It all started about two years ago with a family discussion. Should we get a dog? A Simple question, with a very … very lengthy answer. Our kids, Jacob (15) Grace (12) and William (9), of course immediately said YES!!! Simple... But what about walking, holidays, the cost, fur removal, where would he/she sleep and the dreaded poo handling situation!! Be very clear, this is a FAMILY dog and we ALL have to be involved!!
Eventually, and slowly the search began about four months ago. Quite early on we decided that we didn't want a "breed for purpose" puppy from goodness knows where or off of the internet. Horror stories aside it just felt a bit better to give a dog a second chance, so we began looking at some homes. We had been searching for a long time to find a suitable mutt. Nothing nasty, hairy, problematic, tall, short, smelly... we soon realised that we were falling in love with just about every dog we saw on the internet! When we did see a couple we really liked we were inevitably too late and they had already found homes. Hunting high and low, via web sites and some desperately sad visits to the various dog homes had at times proved a bit too much. Never the less we carried on.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, I pestered everyone to get in the car one last time. A Lady I had spoken with had suggested the Kenilworth Dogs Trust centre as a good place to visit. "Come on" I said "it's just down the road", I did, of course mean an hour... Amid groans we set off. What a pleasure. The building was great. Nice, modern, spacious, and groaning with people. We had a look around, filled in the forms and were just about to leave empty handed again when Emma approached us. She was Brilliant! "Just give me a moment" she said as she quickly finished off doing whatever she was doing. "Now, how can I help?" She answered all of our questions, and queried who we were, why, how old, work, leaving the dog alone, what we wanted. She listened to us all giving our reasons and opinions, then said "Hang on I think I have a dog that could be good..." She was off...
Two minutes later, we were being spoken to about a boy dog, Black Lab x Collie, lovely nature "been here a few days so he needs to have his final sign off but he's a delight. Came in from Ireland, would you like to meet him?" I, of course, said yes, the kids said yes, Kara my wife was a bit hesitant. "I don't want a black, boy, Labrador dog..." - Everything that was being offered. In any case we were now en-route to see the individual!
Ta Dahhhh! Bounding about he was delighted to see someone. Wagging his backside off he was all around us. No barking, no jumping, just genuine excitement. We had a long chat with Emma who had all the time we needed. I looked at the family, they looked at me, we all looked at Murphy... it was a done deal!!! He was called Alec but Emma said he has no attachment to this name so changing it was no problem. Three days of arguments and a fair few "constructive discussions" followed, resulting in us as a family narrowing it down to just Irish names. Hence Murphy was chosen!
We signed up there and then! A week went by and it was time to collect our new family member. With trepidation we collected him on a Friday. Fully expecting carnage, no house training, and a bit more carnage - we took him home.
Here's the good bit… Every single thing Emma had said as part of the assessment came true. Once he settled (which took just 1 day!), he became the perfect pooch – and he has been brilliant ever since. No problems with house training, his temperament is fantastic, he is a proper soppy unconditionally loving dog. Yes, he has a taste for the occasional TV remote control (we lost one completely and the others have suspicious chew marks on them) and yes, he will succumb to his natural urge to eat anything we leave laying around for him (half a pack of butter and an iced bun most recently) - but that was our fault not his. He also looked really, really guilty afterwards..."I'm sorry, that was bad wasn't it!!".
He now runs with me a couple of times a week, knows "sit", "down", comes back to his name, loves his ball and flinger to play "fetch" with, and most of all loves lounging about on his special bed in the living room having his tummy tickled of course! It's only been a month but we really can't imagine not having him about. He follows us about everywhere (including room to room at home) and has not once caused us a problem!
The change within our family has also been dramatic. We all have doggy jobs to perform and no-one complains. We walk lots as a family and chat as we are doing so, even without the now apparent "essential" enhancement of an IPod!! We are outside more than we are in (including when it snowed!!) and we all take turns with poo bags. Unbelievable!!
Murphy has been on holiday to the beach in South Wales and comes everywhere with us. He truly is a credit to the Dogs Trust and the canine world.
I just wanted to write our story so far. We can't believe our luck in finding Murphy and credit Dogs Trust with this - as their assessment procedure, staff training and general processes clearly work!
Please pass on our thanks to Emma and the team at Dogs Trust Kenilworth!
The Aldcroft Family (and Murphy!)