I was never allowed to have a dog throughout my childhood, the only pets my sister and I were allowed were fish. That's what made our yearly holidays to Angelesey Wales, so much more fun. The caravan we always stayed at was owned by my mum's friends and it was on a little farm and situated on one of the highest points on the Island.
My sister and I used to love to play in the fields around the farm as we lived in a city it was great to enjoy the freedom of the stunning surroundings. Anglesey had the most amazing walks, with Heritage routes, Wildlife walks and intriguing Geo trails. We enjoyed so many adventures on our walks as on any one journey you can pass towering cliffs, sandy beaches, majestic woodlands, mountains, marshes and grassland.
My parent's friends who lived on the farm always had a dog in all our visits, always a Jack Russell that they always named Fly. I met Fly 1, 2 and 3 in all my visits to the island. I loved all of these crazy dogs that were so full of character. When we went on our walks they always used to join us, never needing a lead walking by our sides, running off ahead, disappearing down the rabbit holes and chasing the cows and sheep. In the evenings when my parents would enjoy wine and cards with their friends, I would be happy playing with Fly, he would lay on my lap and let me stroke him until we left for bed. I knew one day I would get a Jack Russell dog of my own, it was something I would look forward to.
When I first purchased my house I was too busy to even consider a dog, working full time and managing a new house. Then I had my first child got married and time went by in a flash. My husband cheated on me and we divorced my life became tough, bringing up my son on my own and managing my house all by myself. Years passed, I fell in love again and after a year he moved in. I knew I had met my soul mate, he was amazing with my son and they formed a great friendship. We went to the cinema together to watch the film 'My Dog Skip' which is such a sweet little film about a boy and his Jack Russell dog. This got us talking about getting a dog and as my boyfriend (now husband) had always had dogs throughout his childhood, he said he would help.
I knew nothing about dogs and I carefully considered the decision. Buying a dog is like buying anything else, the more you know before you buy, the better off you will be. This advice applies to all aspects of buying your dog, from selecting the breed to deciding where to obtain the puppy. We spent time investigating to ensure we selected the right dog, size, coat, care requirements and temperament. Knowing what our cute puppy would look like and the kind of care he would need as an adult, dogs are for life and I wanted to get things right. My husband made me aware of all the responsibilities I would have to take on if I got a dog and I didn't rush the decision.
We took a look at the local kennels for rescue dogs but none of the dogs seemed to fit our lifestyle and none were Jack Russells. I really had my heart set on a Jack Russell dog and I wanted to experience having a puppy. We searched for Jack Russell breeders and found a recommended breeder in Wales. We spoke over the phone with the breeder who owned a farm and he explained that he was travelling to the Midlands for business in a few days so we arranged to meet in Birmingham and pick up our little boy Jack Russell from him. Feeling scared but excited we all went to Pets at Home to purchase all the things we would need for our new family member. My son wanted to call our new dog Skip, like the film we had watched and we said he could name him and agreed that it was a lovely name.
The days passed slowly, we were so excited to meet our new little puppy. On the day we were due to pick up our puppy we had a call to say that somebody had purchased him that lived closer and he no longer had any left for sale. We were so deflated, my son was so upset and so was I. However my boyfriend saved the day and rang around so many breeders that eventually he found a breeder who was selling eight weeks old Jack Russells and drove an hour and a half away at 10 pm to go and meet the breeder and the pups. We hadn't told my son as he had school the next day and would never have gone to bed, We also didn't want to get his hopes up as we wanted to be sure that the dog would be ok and the breeders were good.
When my boyfriend arrived at the house, it seemed fine and the breeders welcomed him. He was taken into a back room where he met the puppies and their mum. Their mum was friendly and came over to say hello, there were six other puppies in total and he had to pick one.They all looked so cute and very similar in colour but one stood out more and he was cuddled up asleep in a corner all by himself. When my boyfriend went over to him he carefully stroked him and he opened his eyes to take a look but stayed calm and chilled. He stood out from the others as he had a perfect spot on his back and he had the kindest calmest little face from all the others. His coat was glossy cream with some chocolate brown markings and of course the perfect chocolate brown spot. My boyfriend had made his mind up, it had to be him.
