Posted by Juliane Samara, 20 July 2017
I never really wanted a dog. I was a dedicated cat person.
Ok, I’ll admit it. We were nagged for years by several children to get a puppy before we ever considered it. Actually, I never really wanted a dog. I was a dedicated cat person. In reality, I was probably scarred for life by my childhood experience with “Bonney Sue” – my mum’s yappy little pedigree silky terrier. She was possessive, could be nasty, and would snap at us when we went near mum if she didn’t want us too. The thing I disliked most about her was the fact that our Friday night treat (a Wagon Wheel each) had to be divided three ways. 1/3 for mum and dad to share, 1/3 for the bloody dog, and we got what was left. Life at that point seemed very unfair. And then there was the time she got lost at the bottom of the cliff and we had to call the fire brigade late at night to rescue her…but I digress….
I was talked into it. By the GP, of all people. I blame him to this day (but am also secretly thankful). He thought we needed to get a dog to encourage Catherine to get out and exercise. Yeah, right. Because all teenage children want to get out and walk the dog in the middle of Canberra winters. Whatever, the recommendation was enough and the decision was made. We would become a dog family.
I was adamant that it needed to be a non-shedding dog, if such a thing existed. I had heard about labradoodles, and one of Anura’s colleagues had just got one from a breeder in Orange and told him there was another litter that had just been born. I contacted the breeder, and one look at the photo she sent was enough. That cute tiny little chocolate bundle of fur that had been born on 5th October, 2007, had our name on her.
In November 2007, on the day before Anura was due to travel to Geneva for the first time to live and work for three months, we made the long car trek to Orange to collect her. She was tiny. She was cute. She was terrified. She spent the entire trip home being shared between Jonathan and Catherine’s knees in the back seat of the car. We were all smitten. By the end of the day she was called “Molly”, much to Catherine’s disgust. She really wanted Seamus the Wonderdog. Sorry, Catherine.
Determined not to have a barking, disobedient and naughty puppy, we booked in for puppy school at the RSPCA. Catherine, Jonathan and I all went to each lesson so that we could be consistent in our commands and each have confidence in managing her. She was timid, and did not want to spend time with the other puppies, but she learned quickly and graduated with flying colours. The training didn’t end there, however. Catherine spent hours and hours teaching Molly ‘tricks’. It paid off, we now have a performing wonderdog who can speak quietly and bark loudly on command. She used to be able to jump up into our arms when we waggled our fingers in a certain way…but at 18kg that trick is no longer one that we practice!
The funny thing is that even though I still consider myself a ‘cat person’, I now can’t imagine life without her. She trots around the house following me when I do the housework. Sits by my side hoping for a treat when I’m in the kitchen cooking. Accompanies me on walks around the lake, checking out the neighbourhood. Keeps my feet warm when she (disobediently) finds her way onto the bed in the middle of the night. And above all, loves me unconditionally and greets me with a wagging tail and much excitement when I come home. If you want to see just how excited she can get, just watch the video of the greeting I got when I made a surprise visit from Geneva!
Even though Anura was absent for the early puppy months, and missed all of the hard work in the toilet and behaviour training, she is still man’s best friend. She much prefers him instead of me. They have a co-dependency that is just a little bit concerning (according to Catherine). But I can live with that, as long as she still comes when I call and looks at me with those lovely soppy eyes. I might just become a dog person after all.