11/08/2011

Tilly and how we found her

This is our Tilly, she is five months old (just) and for the past three and a bit months she has lived with us, terrorised us, licked us to death, made us laugh and generally forced us through her sheer puppy will to fall head over heels in love with her.

I don't think I'm too biased here and I'm pretty certain that you'll agree she is a teeny tiny bit cute.

She is a pedigree flat coated retriever and we got her from a wonderful lady called Hilary in Cirencester who has been breeding flat coats (or flatties) on her working farm for a very long time so she knows a thing or two.

Hilary was recommended to us, which made things a bit easier as it wasn't proving very easy finding a breeder online or via the flat coated retriever society (yes they have a society!).  We called her and she told us that she was due a litter at the beginning of March 2011.  In a state of excited trepidation we went to visit the puppies when they were 4 weeks old, and this is what we found.

So we ordered ourselves a little Tillster, erm how could you NOT!, and were told to go away and prepare ourselves and not come back until she was 8 weeks old.  She was a tad expensive - surely not helped by the fact that a flattie won Best in Show at Crufts just a few weeks earlier, timing is everything huh!

We went home and proceeded to PANIC.  We went out and bought/borrowed every single puppy book we could, most of which just increased the sense of PANIC!  We discovered the joys of Cesar Millan although I have to admit that his book How to Raise the Perfect Dog actually made me PANIC!! even more and on more than one occasion I threw the book down in a huffty.

We found solace and sensibility in the words of Gwen Bailey, The Perfect Puppy and this helped a lot in the early weeks.  Although it does annoy me that the word 'perfect' is bandied about so much, I don't think it is ever possible to have a 'perfect' puppy and nor should you want one; they poo and wee and chew (oh my they CHEW), and lick and are naughty and silly and funny and cute.  I can think of lots of words to describe Tilly but perfect isn't one of them, more like perfectly imperfect.

We also went for our first visit to Pets at Home and you would never believe how much money you can spend on a small furry canine and also I don't know how dog owners got supplies before Pets at Home, I mean the shop is huge and has everything (including very cute bunnies and guinea pigs).  So on first visit we (in a daze) purchased the following:

  • Small travel case - for trips in the car to vets etc prior to immunisation

  • Stainless steel food and water bowls

  • Puppy shampoo

  • Puppy treats - we got coachies for puppies

  • Brush - she doesn't like it

  • Collar - little, tiny collar

  • Short lead

  • Various toys - mainly chewy things, two small cute teddy bears too who ended up being called TT (Tilly's Toy) and PT (Pink Toy) respectively
  • Fleecy blanket and vetbed

We also got her a crate (more on crate training to come) from Croft online, they have a tool where you put your dog breed in and they tell you the right size cage to get (for complete novices this is essential).  She seems right at home in it anyway.

What?...what?! do I look weird or something??
For food, we were recommended some dry food by Hilary. It's called Symply and Tilly came with a free 2kg bag), and we ordered a further 12kg - Symply have a great website and deliver quickly if you, like me, leave things to the last minute.  Tilly loves the food and scoffs the whole lot up without fail and we are on our third 12kg bag so it was a good recommendation (again, brilliant for novices), because apparently puppies can go off food midway through a 12kg bag. You wouldn't be impressed!

So, there we were, all prepared, drove to Cirencester and picked up our little pupski.  We filled out all the paperwork with Hilary and she plonked Tillster on my lap and off we drove.  We couldn't believe it, someone had let us drive off with a puppy, she was ours and life would never be the same again.

1 comment:

  1. Ah the deep, deep joy of a flattie ;-) I may have 'relative' bias but she is a lovely pully chewy licky pupster - and such a "clean girl"!!

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