A Doggy Dilemma

paw printWe’re looking for a puppy, as some of you know (and actually, there isn’t really a ‘dilemma’ – I just liked the alliteration of that title!).

After much research, talking to people-who-know-about-dogs AND a recent trip to Crufts, we have abandoned our original plan to have a black Labrador because a) too many people have told us they chew for England and take forever to ‘grow up’ and b) our house is not huge and perhaps a Labrador is a little bit big, after all and c) I want something a bit more cuddly.

Well, anyway, we’ve plumped for a ‘working cocker spaniel’ (yes, the same as Wills and Kate, as it turns out).

Last Saturday we went to view a litter that I’d seen advertised for sale. They’d named all the puppies because you have to do that when they’re micro-chipped (but obviously you can change the name). One of them – I kid you not – was called Bernard! Bless!

They ticked lots of boxes: they were black, working cockers, raised in a family home with lots of noise and other animals; we met their mother, who seemed to be very good-natured (you’re sensing a ‘but’ now, aren’t you..?) BUT, we really want a girl and they only had one left, which they were keeping. And there were other things about the breeder which put us off, but I won’t go into those here.

But, we’ve got other puppies to ‘view’ in the next few days, so watch this space….

On a different note, I’ve had some good news from a former student of mine, Nina, who I last taught about a year ago. I have permission to tell you all and this is what she says…

“..during the course you suggested I send my ‘Murder in the Library’ short story in to The Weekly News. I sent it last April, and never heard back… until today! It was the first story I’ve ever sent anywhere, they want to publish it, and apparently it will be in the 30th March issue! So thank you for your help, and for targeting the right magazine!

By the way, I do still read your blog, and I’d like to add to your tally of Writers Bureau monthly competition winners. Back in September/October I won a Novel and Short Story course for a blurb of an hypothetical book set during the Great Fire of London. I’m already about halfway through the course, and submitting more stories to magazines..”

Big congratulations to Nina for both her successes (and look out for her story coming up in The Weekly News!). I was thrilled to hear that good news because I can share, just a little bit, in her success.

Don’t forget, if someone helps you along the way, with your writing, do let them know – they’ll appreciate it!

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17 Responses to A Doggy Dilemma

  1. Elaine Everest says:

    Good luck with your search for that perfect puppy! Have you checked the Kennel Club puppy lists and also made sure the breeder is a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme? This is my territory, dogs and writing! In fact my book, A New Puppy in the Family may be able to help guide you to that perfect pup. My new puppy, a Polish Lowland Sheepdog secured a series with a dog magazine on my search for a puppy – I’d sell my granny for a feature!
    Congratulations to your student on her success, long may it continue.

    • Elaine Thank you, yes, we are doing all those checks with the breeders. We’re coming to the conclusion that we might have to wait a bit longer – and maybe even go on a waiting list – to get the right puppy from the right place! Didn’t realise at first how much there was to consider! I am envious of your Polish Lowland Sheepdog!! They are gorgeous!!


  2. Philippa says:

    Congratulations to Nina, and thanks for sharing her excellent news, it is always so inspiring to hear about writing success stories, and particularly gratifying when you’re the teacher! Good luck with the puppy search, I’m sure you’ll recognise the right dog for you when you see her.

  3. Julia says:

    I like dogs, but wouldn’t want the responsibility of owning one. I hope you don’t have to wait too long to find the perfect pup. Congratulations to Nina on her successes – and to you for helping her on her way. Yes, it is nice when a student says thank you, but I’d also like to know why some of my yoga people just disappear! One minute they’re keen, the next they’ve vanished. It would be very useful to know why they’ve had a change of heart, even (or perhaps especially) if it’s something I’ve done.

