just excited to be going to the vets! The young woman took us into a consultation room and I handed over one of the empty chocolate wrappers along with the packet they came in. It took the veterinarian a few minutes to work out some complicated calculation about the strength of the chocolate (it was milk which wasn’t as strong as dark) how much there was per bar, multiply it by four bars and then divide that by Artie’s weight.
At the end of it the vet said the chocolate he had consumed was below toxic levels, he seemed fine from his health check and I was to expect a possible bout of diarrhea. If I saw any change in him at all I was to take him straight back in.
Well, I am happy to say he is fine with no side effects at all and happily eating his doggy approved treats. Oh, and I shall be putting the chocolate biscuits up higher from now on.
We took the girls trick or treating tonight for the first time. Bart dressed as a witch and AJ as a cat. Both girls were allowed a little make up, which seemed to be just as exciting as the sweeties they collected. We went to our neighbours, a couple of friends in the nearby village and finished at their grandparents house. Their Granddad had had a fun afternoon with some white fabric and torches making spooky ghosts to decorate the house.
Only two things from their goodie bags were allowed to be consumed when we reached my mother in-laws, much to their disappointment. Even though we only went to five houses, they still have enough treats to last them a week.
This morning while walking down the track to get the taxi to school, AJ’s school bag opened and out rolled the lovely big apple she had picked for her morning snack.
Unfortunately, Artie thought it was a tennis ball and immediately pounced. When he realised it was in fact food, he thought he was in puppy heaven.
After playing with it for a wee while, he left it on the side of the track when I put his lead on as we approached the road.
Artie was really patient waiting for Jimmy to arrive and collect the girls, but he was desperate to get back up the track to his prize.
Now with that extra exertion and a full belly the little chap is having a well deserved rest. I on the other hand have to make a quick trip to the girls’ school to drop off another apple for AJ’s snack time.
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.
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.