Today's guest post about animals in the family is from Amy at Arty Apple.
In 2014 we were on a family weekend away on the Northumberland coast surrounded by dog walkers and beautiful beaches so I randomly decided it would be a great idea for us to get a dog! The kids were aged 4 and 2 and I'm sure where some Mums experience a bit of broodiness for a third child, I was experiencing broodiness for a dog. So, I embarked on my usual journey of Googling everything and badgering my husband to agree with me until he can no longer put up with it and just lets me do what I want. Sound a familiar approach to anyone? Ha! A Hungarian Vizsla was our breed of choice. I'd always wanted a big dog, not sure why but if anyone had asked me previously what I would have had I'd have said a German Shepherd, a Pointer or a Bloodhound, I just love big dogs. Hungarian Vizslas scored really well on the family dog front being described as gentle, loyal and obedient. We have a winner!
OK. Now let me just stop here to say the idea of getting a puppy to raise with the kids was very romanticised at this point. My husband works from home so doggy day care was never going to be an issue but my oh my did I not realise how much hard work was involved in getting through the puppy stage and especially with one who is massive compared to lots of other dogs but is still just a badly behaved puppy.
Talk about tear your hair out. Going out and about with a big disobedient puppy is NOT for the faint of heart. In fact by day 4 of being the proud owner of a Hungarian Vizsla puppy I was filled with deep regret. What on earth had I done? I'd ruined our perfect family. The kids were camped out on the sofa, afraid to climb down in case the crazy puppy scratched, jumped or put their entire hand in his mouth. The idillic view I had of the kids embracing a new puppy could not have been further from the truth. They were petrified, especially our 2 year old daughter. The words the breeder should never have uttered was that if it didn't work out, we could take him back. It was like a green light for giving up and by day 4 I was telling the hubby to take him back and we genuinely were about to load the car when the door bell rang. Our friend from the next street and fellow dog owner was stood there asking how it was going. Terrible, was of course the answer and he's going back! Thankfully a pep talk and a 'you've made your bed you need to lie in it' speech later and we were determined to get on with it and power through the puppy stage. We always think back to that Sunday morning when we were so close to taking him back and had our friend not turned up, we really would have.
Fast forward 2 years and he is firmly part of our family. The kids adore him and none of us could imagine life without him or in fact, family life without a dog. In fact when my son was born I started a personalised baby gift business called Arty apple. My shop only stocked children's gifts until Yogi came along and made me realise they're part of the family too so I introduced Pets Corner with Personalised Vizsla Blankets. I’m sure you'll agree, Yogi makes a very handsome model. I'm hoping to add more breed specific blankets soon!
The main benefit to having a dog is how much it gets you all out and about. We love walks in the countryside and on the beach and even when I hated him (I feel bad saying that as I love him to bits now but this was all true at the time!) Yogi was an energetic puppy who needed a good walk every day and that was the start of my own personal fitness and weight loss journey. I have walked miles with Yogi in every type of weather there possibly is. The good thing is our two kids are now excellent walkers. They've got great calves!
Family dog walks are great and keep everyone fit and healthy. I do however enjoy the walks when the kids are at school and me and the hubby can pick up the pace, these are definitely the more fat burning walks and living at the top of a hill from the city (Starbucks cup of tea stop) reached via farmers fields does make for a tough uphill walk back. The combination of fresh air, beautiful views, muddy puddles, actual uninterrupted conversations and a brisk walk make for a great combo of healthy body and mind. If you'd like to read more about my fitness journey please take a look at my new blog called Mutha Fitness.
Thanks very much to Naomi for allowing me to share our story and thanks to everyone for reading my story.
Amy's website is Arty apple
She is also on the following social media channels…
Gorgeous photos Amy - they put mine to shame! and a lovely story, I'm so glad your neighbour saved the day, I'm well aware of those early awful days, Fizz even managed to break a tooth biting into my jeans she was such a monster! Thank you for sharing your story.