The best thing that happened to our family in years… was this pup, who we called Kip, after the incredible marathon runner, Kipchoge. The idea was that our kids are going to grow up and leave home, and I would need a running partner even when the kids are off at college and such-like.

He arrived at a time when we needed a little bundle to love and adore and who loved and adored right back. No questions asked, the reason folk call their hounds their “emotional support dog” is the unconditional love that your pup will pour back into you.
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I guess what put me off having a puppy for years was that so many people said… “Argh, puppies are so much worse than toddlers!!!” Not to mention the cleaning up… blergh… Well puppies are not nearly as much hard work as toddlers and brace yourself, like changing your own kids diapers is okay, cleaning up after your pup is okay too.
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Our dog does require a lot of attention, but we are happy to give it… he is a boundless joy to us. For the first while he was too small to go for walks, we literally sat with him in the garden for a few weeks. We sat and sat while he played around us, nothing has forced us into the great outdoors like this little pup has.

In the beginning we made sure that the last person up in the evening took him outdoors before they went to bed and the first person up took him outside… and he slept under the dresser in the kitchen… as he got older he got more adventurous and now sleeps on the floor next to my bed… he no longer fits under the dresser – though I think he would still like to sleep there.
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When he was small we left a few chewy toys with him in the night and he never worried us at all, when he got a bit older he was able to run about and bark he would have a few moments of the middle of the night madness… but it wasn’t nearly as bad as living with a toddler (!).
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We did spend the first week or two with him in the garden, and after that we could be inside and if he needed to go out, then he would take himself out on his own… though he has always preferred company.
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I do understand why folk call their sheep dog puppies Shadow, he knows that he is my pup, and never leaves my side… he is at my side all day long. I never tire of it… if we do go out for a short while he comes with us, or stays in the kitchen with toys… and if we are going to be out for the day then we take him with us, or leave him to play with other puppy friends at my mom’s house. I wouldn’t recommend getting a puppy, or a pet of any kind if you are out most of the time… but lets be honest we are home and if we do go out, then it is to hike or the beach… and if you pick your adventure wisely then it is easy to take your puppy along with you.
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He is very active when he is active… but there are long stretches in the day when he likes to nap… and doze in the sun!!! So bursts of energy and then collapses into nap mode. That being said, he is always, always ready to play and if he doesn’t get enough play and enough engaging games in the day… he will indeed get you up in the night for a play… so this dog ensures that we go for a walk on the mountain or a run on the beach every day… Something I have always wanted to do, but it took a puppy to get us there!!!
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He is not as food motivated as I thought he would be, but to be honest he would rather play than eat and if he doesn’t play enough then he won’t eat. Also after his supper overnight he does have fifteen minutes of insanity… when he runs around and goes and barks and chases his bowel… we let him go mad… its just fifteen minutes-ish. But right now during the lockdown, we can’t go off the property at all, luckily there are several family members doing the 2km a day challenge… and we take him with us round and around the garden, up and down and up and down the front stairs… it can be done, but not nearly as easy as playing on the beach or racing up the mountain together.
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Feeding a puppy is not nearly as hard as I thought it would be either, we make sure he gets the puppy version of food… he eats kibble with a mix of tinned food… and costs way less than the “coffee a day” habit many people suffer from. And the pure terror of unexpected vet bills, well we did get pet insurance for him, which covers all the vet visits he needs, especially in the first year when they have a couple of routine vet visits.
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Having a puppy has been great for our family, and all my madly active kids, and we all can’t wait for the lockdown to end so that we can take our puppy back to the beach and up and down the mountain… it is fun, it is lovely for all of us. Just can’t wait.
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That’s it… he had a first birthday. We had cake and celebrated… and went on a scavenge round the house for any lost tennis balls, because who knew that of all the things to remember to shop for before the lockdown… tennis balls would be the one!!!
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