In the news today we only seem to hear the most heinous of crimes and most extreme happenings that shock and sadden us to the core. Because of the notoriety of such occurrences we regrettably now think nothing more of delving into the world of social networking, forgetting that these events are not the norm, and we all jump onto bandwagons and spread the news like wildfire.
Take dogs, for example. It is always headline news when a dog bites and maims - but what about the positive aspect, the good, and those heart rendering happy moments that families all over the world experience with their animal?
I'm not trying to steer away from the fact that there are some extremly dangerous dogs - and owners who fail to see that they have an obligation to train their dogs properly in order for them behave responsibly in all situations they may both enter.
I want to talk about how much a dog, or any other household pet, can bring a family closer and how it is an excellent education for the children, as well as adults, to learn not only how to train a dog, but also to grasp that once you get that pet, it needs to be accepted as a family member and respected by all.
We hadn't taken getting a dog lightly, in a child like way I really wanted to go out and find one the day I eventually wore my husband down and in the end agreed that it would be a good idea for all of us. However, with my sensible hat on, deep down, I knew that ideas made in haste were not wise - especially in regard to a living thing.
So, we set about the long and drawn out task of researching dogs, breeds, temperaments and the like for several months. All the while our children were asking everyday, almost blue in the face, when we would actually be getting the dog.
We settled on an English Springer Spaniel and went to visit the breeder on several occasions, were we met the mother-to-be and the father, respectively named, Lizzie and Max. We fell in love with the breed there and then, and knew that we had chosen right for us. Bouncy, fun and very loving.
After what seemed like a lifetime, our boy was born and eight weeks later he came home. Not wanting to sound like an Enid Blyton novel, because believe me we are anything but, we all laughed together as Max ran around the room excitedly vying for our attention. Although he's now a lot calmer, he still manages to grasp all our attention and, usually on a Saturday night, after tea, we all end up on the floor giggling, tickling and play fighting each other complete with the dog smiling (well, we think he's smiling - who are you to judge) up at us as he joins in like the Mad Hatter.
I felt nothing but contentment on that first day as he ran around the room - and I still do when I look at my family - the complete set, dog and all.
Don't get me wrong, as with having a baby, it was ruddy hard and still is sometimes. Wee on lovely cream carpets, poo on the lino (luckily no one ever stood in either) and a shade of green sick so bright it could have passed as something nuclear all over the back of the car. We were lucky when we brought him home and he never cried at night - we rejoiced at our luck - only to find that now, as he is suddenly starting his teenage phase, he has decided to do it now in the middle of the night, albeit occasionally.
Over 12 months have passed since we brought him home in our little car and he's everyone's best friend. He is with us all the time, and generally follows me everywhere. Yes, even to the loo. We enjoy days out with him and even took him on holiday with us last year, which was an experience I can tell you.
Getting a dog is everything I expected and more. Hard work, fun, love and frustration all rolled into one.
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