My house is very much ruled by a bearded, often grumpy little thing who is partial to the odd biscuit, enjoys sharing my bed and especially likes a good solid argument with a squirrel. No, not the husband, I'm talking about the true boss of the house. The dog. An eight year old (that's 56 in dog years don'tchaknow) Miniature Schnauzer who burst into our lives around our first wedding anniversary in 2008. A bundle of fur as big as my apple bottom jean cuffs (little late noughties reference for you there) who nuzzled into me, lapping up as many cuddles and puppy biscuits as she could and made me go all motherly for the first time. Yes yes, I know, it's a dog and I too thought people who "mothered" their pets were frankly bonkers. But this was before I met this little lady.
Hubby and I had done the dating, the engagement and the wedding thing, we did the "young professionals" thing which largely consisted of going out a lot, living on more than a few takeaways, enjoying lie ins (remember them??!) and doing pretty much what the heck we wanted. Then we decided we needed to take things up a notch, we needed an addition to the household and for now, for many reasons, it wasn't going to be the two legged, vomiting, sleep invading variety. It was going to be a four legged, vomiting, sleep invading variety.
So we shopped around as it were. Did the research, contacted the people who knew about such things and found a lovely lady who had a few little Schnauzers for sale. Why a Schnauzer? Well, I have a thing for beards. That aside, they ticked all the boxes for everything we were looking for in a dog. That and the fact my sister in law had got one the previous year and we were smitten. Plus two of them would look seriously cute on the family Christmas cards.
So in February 2007 we picked up our new addition. In the early times of social media, I made the announcement on Facebook that we were expecting a new arrival to the household, posted a picture of a fluffy new dog bed, some pink squeaky toys and noted the disappointment in the faces of the Mums and Aunties when they realised it wasn't going to be a baby.
But boy, was she my baby. Lilian Priscilla McDoggins came squeaking and yapping into our world and turned out to be a proper little diva almost immediately. She came with the name of Lily so obviously this name needed some embellishment. Predictably, she's now known as "Lil" - all those names are a bit of a mouthful to be honest when you're in the middle of the park. Proving herself to be a lap dog fairly early on in proceedings, she graduated from the functional and entirely sensible puppy crate located in the kitchen to a cute little bed in the corner of our bedroom and then eventually to a spot at the bottom of our bed, often snuggling into my feet. She discovered the delights of home cooked food, we as her new "parents" found that cooking family meals was quite fun so she scored her very own plated up chicken dinner every so often. She was also introduced by my wonderful friend to the utter delights of frankfurter sausages. This turned out to be a costly not to mention stinky mistake, we still shudder at the mention of "sausage-gate".
A few years later her, (not to mention our) world was turned on its head when our now five year old was born. She had spent the previous nine months realising that Mummy was becoming a bit bloody slow on the walks but quite enjoyed snuggling into Mummys increasingly large belly and occasionally getting a sharp kick in the face by whatever was inside. Then a worn first babygrow appeared in her basket, bringing new smells. The next day a carry cot arrived on the scene but this time the baby grow had a small wriggly person inside it. Lil's little brother and future partner in crime had arrived.
Now they are the best of friends. Lil is the perfect Scholes to the budding Beckham in the garden football tournaments. She knows that with the right tilt of the head the small boy will go and fetch a biscuit, often when Mummy has refused. She knows too that when his friends come and play she can join in the game of footy even when they do that annoying trick of tricking her to come inside so she can't steal the football away from them anymore. She also knows she can sit next to him underneath the dinner table and more than likely receive a few tasty treats. In return, each night at bedtime when the little lady retreats to her / our boudoir for her beauty sleep, she makes a small detour to his bedroom to go and check the boy is fast asleep and safe.
Not only house boss but guard dog, squirrel chaser, fastest biscuit eater, the one in the house who is most scared of hoovers (again, not the husband), childrens' entertainer, expert snuggler, confidant and all round awesome little lady. Crazy dog lady? Me?