The Scenes of Crime Officer looked up at the bedroom window and sucked so hard on his teeth that I fear a swift slap on the back and the Heimlich manoeuvre might have been in order had he been wearing dentures. “Do you like pets?” he asked.
Our burglary had left us questioning him about how we might minimise the risk of further guests at two in the morning. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve no objection to young people being helped up the property ladder, just not when the aforementioned ladder is part of the scaffolding surrounding my conservatory and the youth in question forces my bedroom window with an axe at two in the morning. After much research, deliberation and expense, the burglar alarm is linked to the Police control room, our fence has been raised and extended, our windows now have more bars than downtown Magaluf and we have Jack.
I’ve always loved dogs but actually owning one of my own was always something to be saved for retirement. Cats, on the other hand, know I’m allergic to them and so make a point of heading over in my direction to wind their bodies around my legs in the hope that I’ll sneeze – cats love sneezing humans: it makes them laugh; I love my electrified trousers: ditto. It’s not fair to have a dog if you’re out all day – they’re sociable creatures who crave human attention – they miss you. Could we do it? Could we change our lifestyle sufficiently to accommodate a dog? We pondered this and started looking around. A puppy was out of the question – too much of a commitment. We needed an adult dog and that meant a trip to the rescue centres.
We visited variously The Blue Cross, The RSPCA and The Jerry Green Dog Rescue looking for a suitable animal. None was available. The Blue Cross had a beautiful young labrador who launched himself with such force at the double glazed window of his enclosure that I thought he might knock himself out: too boisterous. The RSPCA had several small dogs: too yappy. Jerry Green looked at me as if I was on day release from a 1950s psychiatric institute and still wearing the strait jacket, made me write my contact details on a small card and then carefully placed them overlapping a shelf just above the shredder. It would have been easier searching for a dog in the Seoul branch of Pets At Home.
We returned home, fired up the computer, turned to the internet and discovered German Shepherd Dog Rescue. I filled in the online application form to adopt, clicked ‘submit’ and prepared to be completely ignored. I was wrong. The very next weekend Zeus arrived with his adoptive parents to ‘vet’ us and check our house and grounds. I’m not referring to the god of sky and thunder who ruled Mount Olympus, but rather a German Shepherd specially trained to visit potential adopters and ‘work the room’ – moving from person to person nuzzling his soft head gently into your lap and looking up at you longingly. “Where do I sign?”
GSD Rescue worked hard matching up a dog to our particular lifestyle. We worked hard looking at the dogs on their website – where’s the ‘add to basket’ button? Eventually, after fortifying the fence, purchasing a bespoke kennel (so large that our council tax has gone up a band), bowls, mats, grooming brushes, food, leads and high visibility jackets (for us, not the dog) it was settled that we should meet Tyler, a young male who’d been picked up in Bradford (or Hull, or Doncaster, depending on whom you spoke to) who was staying with his foster carer in Newcastle. And so it was, that on Saturday, 23rd July 2011, two of us headed north up the A1 and three returned south…
…TO BE CONTINUED