Well, we’ve really gone and done it now: we got a second dog.
“What possessed ye?” a sister-in-a-law enquired, her voice up an octave and one eyebrow shooting up beneath her curly fringe somewhere.
It’s a wonder a bell didn’t ring, like with one of those old fairground high striker things. Kaa-dingg!
Now you may hate dogs, or view them with indifference at best. Fine.
But if you like ‘em, at least, I just say take a look at the main photograph accompanying this piece.
And say hello to Lily.
Our new long dog with the short legs and plump, spongy paws, who bounds instead of runs and bounded her way immediately into our hearts.
We could inquire further as to the exact mix that has gone into this waggily six-month-old with the kindest eyes on any creature I have ever seen. But whatever the precise formula, it works for us.
I mean my wife ‘A’, daughter ‘K’ and I thought we are only going along to check her out last Thursday evening, but somehow there she was, in our car on the way home.
No new basket purchased beforehand, no lead, no collar … nothing.
She is a rescue dog, the previous owners a large family who felt they could not look after her properly.
The woman who got her for us does this all the time. Seven dogs of her own, but always being called on when there’s a dog that needs a resettlement.
‘A’ and I were talking a few weeks ago about our daughter, once again, and what other positive steps we could take to improve our relationship with our feisty 14-year-old girl. We decided we might get her a dog.
‘A’ works with this dog-rescuing woman and let’s just say she wasn’t actually showing us Lily, as we thought, she had us earmarked, and Lily was going home with us. End of.
Lily was timid, that first evening, but obviously affectionate and, though hardly conventionally beautiful, we just thought she oozed charm and, I admit it, doggie cuddliness. Melt-your-heart-at-40-paces cuddliness.
‘K’ was smitten too. So gorgeous to see that unabashed smile and crinkle of affection in her untroubled eyes.
The family had obviously done the best they could because Lily is an absolute picture of good health.
Solid without being overweight, a beautiful sheen on her black coat flecked with light copper — and a tiny white patch in the middle of her chest — and teeth so white they put Bella’s darker molars to shame. And those light coppery highlights running through her black facial fur!
Yeah, she’s got me!
Bella was naturally curious on their first meeting when we arrived in the door but obviously reckoning Lily was just passing through, she was soon okay with her. Situation tolerable.
Plenty of doggie bottom-sniffing and all that but they were fine together. Well, not together exactly, just in the same room but good with that.
They even slept downstairs all night in the kitchen-dining room and there was no barking! Brilliant.
Now we’re finding out a little more about Lily. ‘A’ had naturally asked if she was house trained, and her colleague said she thought she was.
Two large puddles in the kitchen, and a small one upstairs, and we still haven’t caught her in the actual act inside, so we can get her out the front door, mid-pee, to get that outdoors only message across.
We’re working on it. Into the harness and walking her on the path so we see when she pees and immediately get her back to the house.
She is so low to the ground that she only barely bends her legs to pee, and this action isn’t discernible on grass, so we have to have her on the path for now to actually know when she is peeing!
Of course, like Bella, she doesn’t go straight away, loads of sniffing and exploring before she finally unloads.
But we will get there.
Bella wasn’t so nice to Lily the next day, and it has taken their first bout of serious play-fighting for them to start to hit it off.
Lily is still at that play-biting stage and Bella is only in the mood for that sometimes.
It is hilarious when Lily plays possum and Bella thinks she has gotten the upper paw, only for Lily to suddenly reach up and whack her with one spongy paw and have another lunge and nibble on her snout.
Lily has no respect for seniority and is quite the hungry little hound, polishing off her own food immediately, and lorrying into Bella’s if we don’t stop her.
They had their first row only a short while ago when Lily did just that, and a hungry Bella let her have it.
I was there immediately to separate them and it was funny to see Bella disappearing in behind the couch. Probably to get some head space too!
I soon coaxed her out and all is good again. For now.
Lily is here to stay.
The morning ritual is a howl.
Lily half-running, half-slithering along the laminate wooden-effect floor to greet whoever enters — usually me, first thing — her long tail vibrating furiously to get there first, and me having to also make a proper fuss of Bella, just behind her.
The patter and scatter of the now eight paws across the floor is quite the sound!
Apart from the toilet thing, Lily has been a major hit.
‘K’ loves her and showers her with hugs and cuddles. All returned with interest.
‘O’ had been in Kerry for a few days with his cousins and couldn’t wait to get back to see Lily.
“Love at first sight” was his texted reaction to the play-fight video we sent him on the second evening
His new football boots and shinguards had arrived when he was gone. We were meeting up halfway between Kerry and Dublin at my brother’s house.
His eldest son is getting married to a fantastic Polish woman, and her parents were over for the engagement party in my brother’s lovely acre of beautifully tended garden.
We had to bring Lily, boots, and shinguards to Tipperary with us.
Yes, Lily is here to stay.
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