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One black man and his dog Part One

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Nearly 10 weeks ago, a tsunami entered my life, I adopted an 8 week old puppy; A German Shorthaired Pointer. Her name is Ruska. She is now 18 weeks old, asleep as I type. She sleeps in her bed beside an empty crate (which she never uses).

Prior to this, I never really regarded myself as a ‘dog person’. In fact the only pets I had owned were fish as a boy and a cat in my 20’s. My black moggie, Josephine, was given to me as a kitten, I was only 23.  I loved that little cat but I’ve been burdened how the story ended with her.

We enjoyed a few good years together, she didn’t mind I worked long hours, eager as I was to establish myself up the corporate ladder; a young and hungry graduate desperate to leave student debt and student ways. She was a valued member of my funky Brixton flat share with fellow ex university friends.

A few years passed, around the age of 25, I decided to move back home. I was motivated to clear student debt once and for all. My father protested no cat was allowed in the house, but I made it a condition of my return and what (loving) parent can turn away their child?

My retired father soon fell in love with Josephine. After a year I accepted an offer to take a room with friends in Wimbledon and begin again the dance of being young and single in London. I didn’t have the heart to separate the bond the two had formed and left my cat and my father to each other.

They are both long dead now, but my stunted pet ownership has always stayed with me. Let us call it ( as dogs are so expertly at dealing with) an itch. And so this year, I found myself driving home with a new puppy from a breeder. My wife was onboard (sort of) she certainly wasn’t a ‘dog person’ but her own kindness and tolerance to my ‘itch’ gave in.

We had initially signed up with a rescue centre and its sad to say, the dog we were matched with was an adult Staffie. My wife wasn’t exactly keen. Persuading a person whose fearful of dogs to bring a Staffie into her life was too much. The tragic character assassination these dogs have suffered.

Selfish I know, but I knew my dream would only be realised if I not only adopted a dog that was known for zero aggression. Staff’s are the most lovable dogs you’re likely to meet, but they are tough little buggers and in the hand of dreadful, evil pet owners their reputation has been heavily tarnished.

Further, I knew my wife would probably better off adopting a puppy. Bringing home a helpless 8 week old puppy would ensured her heart would melt. So with a heavy heart we said no to the adult staff and began looking for breeders for puppy of various breeds. Call it fate, but we found a breeder who was expecting a litter of German Shorthaired. I read up on the breed-  Known for affection, lively and great home pets. My wife loves to jog and they were perfect companions for the active family, we were sold.

We went to pick our puppy when the litter were a few weeks old. All apprehension melted when 9 tiny babies raced around our feet. The litter seemed to swarm to my wife, which sent her into a meltdown of cuteness overload. My dog chose us, we met her mum and dad. We were set. She couldn’t be separated from her mother too early, so we had a month or so to prepare for her coming to our home.

I had read extensively on rearing dogs, the training needed, the perseverance required to exercise them every day. Watching YouTube videos it dawned on me what a HUGE responsibility adopting a young German Shorthaired (GSP) was.

On the day we drove to the breeder, I knew my entire life was going to change, but I had no idea by how utterly, how completely and in ways I was completly blind to.

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