We are proud to be working with Sally who is also from the UK. In addition to being a fantastic writer, Sally has been a dog owner for decades and currently has four fantastic pups. As such, Sally has a wealth of knowledge and experience caring for dogs of various breeds. In her own words…
My interest in dogs has been almost – not quite – life-long. My first encounter with a dog was as a child of four out alone with a new dollies’ pushchair. The dog, a young, lively chap, stood as high as my shoulders and I fled, abandoning pushchair to its fate. However, I soon befriended dogs: neighbours’ dogs, friends’ dogs – and cherish the memories of four darling cocker spaniels, who with their owner became lifelong pals.
My first dog was a wonderfully handsome tricolour collie, Gwilym, brought back from Wales by a Welsh friend to help me to recover from agoraphobia. We both trained him in Welsh and he had the distinction of being bilingually disobedient, but loyal, protective and my greatest friend.
He was later joined by Emily, a collie-spaniel cross of small stature but big personality and a talent for drama that merited an Oscar. There followed Mufti, a beardie cross rescued from the streets of Birmingham. I inherited him after lovely friends both died, and as he was already an elderly gentleman himself, he was with Emily and me for just over a year. Elizabeth, my lurcher, arrived, a nervous pup. She never came to terms with dogs other than the ones who shared her home, but she was a dear, gentle creature who made an excellent companion for small children.
About a year after Emily died, I introduced the first of my current four border collies, Tamsin, now well over eleven. On Elizabeth’s death, a very unhappy Tamsin cheered up on the arrival of collie pup Ishbel, now rising three, and two years later, Ishbel’s nephew Ruari, now one. Like my first collie, Ruari is a dashing tricolour, a Lothario of a dog, romantic, majestic, heartbreakingly handsome. And so, with another male collie, the circle should close, but I fell for a third collie from the same farm after seeing a photo of her balancing with spindly little legs on a haystack. At six months, she is still diminutive: the smallest of the litter, though to call her “the runt” would be an outrage to Dogdom. Here is one healthy, feisty character, gentle and affectionate in play but one hell of an alligator when food is around. Makes her descent on it decidedly snappy.
Over the years, dogs have clocked up vet’s bills, attended training, rally and agility, chased a ball on the hillsides and run rings around their owner, now a middle-aged woman who has sworn to stay eternally young for their sakes.