“CAN we have a dog? Can we? Can we? Pleeaase?” We’d only been married a few months when my two stepsons, aged 10 and 5, began asking, pleading, begging us to get a dog. They promised us they’d be good; they’d feed, groom and walk it… Really?
Picture the scene: I was a woman in her 40s, who’d lived alone for almost 20 years. My home was so ordered; a place for everything and everything in its place. I lived in a cream walled three-bed semi with light wool carpets, cream sofas and antique pine furniture. Then my husband and his boys moved in!
A dog? I’d never thought of that before. Never even remotely considered getting one… not in a million years! Dogs are dirty, messy and smelly but then again, so are small boys, as I was beginning to find out!
What type of dog? I knew my husband and the boys had had a St Bernard before – images of drooling Beethoven flashed through my mind – no, I couldn’t cope with that… my house, my lovely house!
I cast my mind back to being a child and watching “Belle and Sebastian” – a lovely series about a lonely French boy and his beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain Dog called Belle. “What about a Pyrenean Mountain Dog?” I asked my newly formed family. “What’s a Pyrenean Mountain Dog?” They responded. I’d need to show them how lovely they are.
A quick bit of searching on Amazon found the box-set containing the full series of a now very old “Belle and Sebastian”; one click and it was on its way.
The following weekend, we sat down together and started to watch the first episode. They loved it, absolutely loved it and it didn’t take long for us to watch the full series. And so it was decided: we were going to get a dog and it was going to be a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, just like Belle – or so we thought!
Over the next few weeks, we contacted a breeder, met their dogs and were soon smitten enough to put our names down for one of their pups.
We didn’t have to wait long for Kaya to arrive – nor for him to start teething and what a mess he made! Nothing was safe! Kitchen chair legs were almost chewed through; the coffee table was gnawed; the door frame was attacked – and when he grew big enough to reach them, even the edges of our kitchen worktops were mauled. With lion sized muddy paw prints and dog hairs everywhere, we soon replaced the downstairs carpets with laminate wood flooring and the cream sofas with brown leather ones. My house would never be the same again!
I’d love to say that the boys shared the chores: feeding, walking, grooming. They did sometimes but it soon became apparent that he was my dog, therefore he was my responsibility and do you know what? I didn’t mind one bit!

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