Hi - as many of you know,i took the decision to get myself a dog a couple of months ago - it wasn't an easy decision by any means,but I decided I needed something to stop me becoming more of the recluse I had already become,due to my many conditions,and to help me start getting some level of health back,first by gently walking again,but more for my state of mind,as we all know that although the multitude of medications we take can help our physical health,they can also have a huge negative impact on our mental wellbeing, without us even realising in most cases. After many months of research, I decided that the best breed for me would be a Maltese,as even on my worst days,she would still be small enough for me to be able to care for her like she needed,and deserved. It took me a long time to get my head around having a dog that would only ever be half the size of my cats,and even as someone that's grown up with large breed dogs(rolling around the floor as a kid with german shepherds,or Doberman crosses etc) it was tough for me to accept having a 'handbag' dog,or one which many would just consider as a fashion accessory (my nephew of 19 said it all when he asked if I could take her out for walks like a 'normal' dog?!') I had to explain to him that just because we see these small dogs constantly in magazines or on tv being carried,they do actually have legs and feet,and are more than capable of walking,or even god forbid,running!! I picked Minnie up on the 14/12 at just 8wks old,but in those two and a bit weeks since I've had her my life has drastically improved already - ok,so we've had the expected little accidents where her front paws have been on the pads and she hasn't realised that her back end isn't,but just waking up to her barking to be let out of her crate is music to my ears - normally my routine would be get up,feed cats,take meds,then pretend i'm a cat and basically pass out for most of the day,but now i'm having to walk(as in the ministry of silly walks) across the kitchen floor while I prepare her breakfast,and then i'm kept on my toes just watching to make sure she's not running off with the cat biscuit instead of her own(it's like watching a cotton wool ball on steroids when she runs because she knows she's upto something she shouldn't be) plus all the other silly little things that pups generally get upto. she's just had her second jabs this week,so she's already had a playdate with my parents three dogs,and judging by that,nothing in this world is going to faze this little bundle - I've been truly blessed to have found such a fantastic breeder that did everything she should to ensure her pups were well socialized before leaving for their new forever homes. I'm off out to one of the Essex wildlife nature reserves later so that I can pick my guidebook up - I decided to become a member after originally reserving Minnie,as my partner works nights,and sleeps all day - I figured this way,as I had the car seat for Minnie,we could go off to a different park/area whenever I was upto driving,which meant longer being out of the house for me too - to me,it was a win/win situation. This is the first few months since becoming ill at the start of 2014 that my arthritis is almost under control,so this winter will be a big learning curve for me in general,but I've missed walking my parents dogs for hours on end like I used to at any given opportunity(they're only one street away,but they're far too big and strong for me to consider the risk if I got pulled now) but I'm counting down the days until I can finally wrap up in my layers and head out to once again feel the bracing chill on my face - nothing better to make you feel you're alive in my books,and what better way to do it than with a four legged companion to keep you company,and also amused?! I've had all the usual comments from friends and family that were concerned that maybe I'd rushed into this,but after I'd explained that I'd already wasted the best part of 18 months by being stuck indoors,and they know how active I generally am(even with stitches in my back from one of the three major surgeries I've had) they realised that it wasn't on a whim,and it is the best thing for me - my social carer couldn't say it was a good idea quick enough,as she knew how down I'd been at being pretty much housebound while waiting for my meds to finally click into place. so here's to a new year,new beginnings,which for me prob incl lots of silly anecdotes about my adventures outside,but for the first time in years I'm truly excited to see what the new year brings.
Here's wishing everyone else a great new year,and that you all have something positive to focus on when you need it most.
Nicki & Minnie xx