Having recently written a blog regarding some of my Christmas memories about decorating the house for Christmas I started to remember some of the best gifts I have ever received. Chief amongst those has to be the year my uncle Bill bought us a dog. Her name was Molly and she was a little white snowball of energy.
She came from a breeder in County Roscommon in Ireland, and travelled all alone in a pet travel case by train up to Dublin where my uncle was to pick her up. I remember him telling me that he arrived on the platform of the station to meet the train and he looked everywhere for her. He saw all of the passengers disembark but they were all of the two-legged variety. Where was she, he wondered?
He called a porter and told him that he was expecting a little West Highland Terrier puppy on the train but he couldn’t see her anywhere. The porter being busy, and a little grumpy, just tilted his head and said, ‘over there’. My uncle looked but all he could see was a very tall pile of boxes and parcels. He walked towards it thinking the porter must have been mistaken. He looked all around on the ground, assuming that there was no way they would sit a dog box on top of this rather precarious looking pile of cargo.
Sure enough though, as he looked right up to the top of the pile he was met by, what he could just make out through the mesh grill door as, a little wet nose and two very small frightened eyes.
As he reached up, standing on the tips of his toes he was greeted by a series of excited little licks and kisses on his hand. He gently lifted her down and opened the travel case. With no hesitation at all she was straight out and into his arms. She was a brave little thing he thought to himself. Her travel case had to go back onto the train to be returned to the dog breeder who had sent her, so, up he scooped Molly into his arms wondering how on earth he was going to manage an excitable little puppy in a car on his own as he had to drive the 100 miles to our home in Newry, Northern Ireland.
It was a week or two before Christmas and it really did feel like Christmas was about to come early. Looking back, there was so much nervous energy and excitement in our house that evening that I cannot think of a worse environment to bring an already excitable little puppy into.
Meanwhile, my uncle Bill had taken Molly to ‘take care of a little bit of business’ before the car journey began, in order to avoid any mishaps. They climbed into the car together and as he was deciding what was the best thing to do with her to ensure they were both safe during the trip, Molly made the decision for them; she simply snuggled into his lap, fell asleep and remained there for the entirety of the journey.
There was no such relaxed atmosphere amongst myself and my siblings – preparations needed to be made. Food and drinking bowls needed to be put out, the dog bed needed to be plumped like a pillow, nice and comfy and squishy, newspapers had to be laid on the kitchen floor in case of any accidents! So much to do, so much to get excited about!
Just when we thought we would just about collapse from nervous exhaustion we heard a car horn outside and so began a sudden scrambling to get to the door, energy levels suddenly sky-rocketing once again. My poor mother – try as she might – she just couldn’t calm us.
In came my uncle to our house, seemingly empty handed, the feeling of disappointment was palpable. “Now you all need to keep nice and calm and speak in quiet voices so as not to frighten Molly.” We would have done anything just to see her and hold her, but where was she?
Just at that moment he opened his jacket and revealed the creature that was to become our constant companion and ultimately the ruler of our household for many years to come.
I have such happy memories of Molly, far too many to list here. There were other dogs that followed, all of them descendants of Molly’s through the years. I remember how much joy and happiness and comfort Molly and her daughter and granddaughter gave me and my family. All they ever wanted was to love us, and for us to give them a little loving and attention in return.
Having spent an afternoon reminiscing about Molly I got to thinking about all of you and those extra members of your family that you love and adore and call your pets. At Christmas we should remember how much they give to us throughout the year, so we should give them a little something back. Here are my top suggestions for gifts for the dogs, cats and pets of all varieties that we all love so much.
The Richard Ward Pet Angel detangling brush – infused with anti-bacterial additives it gently coaxes the knots and tangles out of their coats
Millington’s edible dog Christmas cards pack of 3 – three cards in fun, festive designs. Let the dogs get in on the festive fun. All natural, 100% rawhide, natural food colouring
Carole Hochman micro fleece pet jacket – featuring an all over festive print, this is the perfect jacket for keeping your furry friend warm
Dog-e-Glow lighted glow and flash LED dog collar – high quality and weather resistant. Be safe, be seen. Make sure your dog is always able to be seen, whether walking near the road or in a park or field. Visible for over 300mtrs (1,000ft)
Mikki reversible magic pet bed for cats and dogs – made from luxurious long plush, this reversible design can be used as a flat cushion or a cosy snoozer bed
PS: On Saturday 13th December, Julia and I will be hosting the final Saturday Night Show for 2014 and we will be joined by a whole host of guests including one of the stars of our Christmas promotion, Queenie, the pug!
Don’t miss it!