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A paw print on my heart

A paw print on my heart


I never had a pet growing up.  Well, unless you take into account three goldfish called Bold, Ariel and Persil, none of whom tarried long upon this earth. Three days after bringing them home I found them all floating on the surface. I thought they had just come up for some air. 

The thing is I don’t actually recall ever being overly bothered about not having a pet.  Some children plead with and beg their parents for a fluffy little bunny, a pussy cat or doggy. Not I: I knew there wasn’t a hope in Helsinki that Sandra would be housing any fur-shedding critters in her uber tidy home, regardless of how cutesy and adorable.

So I grew up petless but content to shower my animal-loving affections upon my neighbour’s pets, notably Rex the golden retriever and Tyson the border collie.

Lack of pet may have been to blame for lack of empathy for and understanding of pet owners. I’d watch people coo over their animals and treat them like their own flesh and blood  (sometimes better) and I just didn’t get it. That is until this beautiful creature came into my life:

Sapphie whippet

It wasn’t love at first sight.  On the contrary, when I went round to Craig’s house for the very first time my initial impression of Sapphie Whippet was that she resembled an oversized rat. Then I stroked her and my hand glided across her velvety fur like a ship upon a waveless ocean. Then I witnessed her running and was awestruck by her power, strength and elegance. Then she lay her soft head in my lap and looked up at me beseechingly with her oversized, chocolate brown eyes. And I got it.

And I still get it. What Sapphie offers is unconditional love, loyalty and dogged devotion and all she wants in return is some food, water, the occasional walk and her hind legs scratched. Scratch those hind legs for Sapphie and she will raise her nose in the air, close her eyes dreamily and smile. I’m convinced she smiles.

You know, I don’t even mind that she prefers her Daddy so much more than me. I have a sneaking suspicion that were we ever to pro-create our children would gravitate in a similar direction, such is his kind and gentle manner. As soon as she hears Craig’s car in the drive she leaps down from the sofa as quickly as her increasingly arthritic joints will allow and when he enters the room, Sapphie's tail rotates frenziedly like one of Craig’s helicopters and I swear she could take off.  

And it tugs at my previously untuggable-where-animals-were-concerned heartstrings. 


Ginger Warrior, over and out.

P.S.  Have you got/did you used to have any pets that are/were well and truly part of the family?  Tell me about them and post a picture. Let's pay homage to our furry and not so furry friends!

She's quite the character is our Saffronella!

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  1. That was the funniest thing when see refused to get out of the car!
    Why would you want to go out in the cold when your in your 90’s x

  2. A wonderful story! I have been a ‘doggy person’ from childhood and I agree completely with all that you said about cherishing a dog.

  3. Ah yes, childhood pets……. We had the usual goldfish on and off plus budgies and a tortoise. The tortoise and one of the budgies met their maker a tad earlier than they would have liked.

    The budgie was losing his feathers at a rapid rate, we came downstairs one morning and he was like the parrot in Monty Python’s pet shop sketch. It was some time later than I discovered Dad had helped it on its way as he thought the bird was sick. I reckon it was just having a mega moult.

    Coco the tortoise…….as we had done for many years, we packed him in a box for the hibernation season and popped him in the garage as normal. Only one flaw in the activity this year…….Dad installed the box on the floor behind the exhaust pipe. Coco was gassed and went into a permanent hibernation state.

    Perhaps at this point I should tell you that Dad comes from !ong line of undertakers and at least the pets had decent burials. Diverting slightly from the subject, all the garden cold frames he made when we were kids were coffin shaped as this was the template he was familiar with……

    I currently have various fish, four goldfish all different colours and a catfish.

    I also have a cat who (hopefully) will be eighteen in April. She is arthritic and lost her sight last summer but still gets around the house and garden, finds her food and litter tray, and most importantly turfs me out of her favourite spot on the sofa. She cannot jump onto my bed anymore but still wakes me with a combination of howling and scratching on the bed frame for treat biscuits and/or an early breakfast. In her prime she was an amazing hunter bringing in up to seven mice a night and snacking on them. When she brought a bird in she would pluck it…….the largest birdie she tried to get through the cat flap was a magpie!

  4. Having grown up on a farm in my early years, I’ve always been surrounded by animals, and couldn’t imagine not having any in my life. Unfortunately our current lifestyle doesn’t suit having a dog, being out all day at work; but we do have two comical rabbits who are such funny characters, and last year I was thrilled to find we have a little hedgehog living in our garden too :)

  5. Hehe love that video! This is the other man in my life, Del dog! He is a big teddy bear and my girls adore him, as do we! Here he is on the couch with all of Esme’s bears that she gave to him to cuddle!

