27 Jun 2022

Parenting column: We got tipsy and decided to expand our little family...

It's Just A Phase parenting column with Ruth Chambers

Parenting column: We got tipsy and decided to expand our little family...

Our new addition - Dessie the Bichon Frise

He wasn’t a Christmas present, he just happened to come of age in December. I’m talking about the new, and final I might add, addition to the Chambers family. Ladies and gents, let me tell you all about Dessie.

He’s snow white and oh-so-fluffy. He’s 16 weeks old, originally from Northern Ireland and is little brother to Aidan, Sarah and Seamus. I’m talking about the new Bichon Frise puppy that joined our family last week; the second bichon to do so in just over a year.

One Friday night recently, myself and Daddy Chambers were sitting by the fire enjoying a glass or two of vino. Two turned in to three and, well, you don’t need me to explain further. Himself, or maybe it was the alcohol talking, asked me if I’d like to have any more children. I jumped at the chance. Except human babies was not exactly what I was thinking about. Fur babies are way more my kind of thing these days.

In his drunken state, Daddy Chambers agreed to let me add to the family and I was only too delighted.

As it happened, the breeder we got Seamus from happened to have another litter of puppies that were almost ready to be sold. I asked her to stick my name down for one of them, preferably a little boy, and fast forward a few weeks and that little boy is now a part of our family.

Most people think we are daft for adding a second dog to the family, but I totally and utterly disagree. Yes, I’m busy what with looking after my own kids, somebody else’s kid, volunteering with the GAA club and everything else that’s going on but, in my opinion, you can’t have enough wee bichons in your life.

Before we ever had a bichon I wasn’t a lover of small dogs. I much preferred what I termed as ‘real dogs’; and the bigger the better. However, when we were toying with the idea of getting a dog last year, all the research led me to choose a bichon. The don’t shed, are very affectionate and most importantly, are very good with children. They ticked all the boxes.

Seamus, who we got as a nine month old at Halloween last year, lived up to all those expectations and more. He’s the most gentle soul you could ever meet. The kids could literally wool the head off him and he’d just let them. He’s just so placid and so loving so I didn’t hesitate when I got the green light to add another one.

Now, I know well that there are people reading this asking why I didn’t rescue a dog. After all, there are thousands of dogs all over the country looking for their forever homes. However, there’s a few reasons why we didn’t rescue. Firstly I wanted a puppy that was reared with kids from almost day one. Secondly, I know the bichon temperament and I’m comfortable with them around Aidan and Sarah. I’m aware there are bichons in rescue centres, but nobody can truly know their history. Perhaps the poor mites were abused and as a result may have a tendency to be wicked. That’s simply not a chance I am willing to take around my children.

Rest assured, though, neither of my dogs came from puppy farms. I made sure of that. I rang the Irish Kennel Club and asked them to recommend assured breeders, which led me to a lady in Armagh. Her dogs are never advertised online on sales sites. Her dogs are thoroughly health checked by above-board vets. I saw both the mum and the dad of our two dogs, and they are healthy as proverbial trouts. My conscience is clear and I may be in the minority, but I’m sure glad I’m not bringing business the way of those filthy puppy farmers.

So, life with two dogs, two children under seven and a husband is sure busy. I’m back to toilet training, back to wiping up pee and poo, but we’ll get there. Daddy Chambers likes to remind me that if I went for a baby of the human kind, at least I would be able to put a nappy on him or her. I like to remind him that if I had a human one I couldn’t lock the baby in a crate when I went to town to do the grocery shopping!

So we’re now a family of six. A complete family, just in time for Christmas and all. So from all of us, to all of you, have a very happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you so much for reading. I will be back in early January!

Until then, folks.

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