Wednesday

My Pet Story with Pet Plan

Unless you're new to my little part of the internet you'll know I'm one of those pet owners. The ones that talks about their pets non-frigging-stop. My one, aka Lopez The Best Dog In The World is my soulmate and fur-baby wrapped into one, like a brilliant BOGOF offer life decided to honour me with. This year we had our first proper "poorly" incident and I felt like my world was falling apart. It was absolutely torturous and despite me being convinced he understands everything I say, him not being able to tell me what was wrong was absolutely heart wrenching.

It taught me why pet insurance is a damn good idea. Lopez's breeder wouldn't accept owners who didn't take out insurance and at the time I thought that was a little over the top. However, having experienced him being unwell and the security our insurance policy gave me I couldn't recommend it more. We chose Pet Plan Insurance and we've found them to be brilliant, as do our vets. By coincidence, Pet Plan got in touch last month and asked Lopez and I to take part in a campaign with them.

As much as it wasn't to overtly promote their policies, I instantly jumped at the chance as it's organically been a company we've had great success with this year and our policy with them made him being unwell so much easier, so I thought it was a really worthy partnership. They've asked me to tell you about a story or a time when Lopez has changed my life for the better. I could go on for months but here goes...
I was 26 when I got Lopez. Everyone thought I was mad but I was completely determined to be his Mummy. I knew his dog-Mum; she was an incredible dog and had completely converted me on little breeds. Before her I thought toy-dogs and terriers were a bit silly and more for people who like faux-diamond studded shoes. Maltese Terriers have such lovely, strong and friendly personalities - and when Lopez came into the world I stopped everything to own him.

Lopez has changed every single element of my life for the better. When I got him I wasn't in a dog friendly job, so I went and found one. Making that leap basically changed my career forever, and without Lopez I may well never have had the guts to make the career changes I have or possibly even start my own business.

Owning him has taught me about unconditional love and responsibility. I was a fairly rebellious twenty-something, so being responsible for this gorgeous ball of fluff who would literally die unless I attended to him really helped me shape out my priorities. Spending time with him, cuddling him, walking with him - I never thought I'd be that person but I suddenly realised how much I got from being his Mum and when other plans came up I started thinking "Would I rather have an average time out, or a brilliant time in with my dog?" Also, and this is a big one, how potential life-partners behave with your dog (and how your dog responds to them) pretty much sum up who they are as a person. When my boys first met the immediate bromance confirmed that Gus was a keeper. If Lopez doesn't like someone, I tend to go off them too...

As for one specific story, it's so difficult to choose one! They're not all rose-tinted, dog ownership can be a challenge. There are some shockers, like the time he pooed all over me on the bus and I had to get off four steps early because the smell was so bad and it was raining and it was my birthday. We both cried all the way over Battersea Bridge in the rain and I had to throw out the nicest coat I've ever owned. In his defence I'd forgotten to walk him that afternoon and that was my pay back. I don't think I'd ever take his approach, but fair enough.
Jokes aside; in the time I've had Lopez I've gone through some pretty major life changes and having him has made it easier. He sat with me for a month when I was ill and couldn't leave my bed. Or there was the time he was extra bouncy on the day of my grandmother's funeral and single handily made the day easier with his little, excitable barks for us to play with him. When I've had a rubbish day he still wants a cuddle and his walks give me the headspace I so often need. No matter how grumpy I am he still loves me just as much and nothing makes him happier than when we're all at home on the sofa.

He's got an incredibly strong little personality, I know exactly how he'll react to everything. He's stubborn, pretends to be deaf when I say "no" and can hear the opening of a packet of popcorn from a five mile radius. He doesn't like the Christmas tree; staring at in disbelief and growling as it leaves the house in January. I still don't understand why he wants to sleep across my face but I've got used to it or why particular postmen just aren't welcome. He also hates the vet (which is embarrassing as he's actually a really nice guy) so when he was poorly it made it so much worse, although I'm pretty sure the trembling was for show as he's a very confident little boy - just got me wrapped around his little finger.

I guess this must be how it is when you have kids, but right now I'm good with watching him "catch rabbits" and accidentally waking himself up because he's been barking at them in his sleep. If you're considering pet ownership my advice is; do it. If you can give them love, are prepared to spend the time with them that each particular breed needs and can remember to feed them twice a day (or in my case get a dog that smacks the bowl against the kitchen cupboard until you give in and feed him again) then that's good enough. Lopez is the best decision I've ever made.

This post was in partnership with Pet Plan and all thoughts are my own. Pet Plan didn't asked me to endorse their insurance plans for this campaign, but as someone who has one I'd really like to give a shout out as our plan for Lopez has been utterly fantastic. Photography by Claire Menary.
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