So New Year’s Eve 2017 is Callie’s official Gotcha Day. We’d wanted a dog earlier that year. If I remember, the hunt started in September, and the initial idea was to get a family-friendly rescue dog. The problem with that scenario so does everyone else. Our local Dog Trust centre told us that such dogs are put up on the website in the morning and then there’s a queue for them when the centre opens at 11 am! It was a pretty emotionally exhausting search, so by the start of Christmas 2017, I put my foot down and said no more searching until the second week of 2018. Of course, no one listens to me, and on New Year’s Eve, our Evie had seen Callie advertised locally, and just before tea, we were off to see her. Just to have a look, even if we like her, we sleep on it. Right? Wrong, everyone falls in love with this black and white pup, and an hour later, I’m at home looking after her as Rach goes off to do a night shift at the hospital.

Callie on Gotcha Day, New Year’s Eve 2018

Callie is a Sprolie, which is half Border Collie and half Springer Spaniel. Oh, and Callie’s Spaniel mother is half whippet, to add to the “hey look at the fat middle-aged man run after his dog rapidly disappearing” fun on walks. It’s a very energetic breed, which is better suited to being a working breed, but it is popular as a family pet due to its good nature. My dad, raised in the Norfolk countryside, had two Border Collies when I was growing up. There’s a picture of me as a babe, the first one who decided to go and live in another home when my dad went abroad with work, and we had a second called Tinker, which was given up to the RPSCA when my mother fell pregnant with my brother when I was eight. Since in those days, if they couldn’t rehome the dog within two weeks, they put Tinker down. I was there when my mum took the phone call from the RSPCA and refused to have him back. I understood why we couldn’t keep the dog (it needed long walks), but I was devastated. I was quite a lonely child, and this dog was my best friend and who was always pleased to see me no matter how rough my day had been at school. So when we drove home with Callie on my lap, I wept big man tears (until Rachel dug me in the ribs) thinking, I’ve got my dog back.

The happy hound on its walk in the fields, waiting for the ball to be thrown.

Even though I’m the main owner, because I’m around all day and walk and feed her, she’s very much a family dog and is happiest when we are all here. She’s noticeably downbeat when everyone leaves for school/work in the morning and greets them all when they return in the evening. Quite often, she will disappear to spend time with each of the children and Rachel during the evening. So she’s not clingy to me unless its an imminent walk or scheduled feed time 🙂 We can leave her on her own. She just goes upstairs and has a kip. I joked when we were struggling to get a dog that it would be just perfect for our family when we finally found one, and she is.

The last four years have been an adventure with her. She’s very active and needs a good two-kilometre walk, once or twice a day, regular social interaction (which she gets from the family and my Mother-in-Law across the road) and playing with for mental stimulation. But it’s all fun, and working from home as I do easy enough to fit in most days. We only have difficulty when it’s blowing a gale and raining constantly, and she sits by the window looking mournful. She understands, though, and we give her a bit more hugs, playing indoor with toys. The day after, when we can get out, all that pent up energy goes whooooooooooooooosh round the park. If she needs a break from us, or we are away for a full day or holiday, we are very fortunate that she can go and stay with her Auntie T, the local lady who raised her as a pup, and her mum, dad and sister (from a latter litter) plus the rest of the pack.

So happy Gotcha Day our Callie 🙂

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