After my boyfriend had checked that our new family member came vet checked with all of his vaccinations up to date he handed over the cash, wrapped him up in his new little blanket and drove home with him cradled on his knee. I waited patiently for him to return this, seemed like forever. As the car pulled up on the drive I was out the front door and onto the drive. We had to whisper as it was now midnight and we didn't want to wake my son or the neighbours.
I could see his little face peeping out from his blanket and he was shivering. I had left the heating on and we brought him inside and closed the door. I sat on the sofa and my boyfriend passed him to me still wrapped up in his blanket. As I looked at him he looked back at me with the most adorable biggest brown watery eyes. He had a sweet little button nose and a perfect shaped face. I stroked him and his fur was the softest and fluffiest fur I had ever felt, I fell instantly in love. I didn't get much sleep that night from the excitement and the fact that I wouldn't leave my little puppy on his own, he slept curled up on my knee and I slept on the sofa.
The next morning was an early start, I wanted to surprise my son who had no idea we had a new edition in our house. I carried my new little baby up the stairs to my son's room and whispered in his ear that someone was here to meet him. He instantly woke up and couldn't believe that we finally had our own dog. I told him we hadn't yet given him a name as that was his job, we were going to name our dog Skip but we weren't sure that the name suited him. I had an idea of a name that suited him but I had promised my son that he could name him. He agreed that he didn't suit the name Skip and I asked him to think of another name that would suit him better. I encouraged my son to get to know him more and have a cuddle and play with him first before he made his decision.
It wasn't a hard decision to name him and my son soon came up with the name that I had thought would suit him 'Spot', how could we not give him this name after all he had the most perfect round spot on his back!
It was hard work training a puppy but my son and husband were both a great help and it wasn't long before he was fully toilet trained. After he had all of his injections and the vet had said it was ok to take him out, we took him out for his first walk. He was such a good little boy on his first walk, we didn't go far as we wanted to allow him time to absorb his surroundings. I had read tips on walking your puppy for the first time so I would know what to expect. Going outside was all so new to Spot and he needed time to adjust to all of the sights, sounds and smells of the real word. I was aware that walking your puppy in these early stages is all about time rather than distance covered.
He was soon used to the outside world and we enjoyed long walks with our lovely pup. My son enjoyed playing with him and taught him to sit, lay down and give his paw, we never managed to ever get him to roll over. He was such a cute little puppy, full of love and character he did use to chew up his toys until they were destroyed and sometimes other things that he wasn't supposed to, but we expected this from a puppy and it wasn't long before he stopped.
I wasn't very good at telling him off at night when he whined and for the first 6 months, he slept in our bed under our quilt by our feet. This had to come to an end though as our covers were always covered in little hairs, they were the kind of fine hairs that took a few washes to remove. As he liked hiding under our quilt I purchased a baby cot bed quilt and after a few disturbed nights he soon behaved and slept downstairs in his quilt.
When our daughter was born he sat by her while she slept in her pram and always protected her when we were out. He was the same when my son was born and was always such a fantastic dog with my children and any other children. We continued to visit Anglesea with our children but sadly as my mum's friend had passed away we no longer stayed on the farm. Spot loved the freedom of running about on the beach and our long coastal walks through fields and mini mountains. I finally had my own dog to love and experience!
For 15 and a half years we had the pleasure of owning such an adorable little dog. Sadly he was put to sleep last Friday 17th Feb 2017 as he was suffering badly with arthritis and could hardly walk some days. He was also going blind and was quite deaf, we had thought we were going to lose him over Christmas but we got to enjoy our final Christmas with him altogether as a family.
The loss has hit us all really hard and my older son who is currently living at his nan's house has not been able to bring himself to come home as he is too upset and can't face Spot not being here. I never thought I would love a dog as much as I have and I don't think I could ever own one again as it would never replace our cheeky little Jack Russell dog Spot.
I have so many wonderful memories of our darling dog Spot that I will treasure forever. He was always such a loyal and protective companion and we will all miss him so much!