Tots 100 & Swell UK are asking bloggers to tell them about their pets for the chance to win £500 to spend on them and I thought this would be an excellent excuse to introduce you to our two very different dogs, who rather uniquely were born on opposite sides of the globe.
Macy is our Canadian Prairie Dog and was born on a farm in Southern Alberta. Although we are unsure of her genetic make-up she looks like a lot of Canadian cross-breed dogs, with her large build and thick coat. We collected her on a very cold April morning from a barn near Strathmore, where she was living with horses and her two brothers. It was several degrees below zero, but she and all the animals who lived on the farm were completely unphased by the temperature. To this day she still loves the cold.
On the way home we discussed what to call her as she squirmed on a blanket on my lap in the back of the car. Flicking between radio frequencies we found a jazz station and suddenly and instantly she calmed. “That’s it we said, we’ll name her after whoever this is.” Typically the DJ went straight to the next record “Ok, whoever they mention next!” The song finished and they started talking about a jazz musician doing a local gig. He was called Macy O’Parker and so that was it. The name stuck.
Fifteen months after Macy became ours, we were on the move again and she came too. Boarding a flight from Calgary to Cyprus via Germany. The cost of the flights, the paperwork, the vaccines, overnight accommodation and transport to and from the airport (a 6 hour round trip in Canada) was staggering, but all part of what forces families do to try and cling on to a feeling of normality.
Macy our snow-loving prairie dog arrived in Cyprus in August and was not impressed. With new jobs and a new home, our routines changed and we found ourselves away from the house for longer periods during the day. She was hot and bored and she let us know by taking it out on our possessions. The final straw came when she chewed a hole right through the centre of a newly completed quilt! What to do? The answer was obvious to us, though perhaps not to everyone. Get her a companion…
So along came Bella. A tiny skittish waif of a dog who had been found abandoned at the side of the road and had been taken in hungry and terrified by a rescue shelter. We agreed to trial her for a week and for six of those seven days she did very little except sleep and run away from things. Then on day seven she suddenly relaxed and started to play.
It was a long journey teaching Bella that her new home was safe and 18 months later we were posted by the military again. Unlike Macy, she did not take a long flight to the UK in her stride, emerging from Gatwick pet transport looking utterly terrified whilst Macy merely sniffed the air and looked at us as if to say “Oh, another country?”
But three years on (and another house move, this time thankfully by car) Bella is a dog transformed having grown enormously in confidence by hanging out with a larger and more self-assured animal.
Being a Beagle-cross she is of course terribly naughty and loves nothing more than raiding bins, stealing anything edible and running off after prey, but she’s a massive character and we’d never be without her. True to her Cypriot roots she loves hot temperatures as much as Macy enjoys the cold and so in winter Macy will sit on our patio watching the stars whilst Bella curls up by the radiator inside and in summer Bella will lie stretched out in the sun whilst Macy slopes off to the garage for a doze.
These two unlikely companions have seen the world between them and been on incredible adventures. They have run with cattle across the Canadian prairies, swum with turtles in the Meditarranean and scampered through the ruins of snow covered Scottish castles. If they were humans they’d be propping up a bar with a pint in their hands and telling another of their tales, whilst the other drinkers rolled their eyes and said “Oh no, not another shaggy dog story!”
This post is an entry into the Tots100/Swell UK competition.