You could be forgiven for thinking we’d well and truly lost the plot when we decided to get a dog at quite probably the most traumatic time of our lives. Stress and anxiety were at a peak following my diagnosis in January and all of our balls had been thrown magnificently into the air, completely out of our control. Confusion reigned.
At the same time there was cliche and clarity. Life’s too short. If not now then when? What exactly are we waiting for? We’d fought the kids for years on the “dog” issue. Our much loved dog, Ben, died when Abbie was 4 and Josh was just a few weeks old. Abbie has desperately wanted another dog ever since, but there was always a reason not to – most of them revolving around not having enough time or energy to allow more chaos into our lives – 2 small children and full on jobs were enough.
We relented slightly and decided to rehome rabbits back in 2009. That gave us a long term “not while we’ve got the rabbits” excuse when the dog question periodically arose. We thought we would also have a “well you didn’t look after the rabbits so no dog” excuse to fall back on to but Abbie in particular was totally amazing looking after them and it quickly became apparent that that excuse would hold no traction.
Frazzle was the first bunny to die in 2015 and although we expected his 3 legged weaker brother, Dazzle to quickly follow he did in fact last out until January this year – almost immediately after my diagnosis. The worst timing.
It’s fair to say that as family we struggled through January. We managed to get through each day but I’m not sure how really. We were broken. Devastated. But then as treatment started in February we began to see a way through the darkness. It was then that Ad and I discussed at great length whether to bring a dog into our crazy, sad new world. And in the end it was an easy decision to make because how can you not smile with a dog around? Smiles and a new focus was exactly what we all needed.
So we did it. We got Lilly. An overweight (10 kilos overweight!!!), underwalked 6 year old cross. Cross of what we aren’t too sure but from what we were told by her old family, we suspect she is some combo of Husky, German Shepherd and Retriever.
I’m not sure she always appreciates being on a diet – much like most of us in the Davies household. But she certainly enjoys the long walks so we’re hoping that’s compensation for feeling food deprived!
But what a difference this beauty has made to us already. She’s totally changed the mood and routine in our home. Her twice daily walks gets us out of the house a lot more. She loves fuss and attention which means she’s always up for a cuddle. The kids have to play their part and be involved in looking after her – feeding, walking, vet trips – so they have a new purpose and some responsibility which can only be a good thing. I now have company during the days I’m stuck at home following treatment. The positives are endless.
It’s not all been a walk in the park though. Trying to keep her off the furniture is still a struggle – but I guess old habits die hard. Her hair moults everywhere and we feel like we are constantly vacuuming. And then there was “The Cake Incident”.
It was Abbie’s birthday. I was under the weather following chemo number 3 so I despatched the boys to buy Abbie a birthday cake. They came home with a 24 slice, triple layer chocolate cake clearly aiming for quantity over quality. 24 slices! There are 4 of us!!!!
So 2 days later there was still a humongous amount of chocolate cake left. On day 3 Ad was first up and found himself having to clean the kitchen flooor before his first coffee and the cake was no more. Our “starved” dog had scoffed all remaining 18 slices. Day 4’s pre-coffee problem was significantly grosser than mopping up cake crumbs. Ad was first up again and he quickly realised he had a problem – the stench grew stronger with every stair. Thank god for wooden floors! And disinfectant! The next couple of days were grim. For Ad. After all I can’t be scooping up shite in my condition!! #cancercard 😂😂😂😂