We have another addition to the family…gorgeous Gus


GusI have an announcement to make – let me introduce the most delicious scrumptious new member of our family…Augustus or Gus. Can you believe him or indeed it?!

I know, I know, I know, it'll be madness and mayhem and yes, I know I've just paid a fortune for my beautiful curtains and the house is nearly done.

But when Joe cried big wet tears on Dan’s birthday because he missed Mungo so, my heart just twanged and all the negative thoughts, negative conversations and all round negativity about having a puppy just dissipated and I knew that this family needed a dog again.

Gus 2Timing, luck, fate call it what you will but it just so happened that a wonderful Labrador locally had recently had a litter of nine. Dan and I visited and well, it was a given (what a surprise!). Jessie the mummy was so lovely, relaxed and calm and so accepting of kisses and strokes from Tom even when she was trying to have a well deserved rest from her two-week-old teeny, squeaky baby seals (well that's what they look like to me!).

Dan and I were allowed to peep through the window and Jessie's owner chatted with us to I guess ensure we were suitable prospective parents! Luckily she didn't interview the children!

The end result is that we have now introduced Gus to Maddie, Tom and Joe and we are all utterly smitten and are receiving adorable pictures of him and little updates as we patiently wait for July when he will be ours.

Naming him was actually easier than I had anticipated. Maddie and I were bandying around Biscuit, Caramel, Poppet etc etc (you can sense these didn't quite fit with Dan's image of his boy).

So after thinking more down the Roman, Greek, Biblical route, one evening Dan woke and pronounced Augustus to be a fine name for a boy and thinking of mine and Maddie’s pets names so far - Twinkle our cat and remember Petal, Leaf,  Flo and Elsie and Sparkle our first chickens - I'm guessing calling ‘Gus’ from across the fields feels a little safer for Dan! Maddie on the other hand was distraught and took a couple of days to settle in to it, though I'm now happy to report she's happy too!

It's been some time since we've been responsible for such a tiny thing, as Mungolina ( yes I named her not Dan!) was 14 and a half when she died, so a learning curve is ahead of us.

He comes from an incredible line, his mummy and daddy are super gun dogs, so whilst training will be a necessity, I'm hoping it'll be in his blood and he'll adapt to our busy loving family with ease. We are  all looking forward to loving him and in doing so remembering our special girl Mungo. You know it didn't feel right to have a black lab this time so we thought we'd go blonde!  And in fact Gus and I seem to share the same colour hair dye – warm blonde!

So.any top tips and advice will be most well received and I hope you're as pleased for us as we are. Oh, and any ‘are you mad?’ comments will be erased! Just so I can stay in this zone of delight and anticipation at least for a little while longer…

Lots of love from,
Dan, Claire, Tom, Joe, Maddie and Augustus Xxxxxxxxxxx


  1. Rosie July 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, we brought up our two children with dogs and truely believe that it gives them a better, more rounded outlook on life and a respect for other people and animals. We now have grandchildren who started life around our dogs, and having lost our last two furry friends,( suddenly and 9 weeks apart) we have decided that we are ready to get another dog. We wish you and your family many years of fun, lots of love and adventures.
    Best Wishes to all,
    Rosie in Scotland

  2. angela white July 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm -  Reply

    hi claire,is gus cute or what! we had a choc lab called toby for 14years and labs really are great dogs we havent got children but he was so gentle when we were out on walks and met children!you wanted some advice well if they go quiet their up to no good! as our floor and door frame can justify! dont leave shoes,socks or handbags about and if you have a coffee table move cups and saucers cos their tails have minds of their own!!!!!!!!!!! we said if we had another lab it would be a golden one as another chocolate would be a reminder of toby and he was unique! goood luck and im sure he will be a joy to you all xx

