I decided that I wanted to do that by this year, given that I was turning 60 and supposedly slowing down a bit.
I actually started the search late last year, considering dogs for adoption from Wood Green. Very early on, something happened – a beagle became available, and I immediately made my excuses to work, and jumped in my car to drive down to the kennels at Papworth. I didn’t get that one, but on the drive back, I thought about my reaction; and realised that – following my wonderful experiences with the two beagles I had fostered – a beagle is what I wanted.
Of course, settling on a breed reduces the choice of dogs coming up for adoption. I had two other chances of a beagle from Wood Green. One, I once more missed – by the time I got down there, it had been promised to a family. Another seemed a lovely dog, until I was told he was up for adoption because he had attacked the original owners toddler. As I have friends with children, I wasn’t going to risk that.
I then heard of a breeder in Spalding. NOT a puppy farm – this breeder actually takes part in dog shows, and breeds primarily for that reason; and has a good reputation amongst local vets. I got in touch, and was offered a 5 year old bitch called Gladstyle Right Royal Storm, or Katie for short. She had finished her time in the show ring, and had been bred from, and was ready to retire into life as a pet. Pedigree, chipped, Kennel Club registered; it looked pretty good.
That was back in November, I think. It’s taken a while, as she had only recently had a litter, so they needed to wean and she needed to recover a bit; then the breeder kindly offered to take care of her being spayed and her recovery after. That took us to January, but I had a weekend away planned with friends; so I didn’t want to get her and immediately put her in kennels. So we agreed to leave her with the breeder until after my break; bringing us to today, when I finally picked her up and brought her home.
Katie the Beagle is currently exploring – having done the lounge and the kitchen and the garden (briefly, it is cold), she is now exploring the stairs, landing and my office with her nose. There is *clearly* much to be sniffed at.