The Things You Learn When You Add To The Family - In The Form Of A Pet...

Adding to your family over the festive period will teach you a few new things...

Christmas is well and truly over.The build up is exciting , magical and memorable while the come down is a bit shit, to be frank.
January for us started off a little differently this year.

We added to our family.

A little Jack Russell by the name of Lola, which my youngest son insists on calling ‘Lola Dear’; yes he has watched ‘Lady and the Tramp’ over the Christmas, probably more than the average four-year-old.

Lola Dear has been with us for just over a month now and in that time she has taught me, a dog lover, a few new things...
  • House trained, doesn’t mean weather trained. Lola Dear refuses to do her business outside when there is wind and rain combined. My middle guy has to carry her out onto the grass where she has a sniff, a pee and while doing number two keeps her eyes firmly on him. This eye balling while doing a number two, has indeed freaked my middle guy out, but a quick chat with another dog owner informs me that she is at her most vulnerable while doing number two and just wants to ensure my son has her back, so to speak.
  • Tone. Lola Dear responds so well to tone that when I have found playdough mashed into Ethans brand new Simpsons rug, she assumes it is her that is in trouble and runs off to bed. Unlike my four-year-old, who insists the playdough rolled onto the rug and got mashed up into it by ‘accessident’ when his own runner happened to walk over the rug and got attacked by the playdough.
  • Exercise has changed. Lola Dear becomes a dog on a mission to chase absolutely anything that moves, which is fine when it’s not just Ethan and I with her. Have you ever ran up a hill with an excited puppy attached to a wheelchair who’s battery has run out and is now on the manual setting? That’s exercise for me these days.
  • Lola Dear now owns our home. I don’t remember signing anything over to her but that doesn’t seem to matter. She stands guard at the sitting room window and will inform us, if even a bird dare lands in our garden.
  • Lola Dear also likes to be our in-house alarm clock. She must have a schedule that we are not privy to, which we must obey. She lets out little whimpers from about 7am, these whimpers turn into gentle barks, then by 7.45am she’s full on barking, which I have to say is handy Monday through to Friday. (Not so handy Saturday and Sunday) She is used to Ethans home helper coming in each morning and often lets me know I slept through my alarm, again. Anyone else finding it hard to get back into school morning lark after the break?
  • Lola Dear likes coffee and tea but is more of a coffee dog. I’m pretty sure it’s not good for her but that doesn’t stop her from using her paw to knock over my coffee mug so she can drink up her spoils, spills I mean.
  • Lola Dear already knows who is the giver of ‘human’ food in our home. She is clued in. She creeps into the dinning room and sits right at Ethan's feet. She doesn’t make a sound, she is what we now call, a sniper dog. Sniper dog sits watching as I hand some food to Ethan (Ethan is slowly beginning to feed himself again, so obviously we encourage that with small bits of food). Ethan however, now knows sniper dog is never far away. He takes a bite out of his food and throws the rest. His laughter is our first clue that sniper dog is in fact in the dining room too.
  • Lola Dear loves teddies as much as Ethan does. If its within reach and sometimes if it’s not, according to Lola Dear it is indeed fair game. The same applies to shoes, toys, lego, toes and coffee, as previously stated.
  • Lola Dear will drop anything, once you tell her to. She has her own toys and is now under the impression that they need to be hidden from the boys, just like they keep their toys from her. Lola Dear has given my four-year-old reason to be afraid of his toys disappearing, which is bloody fantastic. He now tidies everything away in boxes after playing, simply because he doesn’t trust Lola Dear not to chew on them or hide them. (I would have gotten a dog sooner if I knew that they help kiddies tidy the F up after themselves!)
  • Lola Dear has actually rid me of some anxiety. I have never spoken to so many people when out with her. I am not the best people person and can find it awkward to start even a simple conversation, but Lola Dear encourages it by wagging her tail, waiting for a pet and insisting they acknowledge her. She is a people, kid, dogs dog when not protecting our house from behind the sitting room window.
  • Lola Dear does a great impression of a Hoover but we do our best not to abuse this ability unlike the kids who think it’s a pretty cute ‘trick’.

And Lola learned a few new things too

  • Lola Dear learned that the Christmas tree will fall if she insists on climbing it.
  • Lola Dear learned that Ethan doesn’t share his toys as willing as his food.
  • Lola Dear learned that the dog in the mirror is herself. She has not grasped that the dog in the window is her reflection, just yet.
  • Lola Dear learned cushions are not for peeing on, regardless of the weather outside.
  • Lola Dear learned that dogs bark on the TV too.
  • Lola Dear learned that the postman means no harm, nor does the milkman.
  • Lola Dear is still in the process of learning about birds, how be walked, when to sit, when not to bark... there’s quite a long list when I think about it.

We have talked about getting a dog for many, many years. Our middle son, J, has begged for a dog for as long as we can remember. We decided late last year that we would put our research to the test and add ‘Lola’ to our family.

Here’s to many more adventures with our complete family!
Written by Ger Renton, who keeps us up to date on her crazy family life with Ethan & co.
Follow her on Facebook at "It’s me and Ethan" and check out her amazing blog at

Ger Renton

Mammy, Wife, Writer, all round fixer of bruised knees, broken toys...always looks for the smile even through the tears!

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