  3. Joanna Downey July 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire, He’s lush and you are most definitely NOT mad! You wrote that you knew that your family needed a dog again and your children will have a wonderful time with him as they all grow up together. My glorious grandmother always had blonde labs and I spent a lot of my school holidays and weekends with her and I loved being a “temporary” dog owner. He won’t wreck your home because you won’t let him and he’ll just be a source of fun, joy and love. I would really like to have a dog but Col says that having one would make it difficult to go away spontaneously! He doesn’t answer when I say that two cats and a rabbit are just as much of a responsibility… I think it’s because a dog once chased him when he was running but, of course, I wouldn’t ever voice that thought to him. Mungo will be with you forever and Gus won’t replace her but will start a new chapter. Love his name too!
    Love from Jo x

  4. Linda July 5, 2012 at 11:09 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire congraulations to you and your family on going ahead with a new puppy. We waited over 3 years to get another our golden retriever was 13 when he died. I never really could come to terms with his passing. Always knew deep down we would have another, and February this year we finally brought our new puppy
    home. Yes we got another golden retriever, but he will never replace our other one,and we never compare him to Olly. But he has brought new joy to our lives. His name his Radley and we love him so much. What a lovely name you have decided on. Love to you all Linda xx

  5. Kay Salisbury July 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm -  Reply

    Well done for getting rid of the awful emptiness-17months since our Sisco left us and I had a day last week when he was on my mind all day and I felt I was going MAD!!!!!!! I am just not in the right situation at the moment for a puppy-hoping to move in the next 2 years and granchildren with me each day-so I shall wait—but it will happen one day-name already decided but not the breed.You are young and lively so you go for it girl and watch the children grow up and mature with your new pet. How lovely—-love the name.”I want one NOW!!!!!”—NO I DON’T—-YES I DO!!!!! MORE PICTURES PLEASE? ASAP. All the best. Love K.XXX

  6. Sue Kemp July 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    How lovely for you and the family to have a new puppy! I am sure he will settle in well and bring you lots of love Mungo can never be replaced but a house is so empty without them . It will be hard work as its a long time since you had a pup but it will be worth it, and good you are having him in the so called better weather.
    All good wishes to you.

  7. Debi Stubbs July 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire congratulations on your new addition he is such a cutie, now for all the hard work. I know what hard work they are we have a black lab ‘monty’ who is 12, we have had him since he was 9 weeks old , he is getting old and creaky now but when he was younger he was into everything , there was this time I came back from work and he had been through the ironing basket there was clothes every where but I could not tell him off because he was sitting there with a pair of mr frilly knickers hanging off his ear!
    Take care

  8. Jeanette July 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire congratulatins on getting Gus. What a joy and delight dogs are. We waited 2 months after our last dog died before getting another retriever who is now eight and he brings alot of joy to our family so i don’t think you are mad at all. The only advice i would give is start as you mean to go on and do not give treats from the table as labs and retrievers are well known for greediness. After you lose a dog you wonder about getting another one but i think it helps as Gus will not replace Mungo but in time you can look back at photos and not feel as sad and all dogs have differnt personalities and bring new things. So enjoy him . Also i was going to ask a hair question iam 44 and just decided to grow my hair (much to my daugthers’ delight )your hair always looks fantastic what Qvc products do you use ? I have just bought the huge size of Philip Kingsley Elastizer, also what colour do you use ? as i am similar colouring to you and been having highlights which has dried my hair out and i am now thinking of doing an all over colour instead- may help with a few greys creeping through!
    love Jeanette x

  9. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:13 am -  Reply

    Rosie, oh I wish you too the lovely time we’re experiencing of excitement and anticipation!! Count down to having Gus for our very own. Thank you for your message, let me know when you have a furry one with you too,
    Love Claire x

  10. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:18 am -  Reply

    Oh Angela, I know I’ve started warning the children, who it has to be said have the awful habit of shedding all they wear and own onto….the floor!!! So fast forward to the tears when Gus has sucked, chewed, or demolished their precious things……THEY HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!
    I felt the same as you re Toby and going blonde not choc….
    Lots of love Claire xx

