Finding her feet – and maybe a dog?

Whilst I seem to have done little else but work the last two weeks, Nel has been busy herself, sorting out her education, her health and working on her dreams.

She had a good meeting with the head of sixth form and it’s been agreed that she can concentrate on her R.E and Philosophy A Levels, dropping Art, and taking up an OU short course to make up the shortfall in her timetable. She’s really positive about all this and is now back in school and says she feels on top of things ready for her AS Level exams in May. Her friends seem pleased to have her back which is good.

She has also been to see various health professionals (including, incidentally, finally getting her BCG jab after years of us asking!) and is getting more support, including being tested for dyspraxia. If confirmed, she may be able to use a laptop instead of having to write so much, and have a little extra time in exams etc. Hopefully it will also mean she can get some help with other problems associated with it too. She feels pleased to think there may be some explanation for the difficulties she encounters, I think.

Ever since she was a little girl, Nel has wanted a dog. And has repeatedly said so over the years. And repeatedly been told that she’d have to wait until she leaves home since I don’t want a dog in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs and used to work in kennels when younger. I just don’t want one always being underfoot, or feeling tied down by the dependency of a dog. Cats are so much more independent, coming and going as they please and just requiring love and food. Dogs need so much more and I don’t feel able to give that. However, Nel’s desire has never lessened, and the professionals have indicated they think it would be good for her too.

So Billy and I have discussed it, together, and with Nel. We have told her that we will consider it only if:

a) She is working and earning enough to pay for the dog’s keep;
b) She takes out pet insurance to help towards vet bills – dogs get up to all sorts;
c) She thoroughly researches the breed she wants and its particular strengths and weaknesses;
d) She doesn’t have a very young pup – maybe one of about a year or so old;
e) She is a firm (but loving of course) owner and teaches the dog discipline
f) She can come up with proper answers to any questions or concerns we may have.

We didn’t need to point out that the dog would be her responsibility and she’d have to walk it every day etc as she already knows, accepts, and welcomes this – she is a very responsible pet owner and always has been. So, she has decided on a German Shepherd (and we’re happy with that as we like the breed too) and has worked out that she needs to save £1,000 before she can undertake the commitment – so that she has enough to pay for its keep in advance and to cover any unexpected eventualities like a large vet bill or being out of work. She has looked up the cost of insurance, worked out where the dog would sleep (the seat area of her bunk-futon!) and is now applying for any part time jobs that we see. She’d like, ideally, to be in a position to get a dog in the summer holidays so that she can give it most of her time before going back to school in autumn.

Even having a goal towards which to work hard is doing her good I feel. Although we have mixed feelings about having a dog, we do feel it would be really good for her so hope it comes off.


  1. Hi. Anji. I was interested to read this article. I know you and Billy have obviously given this lots and lots of thought. I have a dog, and have always had a dog. One of my dogs was a German Shepherd, we loved her so much, and I have her photo on my wall, which I had done in pastels. Until about 7 years ago Joe used to breed German Shepherds. We ‘dog sit’ his daughter’s big white german shepherd, Monday to Friday. I may add, my Ima, bosses him about something terrible, and he lets her. (I taught her well lol.) I would say the biggest (if at all) draw-back with a Shepherd, are the hairs. If you can cope with that, then go for it. If I can help in anyway, you know where I am. Pleased all well at your end. Take care. x

  2. Thanks Joyce – hm, hairs! I suppose they’ll simply be added to all the cat hairs :S Thanks – we’ll have to make a point of deciding some rules as to where the dog can sit, or not I think. The only thing we came up with about the breed otherwise, is the likelihood of arthritis in the hind legs.
    Should Nel get a job and the dog looks like happening, I may well pick your brains for any hints and tips.
    Anji – X


  1. […] desperate for part time work for some time now, and particularly since she was told that she can have a dog if she pays for its upkeep, so she has been applying for quite a few jobs. Sadly she rarely gets any […]

  2. […] eager as she knew she’d failed. She really struggled at school as you may recall, and she was away from school more than she was there. In the end, the school decided not to enter her for the Philosophy exam and […]

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