The Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet…

Puppy toy
Picture by Jonathan, cc by-nc-nd 2.0 

If you know a little of my and Merryn’s story, perhaps from reading Resurrection Year, you’ll know that for many years now there’s been something missing in our lives. An unmet longing. A space in our hearts we couldn’t fill. Well, Merryn and I have some news to share. After all these years of waiting and praying, wondering if it would ever happen, that missing something has come. Merryn and I are having…

… a puppy!

After twenty years’ wait, we brought our bundle of joy home on the weekend. Here are some pics of our first few days together. But a warning: the video at the end will bust your cuteometer.

Joy is a Cockapoo on Your Lap

Rupert Coming Home from the Farm

I celebrated a birthday last Friday. Over a nice dinner out, Merryn said she had plans for something special the following day. Saturday came and we were soon driving through the rolling fields of Oxfordshire. We pulled up at a farm. Maybe Merryn was taking me horse riding? We walked into the house. There in the kitchen we found a pen holding three Cockapoo pups. Who thought crossing a Poodle with a Cocker Spaniel could produce this level of gorgeousness? Forget the horse ride, gimme one of them things!

One pup had apricot fur and was the life of the party. Another was pitch black and playfully bit my fingers. The third was black with apricot feet, chest and beard, and very affectionate. When I picked him up he nuzzled into my neck. I didn’t stand a chance.

Rupert Looking up at Sheridan

Our bundle of joy is all of eleven weeks old. When we brought him home his fluffy little feet slid on the tiles, making it hard for him to stand. That meant lots of cuddles instead. But he’s come a long way in a few days. Now the smallest act is an opportunity for a game – walking to the kitchen, tying one’s shoes. And after a game comes a nap.

It’s taken just one sleepless night (so far) to get him settled in his bed. After only one two three four mishaps (so far) he now knows where all ablutions are to be done. This is one clever dog. 

The problem is, I’m not getting any work done.

Rupert and Sheridan on Couch

And His Name?

There’s a scene in Resurrection Year where Merryn and I sit on our couch eating a box of chocolates having a difficult conversation. Here’s how it goes:

‘Do you think,’ she says, a few tissues later, ‘we should consider adopting here?’

‘And start the process all over again?’ I say. ‘The stressful application, the lengthy wait? We’ve made so much progress. I don’t think I can face all that again.’

‘No,’ Merryn says with a sigh. ‘I probably can’t either.’ I hold her again and we each take another chocolate.

‘In that case,’ she says, ‘I want something else.’


‘A puppy.’

‘Me too,’ I say, and we laugh.

‘What should we call him?’

‘It needs to be a good English name,’ I say. ‘How about Rupert?’

‘Or Reginald?’

‘And he needs to be a scruffy dog. Let’s call him Rupert Reginald McScruffy.’

Rupert Reginald McScruffy portraitThat conversation happened five years ago. Some of you have emailed me since the book came out asking if we ‘ever got the dog’. Oh we wanted to. But first we had to move homes. Then we had to fix the fence. Then our neighbour had to fix his fence. Then there was a lot of travel. 

But the wait has been longer than that. We’ve wanted a dog for twenty years, but for most of our married life have lived in no-pets-allowed apartment blocks. And there were careers to pursue and cities to move to and seas to cross and… Finally we realised there would never be a perfect time. Just go and get the darn dog. And so we did.

And now we have Rupert Reginald McScruffy.

I think you’re going to love him.

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