Resistance is futile...
This is Lola's "look at me. How gorgeous am I? Come and cuddle on the sofa with me" face. And I cannot cannot resist. Of course the only reason I was on the receiving end of her come to couch eyes is because her Daddy was out! If he'd been here, I wouldn't have had a look in. She is definitely a daddy's girl!
As I snuggled on the sofa with her, I took a moment to reflect on how much she's changed since last Christmas.
She's bigger obviously, and house trained (to be fair she was house trained before Christmas last year but was still prone to little widdles when over excited.) But the biggest difference is her maturity.
She was only 26 weeks old last Christmas and a cheeky, friendly, loving, bouncing, inquisitive, chewy, testing the boundaries puppy. We didn't get a real Christmas tree for fear of her eating it / jumping on it / peeing on it / being scared of it / barking at it! She didn't have the run of downstairs and was confined to the kitchen, garden room and boot room (tiled floors :-) and David was working hard on all aspects of her training and at times it seemed one step forward and two back.
We were also keeping everything crossed that the lovely relationship that was emerging between her and Alan would continue to develop and grow and that by the end of this year they would be completely at ease in each other's company and enjoy spending time together.
Well, as this little sweetheart cuddled with me on the couch, I marvelled that not only has she become the dog we hoped she would be, she has gone way beyond our expectations by a country mile.
She is the friendliest and most loving little girl to everyone, be it man or beast! When out walking she knows her manners when approaching other dogs and dog owners, her recall is excellent to both whistle and word commands and she goes to bed with out any fuss every night and sleeps happily till David comes downstairs in the morning, usually at the back of nine. Not a peep out of her the whole night. She sleeps in the boot room but has never chewed any of the shoes, in fact she never chews any of our things, she prefers to de-stuff her toys!
But the thing that amazes me most about her is the love she gives and the empathy she feels. She really does have a sixth sense when things aren't right and is always there offering a paw or resting her head on your knee, her brown eyes gazing up at you, full of love and concern and the promise that things will get better.
Last night when my knee was really sore (thankfully after a night's sleep it was fine this morning) and I was struggling to move, she stayed by my side the whole time. When I stepped she stepped and when I stopped she stopped and sat down. There was no way she was leaving me to struggle on by myself. I know if she could have carried me she would have.
Alan's had a horrible cold the past few days and when I went to say good night to him tonight, there she was, keen to say her own night night and check for herself that he's ok.
That's the other wonderful wish that's come true over the year, her and Alan are best pals and if she disappears in the house, the chances are she will be found lying at Alan's feet or snuggled on the sofa in his living room. It's a joy to see.
She's also full of mischief and makes us laugh, actually real belly laughs, every day with her antics. Bringing us gifts from her toy box and teasing us with them, wanting to place chase round the dining room table, making her eyebrows wiggle when she's listening intently to some strange noise, doing her Elvis lip curl, giving paws before she's even been asked because she is so keen to please...
I've just read all that back and laughed as I have portrayed her as a Saint...but there's still a huge bit of the bouncy pup in her but well, she's a retriever, and I don't think that will ever leave her and nor do I want it to.
She still jumps up if excitement gets the better of her, she still has her moments on her walks where she gets a scent and takes off and the big guns are brought out to entice her back (cheese :-) She still has a penchant for stealing socks from the wash basket and woe betide any visitors who leave their fluffy slippers unattended. They will be snaffled in the blink of an eye!
So, now you know why, when Lola turns her gaze on me, resistance is futile :-)))
In other news, I have completed my Christmas shopping, the gift wrapping has commenced (David went to the driving range and Alan and Ally went Christmas shopping to Edinburgh so I had the house to myself for a while. Bliss! :-) my to-do list has a reassuring number of ticks on it, and the food shopping lists for the next three Tesco deliveries are almost complete, as is the butcher's order.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :-))