My mum got a bichon frise almost 10 years ago and this little dog, Babe, has such a big impact on my life. When she stays with me, we are inseparable, she sleeps with me, comes into my home office with me as I work and since I have moved house in November, she treats my new neighbourhood like her own little kingdom, she has to explore it all and see what has changed since she was last here. My mum and Babe were staying with me through lockdown and when they went back to Mum’s house at the end of lockdown, I was heartbroken.
Now that I have a garden and will be working from home for the foreseeable future, I decided to get my own puppy. We first approached the breeder my mum got Babe from, she had not had a litter for some time, but lo and behold, she thought that Babe’s niece was pregnant, this seemed like kismet! Sadly it was a phantom pregnancy, I was gutted, I had already chosen the name.
I went onto the Kennel Club website and I registered for notifications for Bichon Frise, Bolognese and Maltese, as I have asthma and react to dogs, I need a non-shedding breed. Given I have built up a resistance to Babe over the years, I wanted a dog from the Bichon family. I received three notifications for Bichons, but received no response from the breeders, and one for a Maltese and the lady responded immediately to say that I was too late for this litter but I could go on the waiting list for future litters. I then got a notification for a Bolognese! I contacted the lady, Claire, who got back immediately to ask when I would be available for an interview, to check that I knew what was involved in having a dog. The interview went really well, luckily having experience with my Mum’s Bichon, I was able to demonstrate that I knew what was involved and would be a responsible owner. Claire sent me a picture of the puppies and I thought “I hope the little ‘red’ one is mine”. The next conversation Claire mentioned that she had given the puppies angel names, and I thought “I hope mine is called Gabriel”. After the video viewing, Claire let me know that I had been successful in securing a puppy and my dog was “Mr Red” and his kennel name was Gabriel Niccolo! It really was kismet! His pet name is Truffles! The next stage was planning on how I would get this little precious bundle from Surrey home to my house, 15 miles Southwest of Glasgow.
Claire would send me regular updates and photos, we had another video call and Claire asked me to send a face cloth with my scent on it (I put it in my pillow for a few nights) so she could give it to Truffles so he would know my scent. I used the `Getting a Puppy’ guide from the Kennel Club website to prepare for his arrival! I drove to Surrey the day before collecting him and stayed in a hotel, I was so excited and a little nervous. The handover went really well; I got to spend a lot of time with Truffles and his mum and dad. We got into my car and I secured him into his seat with some toys and his blanket and he whimpered a little. But after a few minutes there was complete silence. Our first stop on the first night was in the Cotswolds and he was an angel for the whole journey.
The logistics were difficult, at 8 weeks old he had not had all his jags so I could not let him out at service stations etc. So it was puppy pads in the boot and letting him wander in there for a little while at breaks. We went out for dinner on the first night and he slept on my lap while I ate, I was so lucky as Truffles bonded to me immediately. He slept so well on our first night together (and has since). I had been worried that he would be upset and keep me awake when I had a big journey the next day. Through the whole journey the next day he was so good as well. In fact, he was so quiet, I was worried that there was something wrong with him on the last leg of the journey!