The idea of us introducing a dog into our family, considering at the time we had 2 relatively young cats, was a definite no-no. On a relaxing Sunday evening sitting down watching the movie BABE, this all changed. The idea rooted from the fact that our two daughters wanted to get a miniature piglet! However, the next thing that came out of Den’s mouth was very surprising, “well you can have a dog”. Well, that was it, the idea had been mooted and there was no going back on his word (I must admit it may have been slightly alcohol-induced!).
As expected, the next morning consisted of me and my daughter Becky scouring the internet looking at different dog breeds. We had a few different breeds that we liked but we weren’t 100% sure, so we decided that a visit to Discover Dogs would be perfect. It was Saturday 13th November 2010, the day we decided that we would love to add a Bolognese to our family. As we excitedly walked around the dog stands from the Scottie to the Coton to the Havanese it was our next stand that made our decision. I distinctly remember approaching the stand seeing what could only be described as the most beautiful balls of fluff. Chris and Brian Thatcher were manning the Discover Dogs stand that day with two of their lovely bollies – Bella (who had a gorgeous red poppy on for Remembrance Day) and Morse. They started to explain to us that Bolognese are wonderful little white dogs, full of character, loving and loyal. They are highly intelligent, always eager to learn and join in with family activities and have an infectious charm as they look at you through their little black button eyes. Big-hearted in a small package is perhaps the greatest description of these wonderful dogs. And I would say that explanation is perfect.
Fast forward nine years and we are lucky enough to now own 5 wonderful little bundles. Our eldest is Mia (8 years) who was bred by Melanie Thomas and funnily enough is related to Chris and Brian’s’ Morse and Bella. The next four, we bred ourselves Donocielo Seraphina, Ceasario and Cassia, all full siblings and progeny of Mia, and little Giulietta aka Seraphina’s little girl.
As our founding bitch, if it wasn’t for Mia, we wouldn’t have been lucky enough to produce any of our other bolos living as part of our family or other families including in Canada, Italy and Germany. When we originally got Mia, we never had the plan of showing her, however, Melanie persuaded us to give it a try. We went to our first show and enjoyed it very much.
Since that day we became hooked and have been lucky enough to have some success with our five little fluffies, with it culminating in Giulietta winning Best Puppy at Crufts 2018 and Seraphina winning Best Bitch at Crufts 2019 and BOB at UK Toy Dog 2019, a very proud moment.
Showing dogs isn’t easy and can cost a little bit of money and time including grooming, however the fun moments with friends, travelling to different parts of the country and the happiness that the dogs get from it (probably due to them getting more treats than normal!) makes it all the worthwhile.
Showing our dogs in the last year has had to take a back seat. Unfortunately, last summer at the Amsterdam World Dog Show 2018 Cassie got severely ill. Cassie had Gastroenteritis, accumulating in several months fighting it off with trips back and forth from the vet hospital. Luckily a year on she has come through the other side and is back to her mischievous self. It was a shame as the trip to the WDS19 was such an enjoyable time and allowed us to see Giulietta’s sister Elisabetta and brother Marcello. Both did very well winning 2nd in Junior Bitch and 1st in Junior Dog and Junior World Winner respectively. Even though we went to the show this adventure was mainly a holiday. We stayed at the lovely Radisson Blu and enjoyed trips through the Amsterdamase Bos and along the Westeinderplassen. I would definitely recommend this as a holiday destination with the dogs.
The other reason we haven’t done many shows is that recently we have taken the big step of moving across the water to the Isle of Wight. As you can imagine this process had several ups and downs, but we finally made it at the end of August. Hopefully, our new home will bring many more happy memories. The dogs have started to settle in and seem even happier than normal with walks including running along the beach in and out of the sea and scurrying through the leaves chasing red squirrels in the local forests.
This Christmas Mia turns 9, I can honestly say bringing her into our life was the best decision we have ever made as it has brought us so many smiles and giggles. As they say, ‘a home without a dog is just a house’.
by Carol Mulligan