There’s been a development in the Derry household. A little bundle of joy has arrived, bringing laughter, love and lots and lots of cleaning up. Yes this tiny, furry innocent has entered our crazy world and is leaving lots of smelly gifts for us, his own unique way of marking our home as his.
We got a puppy. And we’ve called him Sox. It happened last week as we were driving back from my sister’s house, which passes one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, Benone, a luscious spread of natural golden sand and a ruggedness that can only be seen, felt and heard in this part of the world.
The beach stretches 11 kilometres and to the east side there are cliffs on top of which stands the Mussenden Temple, which was built as a library for a local prestigious cleric in 1785.
We drove the car onto the strand and took a walk across, and despite the grey skies and the gusts of wind that blew right through us, the beach was alive with activity, with surfers, jet skiers and in one area, trainers were giving their horses exercise.
We watched a horse run majestically in a giant circle as a rider stood in the centre holding its rope. With the waves crashing behind and the sky displaying its gloriously threatening colour, the scene must have invoked in us a calling. Or simply madness.
Fear and excitement
As we left the beach, my partner had a quick look online, as he usually did, for dogs for sale in the area. After various discussions and excuses, we had agreed that we would get one at some point, but we hadn’t set out a timescale, perhaps when we had finished fixing up the new house.
But he came across an advert for puppies at a nearby farm. It was only a few miles away, and they were border-collie pups. We looked at each other and wondered, and the excitement was immediate. Fear also, of how we were going to look after a little creature with our working lives.
So we decided to have a look.
It was the touch of insanity that most people experience when they see babies of any description — the tiny things are supposed to elicit feelings of care and heart-melting love — so that you’ll look after them and effectively keep them alive so they too can become adults.
Lots of cuddles, lots of cleaning
Well this insanity walloped us like a punch to the head when we arrived at the farm and saw two puppies struggle to climb out of their beds to play with the other grown-up dogs. The fur balls were adorable, one was white with little black patches and the other was black with little white patches. There had been five puppies altogether, the farmer told us, but the others had been snapped up, especially the female, for breeding perhaps. So we had the difficult choice of little black or white. I could have taken both of them but there was no way we could have managed that.
So we took home little Sox. He’s black with little white patches and four little white paws, hence the name. He’s a poop machine, but a cute one, and we fully intend on training him to use the toilet like an adult. Well, one can hope. In the meantime there’s lots of cuddles and lots of cleaning in the household and our lives have certainly changed with this new addition. I haven’t had a puppy since I was a child, and hopefully he’ll have a much happier, longer and fuller life with us as his owners. I’ll keep you up to date on the pup’s progress. I’m off to clean up another mess.
Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.