Pets have always been an important part of my life, but when my beautiful
Beagle-cross dog died suddenly from cancer, I decided not to replace her, but to be free to come and go as I wished.
However, I do have a sort of grandmotherly interest in the two family dogs - Gypsy, the enormous, gentle but now elderly German Shepherd and Winston, the lively young
pup. Shar Pei
In her hey-day Gypsy walked miles, swam in rivers; protected her family and enjoyed a hearty appetite. She took up space in the car; had her special spot in the house and regarded herself as equal to any member of the family.
German Shepherds had not been favourites of mine since the day one followed me to school and was only scared off when a lady came out of a house with a sweeping brush and shooed it away. But of course Gypsy is different! I was with the family when they chose her from a litter of ten, with a huge mother and a white albino father. All the pups were beautiful, but she was the smallest. As she grew up she hated
West Highland terriers and all postmen and she bit a corner off every envelope that was pushed hastily through the letter box. Nowadays, she lies in the sun watching the family come and go; no doubt dreaming about the adventures she used to have.
As for Winston, he is jet-black, young and full of fun with a wicked gleam in his eye when he manages to sneak into the bathroom and emerge with a whole toilet roll hidden in his mouth. Of course his name was chosen because of his heavy jowls, reminiscent of that great Prime Minister.
The Shar Pei breed is new to us so we are learning all the time. He is handsome, proud, aloof and very loyal to his master. His joy knows no bounds when they are re-united after a few hours separation.
So I’m finding that it’s great to watch these animals without the sole responsibilities of caring for them.