    • Julia, I’m sure it’s nothing you’ve done. Sometimes life just gets in the way, I think. I used to have that with students in my classes too. They’d seem really keen but not come back for a new term or sometimes they stopped after just one or two classes (I did always try to contact them then and ask why because often it was a confidence thing – they felt that everyone in the group was better than them. That doesn’t probably apply to yoga but I agree, it would be nice to know why they’d stopped coming!)


  4. Wendy Clarke says:

    I often see a cute working spaniel in the field – (yes, that same one with the cows that you have put ,e off for life!) when I walk Bonnie. It is so well behaved (unlike Bonnie) and follows whistle commands (unlike Bonnie). A good choice.
    Well done to Nina. that gives me hope for my May 2012 stories I sent to TWN! I keep in touch with both of my writing tutors – theyare always so supportive of me (and my blog) and love hearing about any writing successes I might have.

  5. Hayley Jones says:

    The perfect puppy is whichever one you choose! I think my next dog will be a cocker spaniel – current one is a springer – but I’m liable to change my mind… Wish I could get a puppy right now, but can’t afford it and my parents have a german shepherd and a collie thing, so house is a bit full!

  6. Tracy Fells says:

    If I were choosing a puppy a cocker spaniel would be high on the list. Also met two lovely black cockers at a Kent B&B last year – they were friendly and obedient. So good luck with the hunt. And like Wendy above – I hope the good news for Nina on TWN story is a sign that Jill is getting through her backlog. I have a story outstanding from Sept and so hoping for good news!!

  7. Eric Wilkins says:

    There are many walks along the beach meeting people and children,many being pet friends is a delight. Much of our time has been dodging those heavy drops of rain, escaping to shelters when the showers get to heavy. Being a dog like me we have our journeys,on meeting an old lady and sitting beside her she remarked that she could read my mind. If you get a puppy, the kind you are eager to have, will you sit and talk to him in those soft tones. I am an American Cocker Spaniel, we love soft music…. will you sing to me? Like the old lady our minds are entwined. I’m learning to write, at the moment no success, still my three dogs keep me nudging me with their idea’s. Have the patience and you will find the one that fits your bill.

  8. susan jones. says:

    A cocker spaniel would suit you Helen, you have to choose one that looks like you of course. Not being rude, that would be my choice of dog as well. They’re bouncy and good fun. Well done to Nina. Will look out for that. You’ve missed out the best bits, we want to know about those owners… go on… bet they don’t read your blog…:)))

  9. Barbara Murphy says:

    Hi Helen

    How are you? I have been meaning to get in touch but time seems to fly. At least the days are getting longer which encourages me to do more.

    Do you remember the Orange Women’s book day a big group of us went to a few years ago? Your Mum came too. well Jennifer has finally finished her novel and it is self published and on Amazon. It is about a female spy in 1930s Spain. I haven’t read it yet as if I download it on Saturday along with others it may attract more attention by having most sales on one day. I am not explaining it well but I am sure you know what I mean. Well I have just forwarded it to other friends who were there that day and a few others I know have kindles. At the same time I mentioned you too and gave the link to your blog and suggested they may like to sign up to it.

    Anyway if you would like to know more about Jennifer’s book here is the link


    I like reading your blog and so look forward to hearing more about the puppy etc soon.

    Considering I am still not working (but to be fair haven’t really been trying) I seem to be pretty busy. Shame I will have to find gainful employment some time this year. Anyway before that happens I hope we can meet up.

    I am going up to Mums next Tuesday so let me know when you are free after Easter and maybe we can meet in the Cotswolds for lunch and a catch up?

    I look forward to seeing you.



    Sent from my iPad

  10. jotiddyJ says:

    Cockers are great, my mum has 2 (working cockers). Don’t get a collie! Much as I adore my Gerald, who is a wonderful boy, he sheds hair everywhere, and wont stop growing. We’ve just had to redecorate!

  11. Good luck on the puppy search!

    I’ve decided, after much consideration, to adopt a rescue dog, from a breed rescue place (Shih Tzu’s) so just waiting for my home check.


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