SUMMER 23/24

Tibetan spaniels are a breed of small dogs with a long history of sitting in the folds of the robes of Tibetan monks . They keep each other warm in the long hours spent meditating. Mine, instead, has taken to lying within the folds of my sofa.


Despite their size, ‘Tibbies’ as they are known in Australia, were also bred by the monks to guard the temples. Mine, Mr B, apparently does not believe my house is worthy of temple-guarding status.

Mr B is heavily into home furnishings. I have recently spent an inordinate amount of time under my sofa and other assorted pieces of furniture. Of course, I had actually planned on spending a time lazing away on top of my sofa with a good book. Well, that was until I acquired a small but adorable puppy, Mr B for short.

Incredibly loyal and devoted to their owner, Tibbies love people and children. This is lucky as the puppies are so adorable everyone wants to cuddle them. Cute, but there are some drawbacks.

Undeterred by his size this small, lethal, fluffball can decimate the legs of a cane chair in 30 minutes. Not content with that, he has now turned his attention to a large six-foot couch starting from the bottom up. So, Mr B is constantly getting caught up in the springs, all four-and-a-half kilos of him. My job is to rescue him on my hands and knees, usually whimpering as I go. As well, it is amazing how many tennis balls you can hide in a couch. Obviously he has next year’s Australian Open in his sights. I have, of course, left out telling you about all shoes, the odd carpet and other interesting household items he has tried to demolish.

I am not alone in puppy-stress. A friend has acquired a gorgeous black-and-white Bordoodle (Border Collie Poodle), Hobbs, who has recently eaten her husband’s hearing aids. All jokes about her puppy’s amazing hearing are not going down that well.

I had actually imagined I would spend my time taking Mr B for brisk walks. But his stated preference is for lying totally flat with his little legs splayed out like a small fur rug that you need to take care not to step on.

However, I am pleased to report that we have passed puppy pre-school with distinction. Now one of us will obey the orders – ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘beg’ and ‘walk’, but I am not going to tell you which one.

Actually, puppy pre-school was the best fun I have had in years, which may tell you a bit about my social life. There was a joyous array of lively puppies all different shapes, sizes and breeds. From an adorable Maltese about the size of a furry slipper, to a couple of shaggy sheepdogs, an energetic Dalmatian, even an adorable German shepherd puppy about the size of a small car. Matching the puppy with the owner was even more fun. Everyone behaved well and we were all very obedient, including the puppies.

The saying that ‘A puppy isn’t just for Christmas; it’s for life’ is very true, but now it has a new twist. A puppy isn’t just for a pandemic.

Over the last two years, the cost of puppies has risen astronomically, almost keeping up with house prices. The trouble is that puppies grow up into dogs and, while lovely to have when you’re working from home, their costs also rise. So, I really am sad to hear that record numbers of dogs are being sent back to dog shelters. It seems very unfair to lovely dogs who have been wonderful companions during such stressful times. Some of these dogs may even have to be put down if they can’t find owners. So now may be the time to adopt a rescue dog. It may not be a puppy or a particular breed but look at it  this way, with an older dog you may well save your furniture as well as your sanity, and gain a wonderful friend.

The joy of owning a puppy and seeing the world through the eyes of a small dog whose sense of adventure and fascination with the world is a real treat. But I would like to get up from the floor now please.

Words Libby Greig

Photographer unknown


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