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Happy National Pet Day everybody!!

I’d wanted to keep this post short & sweet – primarily so I didn’t get too gushy but also as I don’t want to be one of those people that goes on & on about their baby. In our case, our baby is a 1 year old fluffy Romanian funster. As soon as I started writing, short & sweet went out of the window! Sorry/not sorry but this is a long one.

If you follow our Instagram stories you will have met this little fur ball already. For those who haven’t, let me introduce you to Teddy.

Our boy, Teddy.

It’s been nearly 9 years since Victoria & I became ‘Rictoria’ & throughout our time together, getting a canine companion has always been top of the wish list. Now I know what you’re thinking – “if it was so important to you, why did it take 8 years?”. Well, as desperate as we were to add a malting third wheel to our relationship, we couldn’t underestimate what a responsibility it would be. Too many people see the “fun side” of having a dog, then impulsively buy or adopt one & within 6 months the poor pooch finds itself in a rescue shelter. We were adamant that we would not contribute to this problem.

It took us years to get everything in place to make it happen. The main hurdle was our work schedules – we didn’t have the time to be there for a dog or to dedicate to training & exercising them. With both of us working full time positions in Marketing & Project Management where we were usually in early & finishing late, it just wouldn’t have been fair (or safe) to leave them at home for 10-12 hours a day by their self. Over the Christmas of 2016 however, that all changed. We’d started Modlo, we were working for ourselves & we decided that now was as good of a time as ever to take the leap & welcome a new member to our house, turning us from a couple to a family.

Us & Teddy at Christmas

It had always been our plan to get a puppy from a breeder. I’m not sure why, but it just had been. Bizarrely, the moment we made the decision to start looking for our new furry friend we both had a change of heart almost overnight. We’d decided that there was a plethora of dogs longing for a new home & people to love them in rescue centres up & down the country. We should give our love to one of them & give our money to a rescue centre, so they can carry on doing their fantastic work.

On Christmas Day Victoria & I were apart, each of us staying with our respective families in the Midlands & the South East. Whilst flopped out in front of the TV with a full belly, I started browsing the websites of the Nottinghamshire rescue centres. The first site I visited was Babbington Rescue Centre’s & I came across this scared little guy…

Teddy as Antonio

At this point his name was Antonio. He was seven months old, rescued from a Romanian shelter with his two sisters by a charity. Both he & his siblings were street dogs & due to be killed at this shelter. I don’t know the name of the charity that saved him but thank you. I instantly knew he was the one for me & desperately hoped that Victoria felt the same way. I text her the above photo & a link to the site. Surely she couldn’t resist that kind & handsome face?! She text back straight away & loved him as much as I did! We arranged an appointment to go & visit him a few days later, which happened to be my birthday.

We were so giddy with excitement on that morning. My oldest friend, Mark, was staying with us for a few days to celebrate my birthday so came along for the journey. When we met Teddy it was love at first sight. I must add, there were so many dogs in there that we were both incredibly fond of but unfortunately, we could only consider one & it was never going to be anyone else except for him.

We organised to take him for a walk in the paddock & both eagerly waited for him to be brought out. When he came trotting over both of our hearts melted. We walked him & played around for 15 minutes or so. He was fun loving but a little mischievous. He’s still that way now. Bursting with character. I wanted to take him home with us but, justifiably, that’s not how the adoption process works. We sadly said goodbye, filled out our application for adoption & made our way home. We didn’t feel optimistic that we’d see him again as we were told there were two more applications pending for him. The next day we took a birthday trip to Leeds for a couple of days of spa relaxation, drinking (responsibly), good food (be sure to visit Bundobust if in Leeds!) & a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. A much-needed getaway that we thought would take our mind off of the puppy situation. It didn’t. We barely spoke about anything else on the morning of our first day which we spent at the sculpture park. FYI, it’s beautiful, interesting & well worth a visit.

Us at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

We sat down for lunch outside at the back of the Visitor Centre on a day that was surprisingly mild for the end of December. A couple of mouthfuls in & Victoria’s phone rang…it was the rescue centre. We both looked at each other excitedly but expected the news wouldn’t be the outcome we wanted. We’d spent the morning on damage control. Certain that we wouldn’t be selected to adopt him, we convinced ourselves that we needn’t be disappointed or upset about the situation. He was still going to a new home with people who would hopefully love him as much as we would & that was the most important thing to remember here – that he gets a new life & home regardless of who it's with. With this in mind, we tried to stay calm & Victoria answered the phone. They exchanged greetings & pleasantries before the kind lady on the phone cut to the chase, “I’m happy to let you know that your application has been successful & you’ve been chosen to adopt Antonio following a routine visit to check your property is suitable for him”. I zealously looked at Victoria, unsure of what was being said on the other end of the line. When her eyes lit up, began to fill with tears & her grin became too wide for her face, I knew what she’d been told & looked at her in disbelief. A mix of excitement & nerves fuelled the rest of our getaway. We couldn’t quite believe how close we were to it all becoming a reality.

A couple of days later the house visit went swimmingly which was a welcomed relief. I’d spent the day prior, New Year’s Day, rushing around like a headless chicken making the garden puppy proof & secure. Thankfully my New Year’s Eve wasn’t a boozy one. Later that day we had a call to give us the good news – we ticked all the boxes. He was ours.

Teddy at 8 months

They asked if we could collect him within the next few days. In all honesty, neither of us were expecting how quickly the process would move. We had plans to travel to London at the weekend to celebrate our friend Sophie’s 30th birthday so really couldn’t take him home before then. It was organised that we would head back from London at the crack of dawn on the Sunday morning & pick him up on the way back. The party was one to remember at the incredible House of St Barnabas but both of our thoughts were preoccupied with what tomorrow held.

The journey back to Notts was spent suggesting, agreeing on & vetoing names. We toyed with keeping Antonio until we thought about the reality of shouting that name in public. It was swiftly rejected. We settled on Teddy as he was so soft & fluffy with the biggest neck scruff. We also thought it had an endearing sound to it. A name that was suited to both a fluffy scruffy puppy as well as a wise old boy.

As we arrived at the rescue centre, both of our hearts racing, it still didn’t seem real. We filled out the pile of necessary paperwork & he was brought around to meet us again. Free of the kennel smell & super soft from a morning bath, he came bouncing in to the room & proceeded to jump all over us. We said our hellos & gave him a big fuss. Then, the moment came; we were given the lead & he was handed over into our care. This was it. The point of no return. We couldn’t have been happier.

We took him back, let him explore his new home, began to start settling him in & the rest I’ll save for another day. One thing I will say is that it’s been far from an easy ride. In our experience, anyone who’s had a puppy or rescue dog will tell you the same thing. It’s a commitment. It’s a long-term relationship. One that you must dedicate yourself to. One that you must be patient with. One where your love should be unconditional. One where you must put the dog’s needs before your own. It’s a testing journey but it’s one that I wouldn’t change for the world as it’s made us more tolerant, persistent & compassionate. Making him happy makes us happy. We’re looking forward to our future with Mr being a big part of it. So, here’s to you Ted on National Pet Day, but know that you’re much more than a pet to us. You make us a family.

Teddy in the woods

Do you have a furry little (or big) friend who's transformed your life? If so please tell us about it in the comments below or on our social pages. We LOVE hearing about your canine encounters!

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