How I adopted my dream dog and how she affects my life

Blog by Kieran, one of our top Dog Dudes who is a little excited to have adopted the gorgeous Lulu

Back in early January, I’d been looking to adopt a rescue dog for some time. Partly due to the high competition with so many people working from home, but mostly because I work full-time, I wasn’t having much luck. I was looking everywhere for a suitable Golden Retriever (my favourite breed) or Golden X, but so were a number of my friends, on my behalf. My best friend spotted a promising comment in a local Facebook group and asked about it… that turned out to be a family looking to re-home their three month old Golden puppy, called Lulu! I was put in touch and we went through a number of questions we each had, then arranged for me to visit and meet Lu. By then, however, her owner changed her mind and asked if I could actually collect her that day, instead. I drove there, met the CUTEST little ball of fluff I’d ever seen, and came home with her and a load of her things!

It didn’t immediately sink in that she was mine, but like Lulu’s needle-teeth, it did eventually. Being young, unbelievably intelligent and a breed that learns through its mouth, she requires a lot of time and attention, but she’s so worth it! When she settles down next to me in the evenings, the softest, warmest and sweetest little thing in the world, all of the mischief and injuries of the day are soon forgotten. Time has flown since getting her, and she has settled in a treat. My biggest concern (my work hours) hasn’t ended up being an issue, since her age means she’s adaptable and sleeps so much. Another bonus was that the toilet training was already done for me! I took time off work to get her used to my routine and time home alone, which has worked well.

Lulu was bought against her previous owners’ better judgement, from what was likely a puppy farm, in Ireland. Due to family issues and a couple of scares with Lu and the daughter, the family decided she would be better off elsewhere. Whilst on the face of it this it could be dismissed as 'another lockdown puppy', I will say that the family valued Lu’s welfare above everything else, asking a lot of questions of me, providing me with everything of use and spending an absolute fortune on vet care. Unfortunately, Lulu was bought with a few serious illnesses, including two parasites. The parasites eventually cleared, but one of them (Giardia) returned and she was infected with it when it was time for me to collect her. To my relief, I managed to stop her re-infecting herself for the course of the medicine (and since) and she’s now fit and healthy.

I’ve been somewhat dog-obsessed in recent years, so I knew a lot about raising a puppy, even though I was actually looking to adopt an adult dog. I’ve put loads of time into training, socialisation and exposure, although a lot of exposure has come naturally. There is a Duck Tolling Retriever puppy just 2 days older than Lulu in our street, so they’re now having regular play dates and spent the morning together recently, too. It’s no exaggeration to say that Lulu has more of a social life than just about any human does now!

Raising her brings me purpose, like many parents find in their children. It is also just what I needed, in what would otherwise be a lonely, difficult time, with yet another lockdown. Dogs bring their owners outside for fresh air and start conversations, especially when they’re an adorable ball of golden fur that everyone wants to meet!

As she grows, she can join me on ever-longer walks. At some point, she will join me on the Dudes & Dogs walks, where she can do her bit for men’s mental health by making us feel relaxed and bringing a reason to be out walking in all weathers. I’ve previously borrowed dogs from friends, which has been great, but I can’t wait to go with my own. One of my favourite things to do over the last year has been going on long walks; when she’s finished growing (so I don’t need to be so careful of her delicate, forming joints), she will come on fun adventures all around the country, with and without friends. Even just walking in the local woods is a real joy with a Golden.

As much as she can be a pain in the backside (sometimes literally, as the neighbour’s pup found out!), Lulu brings a great deal of happiness to me and I love her to bits.

Kieran
Dog Dude for Gloucester