In July, 2011, when Eva was just the size of a tiny grain of rice in my tummy, and we were tentatively hoping to expand our family, our beloved dog Charlie died very suddenly and it broke all of our hearts. He had been such a huge part of our family for seven long years and his absence was devastating, especially for Lewis who, as an only child, had given all of his love and attention to our Charlie Chops.
My immediate reaction was that we would never get another dog again, that I couldn’t bear the heartache of losing a pet in the same way, that no other dog would ever live up to our Charlie. And yet somehow, just weeks later, we found ourselves going to look at a puppy and I should have known that when it comes to puppies there really is no such thing as “just looking”. As if by fate, the puppy had been born on the same day that Gaz and I got engaged, and we had taken it as a sign that he was meant to be a part of our family. And just a few days later, we had brought him home forever. Our little Oscar.
Everywhere we go people ask us, “What kind of dog is he?” and it’s always a bit of a mouthful to tell them that he is a Cavapoochan. Part Cavalier King Charles spaniel, part Poodle, and part Bichon Frise. In short, he is a white, fluffy, ball of fur and a real life teddy bear. And for those first eight months after he came home, he very much became our surrogate baby.
As Evas due date approached I worried not only how Lewis would react, but how Oscar would react too. When Lewis lay with his hands on my tummy, feeling Evas kicks, Oscar would lie with his paws on there too, looking at me with his big sad eyes as though he knew that his time as the baby was about to expire!
And then the day came when we finally brought Eva home and Oscar took one look at her……and fell hopelessly in love.
And it was just amazing to witness.
When Megan came along we used to joke that Oscar would be thinking, “Not another one?!”, and yet he loved her just as much as he loved Lewis and Eva, and he resumed his position as bodyguard, loyal companion and faithful bath-assistant.
And all of the children adored him, even though he barked like a maniac every time the doorbell rang, shamelessly begged at every meal time and cried like a baby if we ever dared to leave him!
And the following year, when Harry came along, I swear that he rolled his eyes when we walked through the door with yet another baby. He looked at us with his big brown eyes and if dogs could sigh, then he sighed….a lot! But as with the others, he took it all in his stride and he fell just as much in love with Harry as we all did.
Thankfully, despite his ear-piercing bark, he is the most sweet-natured, gentle little dog we could have asked for. And it’s a good job really as to be fair, he puts up with a lot from the children! They use him to play dress-up…..
As a pillow….
They torment him with his toys, insist on
dragging walking him on his lead, wrestling him into head locks and getting up close and personal with kisses at every opportunity….
And yet he forgives them, for every ear pull, every tail yank, every time Megatron squashes him with her ten tonne weight. He even forgave us the time that we did this….
And as much as I moan about him when he is literally scrabbling at the door to kill the postman, or he’s licking at my face in the morning with his rancid dog breath, he is such a huge part of our family and we would be lost without him. The children absolutely adore him, albeit too much at times, and at night when he creeps up the stairs and snuggles on the end of Lewis’s bed, I am so grateful for our lovely little dog who I’m sure thinks that he is as human as the rest of us.
They say that a dog is mans best friend, but for us, he is so much more than that, he is a part of our family. There is something very special about the relationship between my children and their little dog, something that I am very honoured, and very grateful to witness.