“She’s a staffie. Staffie cross actually.”
Oh is a fairly familiar response. What Oh! really means is “I’ve seen in the news that they are horrible, killer dogs. What kind of parent would have one of those in their house?”
Oh is usually followed by “how is she with the children?”
She’s really good with the children; really, very good. You never quite know if that bit sinks in when they consider the” killer” dog you have in your house; but then, there’s a massive difference between having them in your house – and leaving them alone with your children.
Hooch came to us from a kennel. Her previous owners had moved abroad and months, months later, we stumbled across a site where they were trying to rehouse her. A test walk later and we fell in love. This was 2005 – some four years before Lauren was born; eight years before Harry. She was our first “baby”.
Unfortunately for Hooch her importance in the pecking order dropped dramatically when Lauren (and Harry) was born. To watch her with babies is to see an inquisitive, protective dog. Admittedly she is inquisitive with her tongue – as if cleaning, rather than tasting – but she still makes no attempt to impose herself upon them. As Lauren grew up, so Hooch grew more patient. She was careful to move away when Lauren tried to ride her; accepted cuddles when Lauren became too playful.
The key point to be made here is that this always happens with one of us in the room. Even now, with Lauren fast approaching four, we try at all times to have a situation where there is never a dog and a playful girl alone in a room together; especially not one covered in toys. We definitely have a rule where no baby will ever be in a room with our dog alone. That’s why we have gates on the door of each of the main rooms in the house. The gates offer an added level of protection.
Sure Hooch gets frustrated at not being allowed in – but she tends to take her frustration out on tasty, squeaky toys; never a child. Never a child! She does this for treats, more than hugs or cuddles. She thinks with her belly does our dog.
We love our dog. We very much view her as being a massive part of our family – though she is definitely a family member who is occasionally left on the other side of a gate when a child, toys and safety, especially safety, dictates.