When Paul and I first thought about a dog joining our home, I remembered the cheeky character I had met at a friend’s house. The miniature schnauzer was staying while his owners were on holiday and Pat kindly found the breeder’s details. Barry Day has bred many champion dogs and is a well-known judge, so we were delighted to hear that a litter had been born on Sunday, 16 August comprising four bitches and three boys. On Saturday 17 October 2015, Paul and I drove to Solihull. Our life with Benji began.
I was sad to leave my brothers and sisters when Diane and Paul collected and drove me to their home. I was nervous on the journey, in a crate on the back seat, but Diane stroked me to sleep. When I awoke they showed me a comfortable blanket on a new bed in a different house. No smells of other puppies, where were my playmates? It was fun playing in their garden and being fussed. I do enjoy attention and for a while forgot about my other home. But later – when they left me in a bed in the kitchen – I was so lonely, I cried and howled, howled and cried. I couldn’t stop. Even when they picked me up, it didn’t help.
At least breakfast was familiar, Royal Canin puppy food, the same as my other home. I was hungry and gobbled it up. Later I explored a clump of yellow bushy grass. It looked inviting so I jumped in the middle. What a shock! I was covered in cold water; some I swallowed.
‘Paul, Benji’s in the pond!’ Not waiting for rescue, quickly I clambered out over the edge. I had a good shake, water droplets all around, before Diane picked me up in a fluffy yellow towel. Rubbing my tummy made me wriggle, so she put me down to race around in the sunshine, playing tug with Paul. It was such fun but then I had to lie down for a power nap.
Next day a boy called Dominic brought me some presents and threw a ball down the garden for me to chase. It made me happy, just like playing with the children in my other home. He said I could meet his black labrador called Guinness when I’m allowed out for walks.
Lots more cuddles and another bedtime. They found me a different, more comfortable bed, very snug in my special sectioned off area in the kitchen. Sweet dreams, I’m getting used to it here.
It’s fun on the garden table where I pick up the edges of the cloth I’m standing on with my teeth, trying to give it a good shake. I’m given lots of treats, one a new chicken flavour, and suddenly my fur feels clean and smooth. When they try to put a soft red collar round my neck, I catch it in my mouth: if I play it right a few more treats come my way. Then I sit on my bottom, I’m good at that, just like my Mum. They try to make me walk but I don’t like the feel of something pulling my neck. ‘Benji, walk, walk Benji.’ I don’t know what they want but treats are being offered, I guess they want me to eat them. So I get up and gobble all the pieces held out in a hand. Before I know it we’ve moved down the garden path to another flower bed with interesting plants to smell. I taste some leaves ‘No Benji, hydrangea leaves aren’t good for you.’ I let them take the leaf from my mouth. I prefer the treats.
They put me in the crate in the back of a car. It reminds me of leaving my brothers and sisters so I struggle to get out and cry. I ignore the treats and cannot help doing a poo. My mum would push us puppies out of the bed we all shared to poo – and I want to be good – but I’m frightened and don’t know where I’m off to now, maybe another new home? No, the movement stops. I’m lifted from the car and wiped clean before Paul carries me through a door. I remember the friendly lady’s scent from our last visit and wag my tail. I sniff the air but don’t recognise any puppy smells.
Simon Felger BVetMed MRCVS, Weybridge Veterinary Centre KT13 9DT – 01932 855856
Then it’s onto a table, a good vantage point to look around. Last time I was here someone called Simon the Vet gave me lots of his Coachie treats, that I like a lot. I wag my tail more vigorously, hoping for more. Simon feels me all over, inspecting my ears, eyes, paws, back and bottom. I don’t mind, Simon says how healthy and well-adjusted I am and gives me more Coachies. As Diane and Paul produce my inoculation and microchip forms, Simon says he thinks I’m champion and likes the way Barry trimmed my fur when he gave me a last bath at his place, before I came here. Well, everyone says I’m like a fluffy ball and I enjoy all their cuddles so it was worth being bathed, even though I prefer exploring and getting dirty.
Today I have a new friend, Caitlin, a friendly girl who gives me lots of cuddles, fuss and attention. She makes me feel special, we play all the time, well, unless she strokes me on her lap until I fall into one of my power naps. When I wake I’m ready for more fun in the garden. My favourite game is chewing flower petals.
‘You’re like King of the Castle playing on the rockery,’ Caitlin said.
‘You’re a lovable scallywag,’ said Diane. I’m not sure what that is but I get lots of treats so it must be good. Caitlin’s Mummy arrived and made a fuss of me. She kept mentioning another puppy called Dougal. I hope to meet him soon. I like it here but I miss my puppy friends. The dogs I’ve met in the park don’t want to play, I think perhaps I’m too small. Still, I’m eating all my meals as I’d like to grow as big as my Dad, then other dogs will play with me.
The first puppy I meet is called Ziggy. He’s a few months older than me and wants to play, but he’s gigantic and I wasn’t sure where I could hide in this huge garden. I explored all the flower beds while Ziggy stayed on his lead and I was able to run around and play with Ziggy’s boys.
I liked finding new scents in a different garden. Before we left I was allowed in their kitchen. I wore my red collar and lead and drank water from Ziggy’s bowl as he lay in another room. When it was time to leave I didn’t object to going in the crate in the car and fell asleep on the way home.
That’s all for now, next time I’ll tell you about my visits to the local park and meeting other puppies on Saturday mornings. I feel another power nap coming on.
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