I was due to pick Jo up from the airport Friday lunchtime. Friday morning Mandy rang, Esther’s temperature had dropped; the pups were imminent. I picked Jo up from the airport, returned home, got her settled in, showed her where everything was, including all the ingredients and recipe for the evening meal, where to meet our other friend from the train, and left… I arrived at Mandy’s about 4pm leaving, 8 puppies later, at 4 am. By the time I left I knew Dora would, eventually, be coming home with me. I’m not sure why I was so sure, but I was. Maybe, sometimes, things are just meant to be. Dora coming to live with us was definitely one of those ‘meant to be things’.
Back home my friends had enjoyed a lovely evening without me—which only goes to show that no matter how essential you think you are to a social gathering no one is indispensable!
And now, nearly 3 years later, we are waiting for Dora to have her own babies. They are due on Jo’s birthday! The journey to this point has involved several trips to Germany looking for a suitable stud dog. I love those trips, meeting and making friends with people we would never otherwise come into contact with. We, complete strangers, have been welcomed into people’s homes, given unlimited hospitality and access to their dogs. We (well me—Mandy won’t drive in Europe) have driven many kilometres, through beautiful countryside, we have visited fascinating villages and towns, and some amazing houses. We have had some serious adventures, a lot of fun and a lot of laughter. Things don’t always turn out as anticipated, but that just adds to the ‘spice of life’!
Which leads me neatly into Dora and Tonic. We had decided to mate Dora in spring 2018. Dora duly came into season and, in order to have the best possible chance of success, we had her bloods taken and tested for progesterone levels. We knew that once the bloods reached a certain level we would have to pack our bags and travel across to Germany as quickly as we could. We had a plan, we had done this before with Esther, we knew what was involved, how long the journey took, where we might stop en route, etc, etc. This time we were better prepared, we wouldn’t be turning up on Jo’s doorstep at some ungodly hour of the night!
Unfortunately for us Dora coming into season coincided with some of the snowiest weather the UK had seen in a decade! The weather was so bad that Mandy nearly didn’t get Dora’s blood to the lab for testing, but she persevered and, despite a snowstorm, managed to get to Wetherby and the lab. We got the results back that afternoon: Dora was about to peak; we had to leave as soon as possible. It was still snowing in Yorkshire. Living in Southport for the last 20 years has meant that I have almost forgotten what snow looks like—hence my ‘oh well, shall we leave tomorrow’ comment. Mandy suggested that I look at the weather forecast… I looked… I rang her. ‘Hmm perhaps we should go down to Folkstone tonight?’ She picked me up and we left a not very snowy Northwest coast and travelled south through increasing cold temperatures and flurries of snow. We booked a hotel en route arriving about 3am. Once there we booked the Channel Tunnel for later that morning, and as the snow arrived, causing havoc in the UK, Mandy, Dora and I were safely aboard a train speeding across to the Continent. There was no snow on our journey across Europe, but in Germany the temperature was -10oC! It was cold, oh so cold. It was lovely to see Martina, Markus and Tonic again. Tonic is such a delightful dog, a real gentleman and so sweet natured.
Three days later, on our return to England, we wondered what all the fuss had been about—snow, what snow—there was little evidence of the deep, disruptive
snow that we’d seen on the news. Looking back we were so lucky, so many things could have gone wrong. Mandy might not have made it to the lab, we would have missed Dora’s peak, the heavy snow could have stopped us travelling south and into Europe. But nothing did go wrong—as I said about choosing Dora, some things are just meant to be…