  6. It is not until I start to think about it that I realise I have had quite a few pets. It all began with the goldfish won at the visiting fairs…like you ceri that rarely survived a week and then were flushed! We then got a real pet…a budgie called Freddy. He was able and grey and he ‘whoopsied’ everywhere. My brother and I were young and we often played with Freddy. One day we tried to see if Freddy could still walk whilst we put our fingers on his tail…he could but he left his tail behind. It grew back! When he died we buried him in the garden and that was our first real sense of loss. After that we moved to Arbroath and co-owned a cat called Leo. He actually belonged to our neighbours Val and Bill but he came to visit and sleep over. He used to lie in my dad’s arms like a baby. We loved that cat. When he passed away my brother and I got my dad called a rescue cat called Cassie. She was a great cat and for a few years we were content with just a cat. Then my dad got diagnosed with cancer and he took early retirement. He was quite lonely and when my friend Vanessa’s family got a new puppy I decided to take my dad around to visit. He fell in love with Charlie the cocker spaniel and that afternoon called the breeder to order his own. I remember the day that my dad and I went to pick him up. He was a tiny bundle of fluffiness and we instantly fell in love with him and him with us. He was so good for my dad encouragimg him to go out every day for a walk even when my dad didnt perhaps feel like it. He kept my dad company when he was having a bad day and when my dad passed away Sonny walked around with my dad’s baseball hat in his mouth crying for weeks. We got Sonny 15 years ago and he is still with us. He isn’t quite as spritely as he once was but we couldn’t have asked for a better natured dog and we love him to pieces. About a year and a half ago we started thinking about what would happen if Sonny was to leave us…so we went looking for another spaniel and found Cooper. We fell in love instantly and Sonny got a little ‘brother’ He has kept Sonny on his toes and although it wasn’t love at first sight for Sonny, he now let’s Cooper cosy in. We couldn’t imagine being without our dogs. They always welcome us home, have a sixth sense when we are sad and in need of a snuggle and love us no matter what. We love getting outside to take our dogs for long walks and can’t imagine life without them. They are our ‘family.’

  7. I get it 100%! I too never had any significant pets when growing up, a few gerbils etc, but no dogs (although Mum & Dad quite often went out in the evening to ‘see a man about a dog’ only in the morning to find out they’d really just gone to the local! So when the kids starting asking for a puppy it was a tall order. My youngest had been really scared by a dog when tiny and was petrified whenever anything furry crossed her path, yet still, she wanted a cute little pup. My hubby had no experience either but loves a new purchase! But obviously this purchase would be a very long lasting one with day to day care ( unlike the many bikes and gadgets etc.!). Still I’d had a bad time at my previous workplace and was about to embark on new hours that fitted around school hours better and I’d be home early afternoon. So just before (1 day in fact!) I started my new job we saw our pup for the first time advertised for sale. To say it was love at first sight was an understatement….and not just for me!

    It was a bit of a drive but it was well worth it. I’d already named him on the journey to meet him and luckily ‘Pongo’ suited him down to the ground.

    There is not one minute that I have regretted getting him, even when sweeping the garden for poops, I come home from work and he greets me with wagging tail, kisses and pure excitement no matter what. We go straight out for a good walk which is his time as much as mine…the quiet before the storm (school pick-up!). You see we, as a family struggle (a later conversation perhaps) and Pongo, well, he has brought us together. My hubby romanticized about us all having walks together at the weekends, playing together and him bringing a welcome distraction to our daily struggles and he does. I have considered changing Pongo’s name to ‘Jesus’ because he has been our Saviour…but I don’t think it would be appropriate to shout that out!! So yes, I definitely get it xx

  8. Hi GW, guess what, I have a whippet cross and she is so lovely and gentle, and lazy called Tilly. They are such beautiful agile creatures, if somewhat aloof sometimes, but the most loyal and loving dogs you can have. Contrary to what people think they don’t like loads of walks, just a sprint every now and again. My Tilly Tots is only just 3 and I can’t imagine not being without her now – she also hates the cold!!! She loves nothing more than being tucked up in her duvet!!! x x

  9. We have a goldfish called Ariel!!! (As in The Little mermaid, we had Flounder too but he floundered). Anyway ours in 7 :) 2 yellow a labs too. My boy is 10 and if you can have a doggy soul mate, then he’s mine. Our girl is 4ish but a rescue so we don’t really know or what her back story is. Oh and Harry the horse, if he could fit in front if the fire place I’ve no doubts he’d be there!

  10. Love is…

  11. Having no kids and perhaps not a desire to even have them being much more focused on a career, holidays and generally being able to please ourselves when we wanted to, which for some sounds selfish I know, the husbands decision to get me a cat for a birthday was, although not wholly unwelcome, a slightly bizarre act. Now we have to think about getting someone to look after him if we want to pop to the Lakes for a long weekend I cried…. The fact that we never really do anything like that in reality was something that the husband was keen to point out!
    Off we went to a local shelter and picked out a 13 week old black kitten. Within 30 seconds I was in total and utter love. All visions of us not letting the cat in the bedroom at night etc., went out the window the first night with us. He is now the apple of my eye and gets what he wants, when he wants. I am convinced he talks to me and is always there to greet me when I come home from work.
    This post resonated with me particularly today, since my cat came home last night hopping on three legs ( can you hop on three legs!??) his forth hanging lifeless in the air. I managed to lift him onto the sofa and there he has remained all night, looking very forlorn and when either of us ( Mommy and Daddy to the cat I will have you know, which when I write it down does sound so pathetic) went to stroke him, hissing and wailing ensued. I am now beside myself. An appointment at the vets has been made however the last time I went there with him I made a fool of myself and wept uncontrollably when the news was delivered that he had a heart murmur even though the vet assured me that this is quite common in cats. The husband may have to go instead…..

  12. I am a pussy cat girl (not doll!!!) and everyone who knows me thinks I am a little bit obsessed about them. They are easy to look after (no training needed, although can someone advise me how to stop a cat shitting on the lawn???).
    I have been told also from some catty guru that they transmute negative energy. I don’t know about this but I have noticed that when I am feeling low my cats like to be near.
    Here is a picture (if I can load it) of my cat Marble, who as you can see is partial to co op bags. I’ve told him it is dangerous to play around with plazzy bags but what does he care!!!!

  13. I’ve seen Saffi and she is absolutely beautiful.
    As a child I have a dog called Sam the black Labrador and he is as good as gold.;)

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