Unfortunately, it was also a 'No pet' cottage and much as Ingrid, the lovely owner of the cottage wanted to help us, she clearly couldn't as she was on the list as 'No pets' and if even one dog stayed then her dog-allergic customers would never be able to visit again. So we had a slight problem. It wasn't the only one!
Charlie also had a few behavioural problems.
We had gleaned over the three visits from his previous owners that they had a fundamentally different perspective on training your dog than we have.
Charlie, amongst other things, at nine months of age (when we got his papers he was actually two months older than Jim and Joan thought he was so they'd REALLY bought a pup...!) had never been walked on a lead, just CARRIED!
They had adored him in their own way, but this had manifested itself as treating him as a baby. He was cuddled and pampered more than was good for him.
He had the most alarming separation anxiety! If I moved to the other side of the room, so did Charlie. If I went to the toilet, I had to let him in with me or he'd howl and scratch the door like he was digging for England!
He also pee'd EVERYWHERE! My poor Ada's toy box was washed out several times a day...but on the positive side, she did learn to put her toys away and close it!
Charlie thought if you put him in the garden by himself, it was some sort of punishment, so no 'performing' was done unless I went out with him, hail ,rain,
His recall was non-existent. If you called his name he didn't even look at you. When he finally did look, he would come to within about four foot then stop.
He also had an unhealthy response to you wanting to take anything from him - especially the post - he tried to snatch it back - quite viciously! And then he'd cower.
Now adding all this up the conclusion I came to was, here was an underexercised and understimulated, bored young dog. The post comes - excitement! Grab the post, owner chases - good game! Owner calls Charlie, Charlie comes, bearing shredded letters, Charlie gets a smack!
The end result is a confused little dog who is definitely not coming within arms length of someone who wants to hurt him - clever dog!
It took me a good few months to prove to Charlie that whatever he did, he would not be beaten, and we have indeed got there but I confess to being very tempted a couple of times!
The other thing was his other owners had him attached to them 24/7 but on a Saturday night 'only for four hours, just four hours a week we wanted' they told me bemoaning their servitude to this canine despot, they would put him in a cage. And leave the house to go to their social club.
They wondered why, when they came back, he was drenched in sweat and vomit and covered in his own faeces..... But they still did it every week!
Any wonder the poor dog has separation problems?
Is this painting a picture?
Now his other owners are very nice people, they would be horrified to think their actions were in any way cruel but they were, like a lot of peeps, just very ignorant and arrogant at the same time. They wouldn't dream of getting a book to tell them how to look after a puppy - they know how, it's only a dog.
Think again people.
So although we paid for Charlie, we did, in a way, rescue him!
Anyway - the holiday!
Our beautiful daughter, Beverley, has her faults like anyone but she's as kind and generous as the day is long.
'We'll have Charlie while you're on holiday Mum,' she said.
'Are you sure Hunnibunch?' I asked, having just given her chapter and verse of Charlie's not-so-charming habits.
'Yes,' she replied 'Izzy will keep him in check!'
Izzy is Bev's Bichon Frise who is the most beguiling little dog on the planet - to humans! She's not nasty, or aggressive but she IS top dog and woe-betide any dog who differs!
With little alternative, Charlie's holiday arrangements were made and he stayed for the whole week, without too much incident. In fact, Bev was rather enamoured by the time we got back as Charlie had attached himself to her and had looked at her adoringly for the whole week ( and nibbled her feet...!).
Only one small hiccup. He ate their door.....
Over the weeks after we got back from Scotland, had Charlie not already had such a rotten start (puppy farm, pet supermarket, unsuitable elderly owners)
I may well have been tempted to find another home for him as his behaviour took a turn for the worse.
He seemed determined to scratch a hole in every carpet and door in the house, he peed on every corner in the house, he barked fit to bust at EVERYTHING, but worst of all his snapping got worse before it got better. Only the fact of his history and the realization that he was now in teen mode saved him. He could only get better.
Then a light seemed to 'pop' on in his head and instantly it seemed, he became 'normal'!
His recall became ( with the help of a little grilled liver) the pride of the dog-walkers, showing up older dogs.
I then took a chance and called his bluff one day when he snarled at me as I removed the remains of a letter from his bared teeth.
I stuck my hand right in front of him and steeled myself in case I'd read him wrongly. No pain, he licked my hand and rolled over on his back! It was all noise and bluff. I was so pleased and relieved. I don't know what had done it, but he now brings the post to me and gives it to me!
Then, a couple of weeks after our return, so about a month after we'd got him I had him booked in for neutering and Izzy came for a visit.
Now Bev had wanted to breed Izzy as half of her partner's family wanted little Izzies but Izzy was very distainful of Charlie and gave him a go-along for nothing. Plus, Bev couldn't remember when Izzy's last season was and we told Bev that we couldn't stand the scenting any more and Charlie was having his little 'treasures' removed! Hey Presto, two days later Izzy is in heat and harrassing poor Charlie!
It was sooo funny! Charlie was clearly shell-shocked and extremely confused! Was this the same Izzy who beat him up if he looked at one of her toys? Or if he had the cheek to eat something in his own house!
We didn't worry too much, reckoning that Charlie was still scared enough of Izzy to give her a wide berth but the day Nic was working in the kitchen and looked down to find two little faces peering up at him and walking sideways, we realized we were mistaken! After that, it was like living in a house of ill-repute! They were at it several times a day!
Considering Charlie was only ten months old, he knew EXACTLY what to do! LOL!
Bev had tried to have Izzy mated before but the other little dog had no clue! Not Charlie! It was a shame to have him 'done' when we finally did a month later!
Over the next two months, Izzy got bigger and bigger. Bev had been expecting maybe three pups but I had my own ideas! Izzy's belly hardly cleared the ground!
She was back to hating poor Charlie again so I had to make sure they weren't left too much alone and no chews or toys left out.
Then on 3rd October Izzy produced no less than SIX beautiful babies!
....and, of course, Lola!
....the naughtiest of the lot!
Another chapter later......!