Welcoming Matilda: How our new pup became part of the family

Who can resist the lure of a whelping box of wriggling, plump pups? New dog owner Kelly Rose Bradford explains how she took on a snoozing bundle of fluff curled up in a basket.

Welcoming Matilda: How our new pup became part of the family

Getting a puppy was not a decision I'd taken lightly. Admittedly, I was propelled slightly by the fact my darling cat died in my arms back in October, and I was not coping well with being animal-free. But I knew that with dogs came big responsibility. 

There was the cost for starters - and not just for the puppy - I had to take into account running costs; food, vets' bills, insurance.  And then there was my family's lifestyle - could we commit to walking a dog at least twice a day? Would someone be at home with him or her most of the time? Did I have a willing friend or relative to dog-sit if I was away or out for more than a few hours?

A part of family life

And, my biggest concern as a parent, would a dog be a good pet for my son, a boisterous almost-eight-year old, or should we be looking for something more entry-level if I wanted him to be actively involved in its care -- a hamster or a guinea pig?

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought a dog is a true family pet.  It wouldn't just be mine, it wouldn't just be William's.  It would be a big part of our family life.  It would dictate where we holidayed, where we went for walks at weekends, and where we went on day trips.  And I decided that was a good thing -- especially for my son.

So decision made, I started my search for a puppy - I knew what I wanted - a West Highland terrier.  I also knew that I only wanted to purchase a puppy from a reputable source - either a licensed breeder, or a family who had decided to let their bitch have a litter, not a pet shop or unscrupulous 'puppy farmer'.

How I found Matilda

I used the Kennel Club's Find a Puppy service and found a breeder about forty miles away.  Without telling anyone of my plans, I paid the litter a visit and my heart was stolen by all five pups, three girls and two boys.   I ended up choosing one of the little girls and immediately named her Matilda.  Then the big wait ensued: she couldn't leave her mum until December 18th. Four whole weeks away. 

I tried to keep news of the puppy secret from my son, but in the end decided it would be far better for him to make regular visits to her before she came home for good.  He was smitten, and so confident yet gentle when handling her.  "Can't we take her now, mummy?" he whispered as his first visit ended all too soon.
"Not long to wait," I promised, as we put 'Tilda back in her whelping box.

And it wasn't, the four weeks flew by and before we knew it, we had a very lively, very vocal, very chewy eight week old pup rampaging through our house.  And then the fun really began...

  • Kelly's going to be writing about how Matilda is settling into the family and the adventures they have together for Ready for Ten, please feel free to leave her any tips for a new dog owner in the commentsThey would be very welcome... 


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    Ready for Ten admin

    12 January, 2011

    Congratulations Kelly and welcome to puppyhood :-) We have two black labs and they are very much a part of the family, so I know you will have years of loyal friendship ahead to look forward to.

    On the pet insurance front, unfortunately one of our dogs was diagnosed with a heart condition about 2 years ago. Her pet insurance only covered medicines up to the value of £400, and as she is on them for life (she's nearly 6), we will have to stump up for the next few years what the insurance won't cover. Getting the medication from the vets cost us around £80 every three months, but we found by asking the vet for a prescription instead, we can get them at our local (human) pharmacy for £7.00 for three months supply! It's worth asking if you ever need pet medication if it's avaiable from a pharmacy or online.

    We have now cancelled her insurance and put the money we would have paid in premiums into a separate bank account, in case she needs further vetinary care in the future. I would suggest you look carefully at what is covered and what is not before committing to insurance.

    Good luck,

    Ready for Ten Team

  • Linda


    Linda Jones, Editor

    12 January, 2011

    Hi Kelly and thanks for doing these posts, am looking forward to following your lead -- following your lead, see? Leigh thanks for advice re pet insurance, as another new dog owner I also need realistic advice like that! x

  • Maggie


    Maggie Christie

    15 January, 2011

    Hi Kelly, we've just got a new puppy too as a companion to our older rescue dog, so I'm looking forward to reading your posts. Mine's a Miniature Schnauzer cross - so also a terrier and similar in size. I can't wait to hear more about Matilda!

  • Krb


    Kelly Rose Bradford

    15 January, 2011

    Thanks for the comments - we are having SUCH fun with Matilda, though it is hard work, and I am glad she was not a decision we took lightly! This week has mainly involved poo, holes in carpets, stolen socks, a chewed BICYCLE handle and the shredding of important documents... but I wouldn't swap her for the world!

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