It's Polly's first birthday today and I had planned a nice little blog post with her cute puppy pics ... unfortunately though, my external hard drive stopped working yesterday, so now my entire photographic life, including my precious photographs, is frustratingly out of reach. Ho hum.
Ah well, onward and upward, as they say ... I'll just have to buy a new hard drive, remember to back it up in future and get out and about with my camera again as soon as possible!
I snapped this pic of Polly on my Iphone while we were out trompin' round Mote Park a few days ago ... isn't modern technology is a wonderful thing when it works!
So, I was thinking about Poll's first year, where we started and where we are now ...
On this day a year ago, I was waiting like an anxious new mum, to hear of the safe arrival of Polly's mum Thea's litter. Thea is a beautiful cream retriever with the most gentle face and a year ago today, produced twelve fabulously squirmy pups - six chunky little boys and six pretty little girls.
After an extensive telephone interview with Thea's owner, I was invited to visit shortly after her puppies were born. My daughter Fay and I were highly excited as we drove to meet Thea and her new family for the first time. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the living room where the four week old puppies were happily snuggled in their pen with Thea, who was proving herself to be a first class, very gentle mum.
We visited a couple more times and eventually Polly chose us when she waddled over to Fay and rolled onto her back for a tummy tickle ... something she still does today! At seven weeks, it was time to collect Polly and bring her home to start her new life with us. Thea's owner had given Polly and her litter mates the best possible start and shed a tear as we waved goodbye, setting off with our precious charge snuggled on the back seat of my car with Fay. It was a lovely sunny day in May, so we spent that afternoon playing with Polly in the garden and she soon made herself right at home, playing chase the ball and of course, rolling over on the grass for her tummy tickles!
Since then, I don't know how I ever managed without Polly. Puppyhood was fun, challenging, tiring, messy and chaotic, but gradually we established a routine and Poll soon learned how to behave politely in the house. She of course, went through the usual range of puppy misdemeanors from puddles on the living room rug, to nipping when excited, biting off my rose blooms, chasing our cats and behaving like a twirling dervish on the lead ... but with patience, a sense of humour and a little determination, we all survived those crazy puppy days.
And as those of you who read regularly will know, me 'n Polly have been attending obedience school for the past six months, which has been a huge help in helping me to help Polly become the polite dog I always wanted. It has also given us both an opportunity to make lovely new friends, which has been an added bonus!
Polly has learned so much during her first year and has taught me heaps too. Most importantly in terms of training, she now walks politely on her lead, waits patiently to cross roads safely with me and best of all, comes when called. She is still a little hesitant when passing certain other dogs on leads, so whenever she seems unsure, I just let her sit politely if she wants to, until the dog has either passed or introduced himself. Thankfully lunging and jumping at approaching dogs are now a distant memory. We often stop to chat to other owners and Polly usually sits politely while their dogs walk towards us to say hello, then does her own 'doggy sniff' welcome thing.
Today, on Polly's first birthday I can honestly say, she is a super polite girl and an important member of our family, has learned much about the rules of our human world already and always tries to do her best for me.
Mind you, something my clever girl hasn't yet worked out is that a thirty kilo Polly dog really doesn't fit on my lap when I'm on my swivel chair ... not that it stops her trying to have a great big licky lap cuddle each morning!!!
Happy Birthday to youuuuu my lovely Polly girl!!!!