In the last 24 hours, we’ve become almost foster parents to two spaniels, Tilly and Saffy – courtesy of an ad on AngloINFO from the Hope Association asking for help for the two girls who would become homeless in the next few weeks if a place wasn’t found, and then have to go to the dog rescue centre. Dog rescue centres in France are not good. Like most Europeans, the French are much less sentimental about animals (although it’s true to say they love dogs – there’s a much broader spectrum of what’s considered fine for an animal, and small cages, tight chains, bark-buster collars and muzzles are less frowned upon) and so the dog rescue centres aren’t quite like our English ones.
Unfortunately, lots of people who emigrate here leave animals behind. It doesn’t make me happy, but I try not to be judgmental. I know everyone has their reasons, and it must be hard to leave family pets behind. Still, Molly and Basil are passported up and I wouldn’t go anywhere without them. Basil gets fed before anyone else. Molly hogs the bed.
So, when I saw the ad, I couldn’t let two spaniels go to the rescue centre. We had a gorgeous spaniel when we were growing up – Ticker – she was absolutely adorable. In fact, she equals Moll in gorgeousness, though Moll takes the edge in personality. And my Nana and Gramps had an American spaniel they took on from my Uncle Geoff – Sunny – who was absolutely bonkers. He shredded tissues, rooted through handbags, loved my Nan’s Mint Imperials, ate a pack of butter, a frozen loaf and ate the meringue off a lemon meringue pie, leaving the lemon and the pie – so neatly we thought my Nana had forgotten to put the meringue on it. Sunny had to be in front on a walk and would scrabble and scramble until he got in front of everyone, so he could get first dibs on spilt curry sauce outside the pub. He waited by the door every time my Gramps was due back from work – the most loyal and good natured dog, if completely stupid and ‘blonde’. So, to find a couple of spaniels needing a home for Christmas (and beyond) seems almost fated!
One of the ladies, Saffy, is 11 – she’s not well, but it will probably be really hard for her, and really strange without her family. I hope she’s okay. It’ll be so strange for her. I hope she settles in fine.
The other girl is Tilly. She’s the American spaniel – which are, in my biased opinion, the cutest dogs on the planet. All that blonde hair. She’s 4, so hopefully she’ll be a good playmate for Moll. Moll’s such a good nursery dog, I’m hoping she’ll really look after Saffy.
Tilly, Saffy and Molly… my lovely ladies. That’s 3 dogs, 4 chickens, a cat, a boy, a man and me. Oh, and some moles in the garden.
And I couldn’t be more pleased.
I thought long and hard about it. A dog, especially an older one, is a commitment. It can be expensive. Pedigree dogs are so much worse. Cross breeds are healthy and strong and intelligent – pedigrees can be nothing but inbred problems. Plus, it makes it so much harder to go away – 3 dogs is a lot more to ask people to look after. But, costs and looking after aside, it’s worth it.