Our poor puppies have only featured vaguely in previous posts, even though I dedicated a whole post to a dog that was never really my own (Tribute to Kel). I feel bad… So here is the story of Spartan and Coco…
Just over 3 years ago I was feeling exceptionally broody… Like ridiculously so… The hamsters that we bought to “cure” me just ate my towels and made irritating noises at night. Besides the fact that they did NOT know how to cuddle and only bit me when I tried to play with them. Then when the one decided to eat the body of another one – leaving the head as a warning to others that he “meant business”, I decided that hamsters were not for me.
As luck would have it, my Mom knew someone whose Labrador was preggers and needed homes for these gorgeous little creatures. We knew that soon we would be moving into our new home and could house a massive Labrador. So once the little monsters were born, we went to take a look:
How can you resist these perfect little beings. They were so playful and cute, that we decided (ok… I decided and then convinced Seth by begging) that we should take 2 instead of one… Enter beige and chocolate Labradors to the Alfino family. But what to name them? Being completely original we chose Coco for the chocolate lab, I know… You would have never guessed hey?! Then we thought a good strong name like “Spartan” would be good for the male beige lab. That decided it…
In the beginning while the house was being built etc, we were living with Seth’s parents and renting out our flat, and my parents were convinced that it would be a good idea to add our dogs to their family, until we get into the house. So there they were, my beautiful Labradors…
(I must just say that all those pics were taken at my parents – our couches don’t have such colourful covers ;)… And this bottom left one is them hiding in their veggie basket thing and yes, the top one of this last pic set is Spartan fast asleep on Coco’s head!!)
Once the house was built we moved in and became the real parents to our fur-babies (term courtesy of Zoe Kooyman). I loved cuddling with those 2 and we let them have total free reign of the place… And then… I was pregnant… And Spartan kept jumping (at the real excited puppy dog phase, but so big that he could knock me over). When he jumped, his paws always landed right in my stomach… So that was the end of that. No more cuddles or playing or anything really. I remember suffering with my pregnancy hormones raging and listening to Spartan licking himself. I had to resist the greatest urge to pull the tongue out of his mouth and beat him with it.
Once Kyla was born it was never really the same again. I no longer had that urge to mommy something that was not my actual baby and so the poor dogs have been a bit neglected. I am trying to make up for it now, by spending some time with them.
My most favourite memory is taking them for a walk to the park. Well Seth was walking them and I was pushing Kyla in the pram in front of them. I turned around to tell Seth something and he wasn’t there… I looked down and I saw a jumble of dogs and legs and leads… His hat was lying to one side while his sandal was lying upside down on the other side. Before I could get the camera out Seth had jumped up and was cool and calm, like nothing had happened.
I do love them, I really do! I love that although we called him Spartan – he really is just a cuddly coward at heart and that Coco smiles with her mouth when we catch her doing something naughty. I will show them I love them – before they die I’m sure…
This is terrible. We completely and totally don’t deserve these dogs! Theres not a day that goes by without me feeling super guilty for the life we have given them so far. There are excuses such as having 2 kids in 2 years, trying to keep our house from falling apart, our area we live in isn’t fantastic for relaxing, peaceful dog walking and not forgetting Spartans temprement! But I know that isn’t good enough.
Spartan is one of the most timid frightened dogs I have ever met. He was never abused or hurt in his life. I have read that a small percent of dogs are just born this way. He will not walk on a lead because he feels trapped and restrained. He has pooed himself when being barked at by a dog which was behind a fence. After every walk (when I use to take them regularly) he would be so frightend that any unusual noise in the house would scare him for days thereafter. Eventually I started taking them in the car to the park, which was short lived as the girls car seats took up the back seat.
Coco has a very sweet temprement but she too gets scared very easily.
Despite this our lives are becoming more organised as the girls get older. We will definitely make more of an effort to let them out and let them experience the world. I am seriously thinking of getting a pet behaviouralist for both of them, and a big car so they can fit in the back with the girls and take them on holidays.