If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably already know Josephine-dog’s story. You know that years ago, in a far-off country, a matted tangle of dreadlocks and fleas looked at me, and her eyes said Take me home. And you know that I did, driving through seven countries in the snow to bring her home with me. And you know that she’s been with us ever since, our stalwart little friend, through my rapprochement with my partner, through the birth of four children – everything, really. If Josephine-dog can come along for the journey then she always, always does. She is a precious member of our family.
Josephine-dog has seen us through so many changes and as a consequence, her own life has changed immeasurably. I like to think that the adoration of our children compensates the loss of our dedication now that we have small humans sharing our focus. Olympia in particular is just utterly in love with Josephine-dog; she sneaks her helpings of her own meals and then begs food off of us to give to Josephine also, and loves to toddle after her carrying her lead, in hope of taking the dog for a walk. One of the funniest moments recently was when it was finally cold enough to pull out Josephine’s winter jumpers, which she wears because her coat is so fine that she is almost perpetually shivering. Olympia was fascinated, and kept saying over and again ‘Josie jumper’ and touching it, and then touching her own jumper so that we would affirm that yes, Josephine was wearing a jumper and Polly was wearing a jumper as well. Sisters.
Josephine is good for us. I like to think that we are good for her too. Our biggest challenge as busy parents is just the navigating of so many different wants and needs; there are constant demands on our time and attention from everybody, and Josephine-dog is no exception. I feel as though every day we are juggling two different standards – the bare minimum that we are willing to accept of ourselves on a bad day (everyone is alive and had an ok day; the house has not fallen down) and the good-day scenerios (tidy house; today was fun and we went to bed smiling; we enriched their lives and they learnt something new today). Mostly, we have good days. Some days we don’t.
I think that of all five of our dependents, Josephine-dog is probably the easiest. She’s not a typical, bouncy dog; she was middle-aged when we brought her home five years ago, so she’s probably quite old now. At least ten. Spending time with her is like going out for the afternoon with a spritely great aunt; she has no problem keeping up, and she’ll probably hit the top of the stairs faster than you do, but she’s just as easy tucking up on the sofa to rewatch old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with a bag of popcorn. Sometimes I worry that she makes it a little easy to forget about her; it is unfortunately true that those who yell loudest tend to have their needs or wants answered first (FYI: that’s Balthazar or Polly). She is the quietest and consequently, hours pass sometimes before one of us remembers the little grey girl tucked up on the bed, and sits with her for a minute to chat to her and stroke her fur.
We’ve been working with Pedigree to explore their Pedigree Tracks app, which makes it that bit easier for the mentally-overwhelmed amongst us keep on top of our dogs’ needs. The app allows you to upload a profile for your pet; the profile contains their name and photo, as well as important details such as their age, weight and average activity level. From there, you go on to record the calorific content of their food (note: you can only do this if your pet eats Pedigree food or dog treats) and use the timer function to record your pet’s exercise – there are different settings for indoor play, garden play, on-lead walkies and off-lead excursions. You can save a photo of each experience as well as record the duration, and there is a section to write notes about what stood out about their period of activity. This makes it really ease to keep track of what they are doing, and to compare it against previous months.
We have only been using the tracker for a week, but the exercise feature in particular has stood out to us as being super useful as it helps to hold us accountable – after all, we might be busy, but Josephine’s quality of life is important. We have already found that we take her out more frequently and for longer periods of time because we can see that yesterday she had a better walk, and we want to hold ourselves to the same standard. As a family, it is so important to get out – not just because exercise makes you healthier, but also because we just talk more and laugh more when we are exploring the woods together.
Why not download the Pedigree Tracker app too and give it a whirl?
This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.