There is no questioning that Lily is our first baby. Our beautiful, fluffy, seven year old (on Wednesday!) baby. Nath & I decided we wanted a dog a long time ago but the flat we were renting at the time wasn’t allowed to have dogs in so we waited a little longer. We were always going to get a ‘Smiley Dog’ as I call Retrievers, and I will never forget the night when we went with my brother & Nath’s youngest brother to collect her from Dorset. We walked into a room full of small clouds & everywhere you looked was miniature polar bears. It was cuteness on an epic scale. We chose Lily because she kept nibbling our shoes … She’s continued to do so. Maybe that’s not the best attribute to go for in a puppy. Coincidentally her pedigree name was also Lewestone Lilymore so it seemed like it was a good fit from the start!
Lil is the best companion you can ask for. She is never sad, she is eternally loving & asks for very little in return. She has brightened our days enormously over the last 7 years; especially when Nath & I were living apart when I was on a teaching placement in Cornwall for 6 months. Lily kept Nath company whilst I curled up with my sister’s beautiful Fudgey-Dog & Benny-Beagle.
And then Darcey came along. I must admit, we were a little nervous. Lil is clearly enormous and a newborn baby is obviously tiny. Lily had never known anything other than having us to herself & we worried about how she’d adapt. We read books and websites about how to introduce them, I spoke to friends and colleagues who had done the same before us. Advice like bringing home a blanket that the baby’s smell was on before we brought baby home was commonplace. As it happened, I was in and out of the Birth Centre within 11 hours so that wasn’t possible anyway. Everyone felt the need to remind us to ‘never leave her alone with the baby’. Obviously. We don’t have some sort of Peter Pan situation going on here where we go out for dinner and leave her with the dog!
But we needn’t have worried. We followed one simple suggestion that one of my lovely colleagues explained that she’d done when bringing home their little boy. When we came home with Darcey, Nath went in first. He is Lily’s ‘Master’ for want of a better word. He trained her and taught her all of her tricks, he feeds her and she worships the ground he walks on. He made a big fuss of Lil and then I followed up the path with the car seat and a very brand new, scrunched up little Bug bundled inside it. And tucked gently beside her was the biggest Jumbone you’ve ever seen! Immediately Lil sniffed it out & gently extracted it from the car seat, oblivious to the fact that the little person who’d given it to her had already tipped our worlds on their heads. And they were best friends from then on. Lily associated Darcey with lovely things from the word go and became the most loyal and fluffy big sister we could have asked for. She won’t go to bed on a night time without going into the nursery to stick her nose through the bars of Darcey’s cot & check she’s okay. If Darcey cries on a night, Lil is in there before we are. She has the patience of the most patient Saint you have ever met …
She doesn’t flinch when Darcey ‘tickle-tickles’ her (which essentially involves a lot of fur and ear pulling). She gently waits for Darcey to climb aboard her back and stays very still whilst Darcey pretends she’s horse riding over a mountain. She is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t silly about it. She is, after all, an animal who can’t verbalise her feelings and we’d never ever presume that she would be as patient in any situation – especially if Darcey was to accidentally hurt her so we always supervise and intervene if necessary. But she has been immaculately behaved around Darcey since the word go and adores her more than Nath. Which is significant!
We’ve started to get Darcey to give Lily treats which is incredibly cute & is teaching Darcey to be very gentle and respectful of Lily too. She’ll often just jump up to Lily for a little cuddle or to ‘pat pat pat’ her head. We couldn’t have asked for our babies to get on any better. We were going to get another puppy this summer but didn’t want to throw another change into the mix for Lil so soon but it might be something we do later down the line. For now, us ladies are very happy outnumbering Nath 3:1 and I don’t think he’d have it any other way.