Sorry I've not been around - had quite a busy autumn raising six puppies!
Well, of course, you won't know about Charlie either as I don't think I've mentioned him either. Roll back to June last year........
As you know, we lost my beloved Merlin the springer spaniel two and a half hears ago and I've been so destroyed ever since, I just couldn't consider taking another dog yet - it wouldn't be fair on the new dog. Besides, what would we get?
Our usual way of rescuing a dog wasn't viable because we now have baby Ada to consider and you just don't know a rescued dog's history - even perfect Merlin was a bit 'sniffy' with kids because he's never 'had' one with us and he's had an 'incident with a younger member of the family' in his last home, which is how we'd got him.
But as time was marching on, it was affecting Nic. His blood-pressure, which is naturally lower than normal, shot up! Also, he piled on weight from not walking the dog regularly. He was missing giving his love and attention to a canine friend.
I realized I'd been selfish, only knowing how devastated I was feeling. Of course I knew Nic missed Merlie, but Nic's much more pragmatic than me and much less emotionally affected. That didn't mean he wasn't feeling it in other ways though.
So we started to look, tentatively, in the dogs homes and on the internet but nothing suitable presented itself.
One day, we popped to Asda with Ada and Izzy (daughter Bev's Bichon - we get her as a matched pair with Ada!) and as Nic was in the petshop and I was outside with baby & dog, I saw an advert in the window for a seven month old Miniature Poodle but he was £650.00!
Undeterred, I rang the number and asked the lady would she consider an offer, explaining what a great home we could give but how we're on a fixed income and only had a fraction of that figure to play with.
She threw an absolute hissy, which I won't go into detail here with, but suffice it to say, I apologized for upsetting her, ended the call and forgot all about the Poodle.
I was due on the Saturday after this event, to attend a workshop at Dawn Bibby's place in Accrington. Suze Weinberg was in town! Just the lady I wanted to see!
I went to bed nice and early and promptly cricked my knee (...I know, I know...) whilst turning over in my sleep!
So, in a foul mood, I had to ring my friend Aly, and explain why I couldn't make the workshop. My knee would never have made the 150 mile round trip and I was afraid I'd get stuck up there.
As I put the hanset in the cradle, the phone rang under my hand!
A voice asked 'Have you been talking to my wife?' He sounded a bit miffed!
'I don't know, 'I replied cautiously, 'Who's your wife?!'
'About the poodle!' OMG, I was in for another telling off...!
So I admitted it was I and how I'd already apologized...but he interrupted my flow.
'We'll take the offer,' he said.
'Oh!' says I. 'Hang on...does your wife know you're ringing me...?'
'She's out shopping.'
'Well, you can't sell her dog without telling her - she'll kill you!'
'She doesn't want him. He's not getting what he needs - you take him.'
The chap, Jim now explained how it was all his fault.
They'd had a little Poodle, Pepi, for many years and his wife adored him. Pepi was her baby and she loved him like I loved my Merlin.
He'd gone blind early on and that seemed to make the bond even stronger as she saw to his every need. Then he died aged almost thirteen and she was devastated (...I know that feeling...!)
So Jim, meaning well, had gone out and bought Charlie without her knowledge from a pet supermarket and paid £750.00 for the privilege! No wonder she'd freaked when I offered £200.00!
'When was this,' I enquired of him.
'A couple of months ago' he answered, 'about a week after Pepi died...'
I was sincerely sympathizing with the wife now. What an eedjit!
No wonder the poor woman couldn't bond with this poor lickle dog - she was still in mourning for her lost Pepi!
'Okay, ' I said, 'when will your wife be home?'
'In about an hour'
'Then we'll be around in about two hours time but I'm not taking him if your wife isn't there. You've fluffed up once you can't do the same thing in reverse to her.'
All the way there I was saying to Nic 'Now we're not taking him today, even if you like him, understand? Every dog is appealing but we'll meet him and go away and if you still want him, we can come back tomorrow. Alright?' Nic agreed.
We got to the house and walked up the path and a little face appeared at the window.
'OMG! It's Izzy!' was my first thought but this was drowned out my Nics' very vocal 'We're having him!' 'Slow down Nicky-noo remember what we said...'
Jim was a lovely man and we talked about dogs and stuff and Charlie ran round like a mad thing.
Then Joan came home..... She clearly had no clue what Jim had been planning and a minor war broke out!
But, eventually, she calmed down and came to the assent that Charlie wasn't getting the love he should so we paid the pennies and took him home.
Jim and Joan have visited him three times since and are very happy with where he is.
...and that, is only the beginning of Charlie's adventures!