  11. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Jo, exactly! Re the chickens and Twinkle tie already…we threw that one in the mix too, but what with the children’s busy lives there’s not a lot of time for spontaneous escapes for Dan and I just at the mo…so here we are! Very excited and kissing the picture of Gus every time I see it!!
    OH and I raised some of the things you had mentioned in your letter when I took Tom on Friday to his new school for another visit and to meet his newly appointed male LSA..I was really pleased with the responses I received and am looking forward to Tom spending 2 weeks in the holiday socialising with other more vulnerable newbies…can you believe they’re all off to see Stomp in the west end….how jealous am I!
    So…so far..so good,

  12. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:28 am -  Reply

    Hello Kay, you made me laugh…totally where we were up to and then……..so WATCH OUT! One weeny weak moment and I really know what you meant when you said about Sisco, after we had committed to having Gus, I drove in to work a few days later and had a few tears, in fact as I type they’re on their way again….my gentle girl sleeping on my feet…no more. But,a soft teeny boy nibbling my slippers will I’m sure make me smile loads and loads,
    Love C x

  13. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:30 am -  Reply

    Radley is such a super name, I hope you’re enjoying him which I’m sure you are, especially after waiting for 3 years after Olly,
    I shall keep you updated and thank you ever so much for loving our name choice too!!
    Lots of love,
    Claire x

  14. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:33 am -  Reply

    Yo’ud think that this would be the best time wouldn’t you? But I’ve just heard that the rain we’ve had is set to continue!!! Mind you for the first weeks at least he’ll be safe and snugly in doors except for the wee wee moments…of which they’ll be many!!!
    Oooooh you’re so right hard work but with huge reward…can’t wait,
    Love to you,
    Claire x

  15. Claire Sutton July 9, 2012 at 11:36 am -  Reply

    debi….I laughed and laughed!!! I hope you had a camera close by…though those images are imprinted aren’t they forever in your memories,
    My question is was it the done ironing….or not!!
    Stair gates I feel may be dusted off and situated like little barriers around the house!!!
    Still smiling!
    Claire xx

  16. SHEILA BLACK July 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations on your new family member. I am onto my fourth Labrador in 30 years of owning this breed and they give you nothing but love. My last dog came from a neighbour as well, even though I had vowed “No more dogs”. They pick you when the time is right. Your new journey begins, enjoy him every day of his life.
    Sheila x

  17. Marion Madden July 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm -  Reply

    He is gorgeous and it is wonderful you have decided to share your lives with a dog again. Many people say, when a beloved pet dies, that they will never have another. I always think that is a mistake. Of course we are upset to lose anybody that is dear to us but I don’t think worrying about or being scared about being upset is a reason not to enjoy the company of a pet. We have always had pets in our family and at present have a huge, black, long haired German Shepherd called Nell. She is 8 now. She srops her hair all over the place, gets very muddy and wet the first opportunity she gets but you cannot be too precious about your home when you have dogs and animals I hope you have many many years of hppiness with your new family member and look forward to reading about his progress.

  18. Kristina Moore July 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire, you lucky family. I only ever have an occasional dog for a few visits whilst on holiday on Scilly. A lady who owns the stone shop on St Marys has a gorgeous black lab called Archie who often ends up lying down for a good stroke. I end up taking root and thoroughly enjoying myself. I would love a dog but I haven’t got the money so I am a rather nice shade of pea at the moment having read this blog. I love the name Augustus/Gus too. I am sure that the children will be good and put everything away if they want to keep it. If not at least they know where it went. I hope you all have many years of happy times and adventures with your lovely Gus.
    Tina X0X0X0X0X0 Pats to Gus

  19. Christine July 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm -  Reply

    Gus is beautiful, we lost our westie last year age 12yrs. I was terrible to loss him. It is an empty feeling like a loss in the family. We are in early our 60s so we thought we are to old. So got another westie last year it is hard work, but worth it. So I am sure he will be looked after well by the kids. Good Luck Claire

