Kate Livingstone: Welcoming a new member of the family

Friends of mine have just announced they are considering getting a dog.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 24th May 2018, 4:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th May 2018, 4:36 pm

The news, as far as I am concerned, came completely out of the blue as a pet never seemed to be on the horizon before.

I’m not sure I understand it myself as they’re constantly complaining that, since they had kids, they have no time to themselves and their social life has whittled away to almost nothing.

However, I found the whole rigmarole involved in moving from the thinking about getting a dog stage to actually getting a dog fascinating.

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For a start, I was pleased to hear they were looking at rescue centres rather than breeders of pedigree pooches for the latest addition to their family.

Although I’m not a pet person myself, whenever I see TV adverts featuring abandoned and mistreated animals it always tugs at my heartstrings, so hats off to them for going down that route.

With that decided, the next stage seemed akin to selecting a prospective partner on a online dating site.

They scrolled through dozens of pictures of downtrodden dogs – many of them quite cute I have to admit – reading the little biographies and deciding which one would fit in best.

Now before any keyboard warriors out there start rattling off emails to me, I do understand it’s not as simple as that and a lot of vetting has to take place before prospective owners are finally matched with their perfect pet, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

For a start, any of those which specified a quiet home was required were quickly scored off the list. With two toddlers constant tearing around, ‘quiet’ is definitely not how I’d describe my friends’ house,

Anything too big was also out of the question, while, having just had a new kitchen fitted, they are understandably reluctant to welcome a puppy with a penchant for chewing furniture.

That certainly narrowed the field down but, after a couple of visits to the centre, they eventually settled on one which seemed to tick all the boxes.

They are now going though the familiarisation process, taking the dog for a few walks and introducing it to the various family members before it moves into its new home.

I had my first encounter with Waffle - those with young children will know where the name came from - just the other day and I must say I was quite taken with him.

Just not enough to consider going down the same route myself!