From being a very small child, all I ever wanted was a dog.
I didn’t want millions of pounds, fancy clothes, or big swanky houses, all I ever wanted was a dog. It didn’t have to be any specific type of dog, just a dog. I didn’t want a fantastic career, I just wanted to be happy, but when I tried to imagine happy, there was always a dog involved.
As a very small child I had two wooden dogs that I pulled along on a lead, which sounds a bit bizarre these days, but they were ‘the thing’ when I was young, well, I thought they were. ‘Snoopy‘ and ‘Snoopy Sniffer‘ they were called, that was their brand name, not what I called them, and if you’re as old as me you might remember them! I loved them, but they never were a substitute for the real thing.
I was so desperate to have a dog, that when I was about 13 or 14 years old, a couple moved in across the road from us and they got a puppy! He was a Springer Spaniel called ‘Ben‘. I loved him, and he soon became my best friend and I more or less moved in with them. Apart from sleeping there, I was at their house permanently! I walked him, morning and night and spent all my spare time there, I loved them but more importantly, I loved Ben.
Fast forward a few years, I managed to sensibly get to 30 without having my own dog, but I could wait no longer and along came my very own dog ‘Meggi-dog‘. Not Meggi, not Meggidog, but Meggi-dog
She was a legend in her own lifetime, I was completely obsessed, she was a tiny Westie, more like the size of a Yorkie. She was my pride and joy, and I loved her with all my heart. I lost her at the age of 9, it was the worst thing having to make the decision to have her put to sleep, but the right one. Should you ever come to my house, you will see that she still resides on the coffee table. A bit strange you may think, but not in this house; its quite normal! By the way, I’m talking about her ashes, I didn’t have her stuffed, although I always threatened to!
After loosing my gorgeous Meggi-dog, I vowed I’d never have an other dog as the losing them was far too traumatic, and the commitment is massive. I lasted nine months, and after a lot of tears and discussion, we agreed to look for two puppies to bring home and ‘Burt‘ and ‘Ernie‘ arrived. Two tiny little Jack Russells, they were lovely, a handful but lovely. Unfortunately when they were 16 weeks old Burt got spooked by a firework whilst they were out walking and ran into the road and got killed. It was so tragic. This just left Little Ern on his own, and so a few months later a Jack Russell cross named ‘Poppy‘ came into our lives, who we quickly renamed ‘Roxy‘. Roxy rules the roost; we all live in ‘Roxyworld‘, and she destroys anything that comes into her path! Countless mobile phones, sky remotes, absolutely anything!
We love them both with all our hearts, but fast forward to when I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, and I wanted another dog. I was worried that because we were such an active family that Lee and the other dogs would leave me behind. I said that I’d be sat at home on my own whilst they’d be out doing all kinds of activities, so could I just get a little dog to sit on my knee and keep me company? Eventually Lee gave in and agreed to me getting another dog. We decided on a Westie as my only knowledge and experience of Westies was Meggi-dog and she did just sit on my knee all the time.
In January 2015 I found a beautiful litter of West Highland White Terrier puppies with eight brothers to choose from. One was chosen, the one who looked to me like he could hold his own with Roxy and Ernie and we brought him home. We deliberated over his name and ‘Parker‘ was agreed, because he was my little Parky dog…yes after Parkinson’s.
Right from the very first night we brought him home it was very obvious he was never going to sit on anyone’s knee, let alone mine. He was a force to be reckoned with and he had relentless energy. He would come out for walks with the other dogs and they’d come home and lie down and he’d still be running round the living room bouncing off walls, settees or anything in his way. I had to re-think this, sitting around and doing nothing thing, and at 12 months old me and Parker joined Canicross Clwyd, a group of like-minded people who run with their dogs. This group of people opened up our minds to different types of exercises to do with our dogs, hence the paddle-boarding, the bikejor and the swimming with dogs. Parker loved every minute of anything we did together, in fact he enabled me to do things I’d never even heard of let alone wanted to do. He was amazing, with him beside me I could do whatever was thrown at me, we became inseparable.
We travelled the length and breadth of the country competing in canicross races representing Wales and we’ve met some incredible people, who have introduced me to some incredible things, we started camping, something I’d never wanted to do! But we loved it. Parker became my right arm and the only thing I did without him was go to work. We became so together that he even learnt when I needed to take my tablets, I didn’t teach him, he learnt all by himself and he knows exactly when I’m due to take them and all hell is let loose if I ever forget to take them. He also knows when I’m upset, he hates it! He knows when we are out running when it’s time for me to slow down, he knows when I’m raring to go, because so is he. He knows me better than I know myself.
So when people say, how are you going to cope without Parker on the boat, I think of him and wonder how he’s going to cope without me. I only go to the gym and he waits for me by the front door! He still doesn’t sit on my knee, but is always beside me wherever I am in the house. He’s going to miss me terribly and I him too, but I’m a human, I know I’m coming back; he’s a dog, he doesn’t understand. Actually, I think he does understand.
So when the little ball of white fluff came into my life, he changed it and opened up new thing s to me. I love him unconditionally, just like he does me and will count the days until I can give him the biggest love ever and he can be back by my side. In 2020, watch out all you canicrossers, because me and Parker are going to be a force to be reckoned with!