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Jan has asked me to write about becoming a dog owner and the impact it has had a on my life! Well- where do I begin!?

I have always been an animal lover and throughout my childhood we had a constant supply of cats and guinea pigs.I always wanted a dog but my parents would not agree to it,so it didn't happen until I was about 12 and this was by complete accident.

My father was a police officer and we lived in a police house next to the station.At this time there was a pound where strays were kept until owner was found and I used to hang around gazing into the pen on a regular basis.

One particular day there was a lovely Black and Tan cross who was so friendly.The pestering began and my Dad said "you can take it for a walk but that's it." Of course that night because he hadn't been claimed, I managed to wangle a visit to our house for the dog who I had now named Kelly and to cut a long story short, the owner came and said he couldn't really cope with him as he was always running off so if I wanted him I could keep him.

Well I was always a bit of a Daddies girl so after a bit of pleading Kelly settled into our home and was adored by all.

This was the only dog I had ever owned, as once I left home I was never in a position to care for one properly working full time so I decided I would always be a cat person. Over the years I had several and spent a long time fostering for cats protection league.I found re homing them so hard as I wanted to know the ins and outs of the home they were going to.

Deciding to be a dog owner happened by accident! My beautiful rescue cat was killed on the road 6 weeks after I had her breaking my heart so I decided I couldn't go through that again.I started to think a pup would be a good idea as I am at home most of the time and it felt right.I discussed this with my husband who was dead against it but obviously wasn't listening one day when I talked about it again as he replied' if it makes you happy do it' Green light for me! He has since said he will listen more carefully in future! That will be a first!


A friend and I went over to Worcester to view these pups.I thought I would be strong and come away saying I'll think about it but of course I fell in love and paid a deposit and then thought about how I would tell Dave said husband what I had done! He took the news reasonably well and made a note to himself- pay attention during conversations involving animals!

Alfie is a cockapoo. I admit to doing very little research into the breed.He just ticked 2 of my important boxes- does not moult and good with children.


I must say life with a puppy has been an eye opener! I don't know how people manage to go to work or have small children at the same time.I was permanently exhausted for several months as whenever I sat down he needed to go outside or started to chew something! I couldn't take my eyes off him for a minute as I looked for signs that he was about to wee or poo! The teething period was a nightmare and I did question my sanity several times.

Why had I complicated my stress free life with this little mud magnet who got great pleasure from biting me and chewing through the computer and phone wires?


I have to say Dave was amazing.He only occasionally said' you wanted him get on with it!' We took it in turns to stand outside in our pjs and wellies in the pouring rain waiting for Alf to wee and he tirelessly picks up poo! He and Alf have a huge bond which is lovely to see considering dog ownership was not on his radar.


On a positive note once all the nibbling and most of the destructive behaviour passed,being a dog owner has changed my life and mostly for the better.Sadly I can no longer lie in bed in the morning with a cuppa watching breakfast TV.I am up and out whatever the weather and walk between 30 and 50 miles a week according to my Fitbit.

My energy levels are much higher and I am no longer out of puff going up hill.I feel more toned with stronger legs and my skin has benefited from the fresh air.


On another positive note I have made several new friends who share the joys and nightmares of dog ownership and this has been a lovely aspect of it.

So in a nutshell buying Alf was the best thing ever.If I lived in a larger house with a bigger garden I would probably have another but shhhh- don't tell Dave!

Meet The Author...
Sheila Holley
Who Am I?

Hereford born,I moved to Malvern aged 11. At 16 I left home to live in Birmingham,working and living in a children's home and training to be a Nursery Nurse.

In the mid seventies I had the opportunity to train as a midwife and entered the profession in a half hearted manner! It turned out to be a great career choice and I loved mostly every minute until I took early retirement in 2007. The job I loved so much had changed hugely and I felt if I couldn't do it my way then I would have to find another way to earn a living!

I now work part time in a nursery with children aged 6 months to 4 years so have returned to my roots! I am married with a great stepdaughter and 2 scrumptious granddaughters one of which I look after 1 day a week. Its lovely to have a flexible working pattern after so many years of working antisocial hours- weekends,Christmas and other bank holidays.At last I'm as near "normal" as I'm ever going to be!

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