  20. Jennifer Austin July 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    He looks adorable. What a loving home he has gone to!
    Wishing you lots of fun and happiness together.
    Have always admired you Claire. Well done!
    Kindest regards
    Jennifer X

  21. Lynn Hind July 14, 2012 at 3:06 am -  Reply

    gus looks totally …gorg!! well you been you youll be firm with him and youll tell him off ..hell look at you with soft brown eyes and youll melt lol lol, hell bring a new joy to the house am sure,the stair gates sound like a very good idea hunny
    enjoy the new addition when he arrives also, a friend of mine breeds lab’s and she swears by putting an old fashioned alarm clock that ticks in a bag under the pups blanket when they first leave mum, apparantly, it mimics the mums heartbeat and soothes them when they are on their own for the first time away from their mum and the other members of the litter, worth a try in case he gets stressed and frightened for the first few days of a new place he doesnt know god love him :)
    lynn x

  22. Sylvia July 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Your wee puppy is so beautiful. I lost my poodle who I had for 15years and how I missed him. My husband and I decided to get 2 dogs this time, we have had them for 2 years now and I wouldn’t be without them. It does take a wee while to adjust and the puppy training of course! But the end result is worthwhile. I know you will miss Mungo but I know you and your children will be a great family to this lucky wee dog.
    Take care Claire x

  23. Susan July 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    Baby Gus is beautiful! Have you got hime yet? I cannot wait to hear how he settles in and how you all have such fun with him. Soo glad you’ve gone for him. I know how much a dog adds to your life and how much you loved Mungo. Here’s to a many happy year ahead!!
    Love Susan x

  24. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:26 am -  Reply

    Susan, morning….no more sleeps….we collect him later!! I’ll take lovely pics…we are all soooo excited,
    Love Claire xxxx

  25. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:41 am -  Reply

    Sylvia hello, gosh 2 puppies….now that sounds another ball game altogether!! last night I spent time explaining….again to the children that leaving anything around is not safe..not only for the shoes…toys etc etc, but for gus too, we have to be tidy for his sake!!!! wish us luck xx

  26. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:46 am -  Reply

    Lyn, alarm clock it is. I’ve left a fleece with them so it smells comforting too and a little cardboard box within the cage so it feels little and snug. Tried to explain to Maddie that he will cry. Oh golly, heart strings prepare to be tugged!!!! xxx

  27. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:47 am -  Reply

    Christine , Jennifer, thank you both so much for writing I shall write up our antics in the next few days..with love Claire xxx

  28. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:48 am -  Reply

    Sheila, here’s to the journey!! x

  29. claire sutton July 24, 2012 at 7:52 am -  Reply

    Jeanette, I have’nt forgotten you, I keep meaning to write the colour on the box. I’ll remember with my next update , re hair colour… actually it should be called gus colour!!! Simon has been giving me top tips re boy dogs, so I’ll see if we can begin well, much love and wack on the elastercisor it’s fab, xxxx

  30. Susan August 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Cliaire,
    I cannot wait to see the pics of you all with gorgeous Gus! I hope he hasn’t made a mess so far…but let’s face it…he’s a pup lol.
    Excited to see more pics,
    Susan x

  31. claire sutton August 9, 2012 at 9:33 am -  Reply

    Susan, about to blog, stay tuned!! xx

  32. Sian August 29, 2012 at 8:26 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    I was always the one that said no to having a puppy, only because I didn’t want my children to become upset when things go wrong. However, 1 day whilst looking on the internet I said I’ve found our puppy. To am amazed husband and children I showed them the picture and went to see the pup and parents the following day. Our stunning white/red staffy pup came home with us 10 days later. We have always had a saying “whats on the floor belongs to Teegan”.
    It is a wonderful experience watching your children bond with a pet, its amazing how they can also tell from the barks what she wants.

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