I was six months pregnant when I brought Bertie home (and that was my first mistake). He had appeared on an online selling site, and someone had commented on his advert with a photo of two Staffordshire Bull Terriers fighting as their profile picture and page header. I fell in love and I couldn’t bear to think what could happen to him. Husband reluctantly agreed, although he later informed me it was because my mind was already made up, and I took my mum and my sister to go and collect him. When we met him he was really noisy, but surely most dogs are, and he allowed me – a complete stranger – to take a treat out of his mouth, with no reaction at all. My mind was made up: I had to have him. We discovered he had had three homes prior to mine, and he was only 18 months old. He had been constantly crated and had never been properly walked. From some of his behaviours, it was also clear he had been neglected and, unfortunately, he had been struck. The whole way home he sat on my parcel shelf and cried, but we thought he would settle as soon as he realised that we would be his forever home.
He was awful. He was badly behaved: he was unsociable with both animals and people, he fought everyone for the dominant position, he was amorous, he destroyed the house, he wasn’t toilet trained, he had horrendous separation anxiety and, one time, he weed on my pillow. I couldn’t cope. I was in floods of tears at least twice a day. I was told to give him time but, with a little one on the way, I had none. It caused argument after argument with husband, and we nearly separated. The only thing that made me keep him was that I couldn’t let him go to yet another home.
And then it happened.
He suddenly realised he was my dog forever. He became an absolute pleasure to walk and great company in the evening when I was alone. He was loyal, he was affectionate and he was gentle. I couldn’t believe the change in him. Although I had struggled at the beginning, he was amazing and became my best friend. Even more fantastically, I gave birth to Little R and he doted on her from the beginning. She adores him and he tolerates her.
Don’t get me wrong, he is by no means perfect. He is a Basset Hound: naughty, stubborn, smelly and, more often than not, completely bone idle, with the worst recall I have seen in any dog. But he is a privilege to live with and most definitely my best friend.