I have wanted a dog for as long as I can remember. I know you’re supposed to be happy by yourself but for me, having a dog is a massive part of that happiness equation.

And I know why.

I was born into a household with a dog. My parents owned a collie, Lassie style, and have never been without dogs since. They’re part of my upbringing and for me a family home has a family pet.

Plus, dogs are magical animals. They get to know you. They come to you when you’re sad. The curl up with you when you’re chilling. And they run with you when you’re getting fit!

Dogs also keep you present. You need to walk them daily, feed them, care for them. There is nothing better than getting up early to take the dog to the beach. Or blasting out some work and then saying “Come on then, get your lead”.

They say that people in hospital recover faster when there is a dog at home: they just can’t wait to get home and see to the dog! And I get that.

Alice knows I’ve wanted a dog since the day we met.

“When we get our dog”, I’d say.

“Which breed do you think we’ll get”, I’d ask.

“It must be able to run with me”, I’d add.

A few years ago I set my sights on a German Shepherd: a nice big, active dog that is smart enough to learn all sorts of tricks and yet loving enough to be a pet.

Well, when we moved to our new flat (ground floor so we could get a dog!) I said to Alice: “Sooooo, shall we go to the rescue centre?”.

She said yes and off we went.

We’d barely unpacked our cases but I couldn’t wait any longer. I was ready for a dog. Our dog. Our family pet.

When we went to the Dog and Cat Shelter in Longbenton, my heart broke. Hearing the dogs cry out for attention, responding to each other’s howls and looking through the cage doors to see if you’ll stop was overwhelming.

I was in tears at the first cage: a staffie named Star. She was beautiful. I was cautious; talking to her to judge her temperment. She was friendly and affectionate and anxious. I reached out and said hello and she all but lay on her back for all the attention I could give her.

Moving on to the next cage was heart breaking. And then next.

And then in cage four: there he was. A 4 month old German Shepherd cross puppy. What are the chances of that?! To not only find a puppy at a dog shelter but to find the breed I wanted.

Alice and I had a good look around. We said hello to all the dogs and even went to visit the cats.

Alice was a little apprehensive about taking home a German Shepherd but I told her a bit about the breed, she messaged friends how owned German Shepherds and we researched them online.

Decision made: Charlie was coming home with us!!

Applying for a dog at a shelter is a little trickier than you’d expect. Obviously, they want the dogs to go to the right home and they want to make sure you can give the dog what he needs.

We filled in all the forms and then had to wait, knowing other families had applied too.

A few days later I called back to show I was super serious: I was ready for Charlie!

And then, Tuesday midday they called. I held my breath and the woman on the phone spoke:

“Charlie has passed the vet check. He’s a grade A pup. And he’s yours!!”

I couldn’t believe it.

I called Alice straight away. She was about to hop in the car to the Lake Distract but she decided to move things about so we could go and get Charlie without delay. Yey!!

On the way we went to Pets At Home.

“I’m going to get him EVERYTHING”, I said. And I did. Bed, bowls, food, toys, a lead. Hundreds of pounds later we waltz out triumphant and excited.

At the rescue centre, we filled in some more forms, spoke to the team and then we got to meet Charlie.

Oh my gawd, I was in love!!

He was just so handsome!

I couldn’t wait to take him home.

As we were signing the last form and a member of the team was attaching his new ID chip to his collar, another member of the team said: “He’s a malenoir”.

“A what?” I asked.

“He’s a Belgium Shepherd”.

And this is where the story changed…

Watch today’s vlog to find out what happened in the best and hardest 24 hours of my year so far.


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