I love him so forcefully, so all-consumingly, in a way that combines the other kinds of love I’ve felt: the love for a child; the love for a dear companion; the love for a best friend.
As I sit in this inert state, without him, I’m starting to piece through the enormity of what he’s meant to me, of the impact he’s had on my life. He’s never been ‘just a dog’.I moved to London from New York in 2009, aged 25, to live with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Will. As a result of being friends for years and my being penniless, I moved straight in with him, and within months we were on various waiting lists to become ‘dog parents’.
Use baking soda to get dog urine out of carpet. If you don't happen to have a product like Nature's Miracle on hand (maybe you're traveling or at a friends house), pour some baking soda over the spot, let it sit, and then sweep or vacuum it up.
Deciding to get a dog felt like a huge responsibility at a time when many of our friends were still casually dating. It was a way of telling the world we were serious about each other – and secure enough in our love that we could share it with another living being. Just not yet another human one.
Bulldogs’ friendly, devoted demeanours appealed to us, as did their love of chilling out on a sofa – watching TV together was one of our favourite pastimes as a couple.
We met Bolshy as a tiny puppy, along with his siblings and mum, at his breeders’ house in Essex. (Fun fact: we found out via Facebook that one of Bolshy’s half-brothers was in the early seasons of TOWIE).
My heart melted the moment he was placed in my arms: this was what family felt like.With Will, I had that dizzying thrill of early love: I could be myself, but there was always an underlying fear that I would screw it all up, that I had to be worthy of him, to deserve him. With Bolshy, I never had anything to prove. I could just be.
laidback pet breeds
I was going to protect this tiny, gorgeous being. I remember looking up at Will and thinking how completely besotted I was at that moment, with baby Bolshy in my arms. And in that instant, my relationship with Will suddenly became better, too; it was about more than just us. I also saw future-Will: strong, emotional, loving – a dad.
I cuddled and comforted Bolshy when he first came home, aged two months. He used to whimper and wail all night.
All too soon, he was licking my hand, trying to comfort me as I lay prostrate on the sofa in between vomiting fits. We already had one baby in the house – but a week after Bolshy came to live with us, I discovered I was pregnant.
A drop of love
Bolshy and I bonded quickly, as tends to happen when you spend 24/7 with someone you like. As an introvert and freelancer who works from home (and whose partner left for work at 6am on weekdays), Bolshy was my constant – often my entire social network.
During pregnancy, where I wavered between feeling unwell physically and stressed mentally, Bolshy gave me hope: sure, he didn’t respond to most of the commands we learned in puppy training, but he was sweet yet feisty, caring yet independent. Weren’t these all qualities I equated with human love, and wanted to imbue in my little human?
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Stories abound of owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body so they got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous. The anecdotal evidence was later backed up by scientific studies. Dogs are so good at this that some of them are trained to detect cancer, in as little as three hours.
I tell everyone that Bolshy made me a mother, and I mean it. Through him I learned what it feels like to love without abandon, to worry about another being all the time and to think of someone ahead of yourself.
‘How’s my incredible, talented, amazing, gorgeous, handsome, intelligent, loving man?’ I used to ask Bolsh each evening, stroking him behind the ears. It became a running joke with Will, always nearby, who’d shout back ‘I’m great, appreciate you asking!’I’ve been falling more fervently for Will over the past decade and Bolshy is the forever symbol of our early romance – he’s in our wedding pictures and every scene of our love story after that, snuggled in Will’s arms, running after a ball Will threw, padding into the garden to enjoy some scraps of meat from the barbecue.
Animal magic: how my pet saved me
It’s hard for me to delineate where my love for one of them stops and the other begins; we’ve grown up together, in an interconnected tale that goes in all directions.
There is no doubt that Bolshy taught me to love more openly and vulnerably than I ever have before. I could be my most embarrassing, over-the-top self with Bolshy, grooming him, whispering sweet nothings, nuzzling into his fur… and no one would think I was a complete psychopath, even in public.
Create Your Own Doggie First Aid Kit. You never know when an accident might happen so it’s recommended to have a first aid kit on hand just in case. Here’s a great list of basic items a pet first aid kit should have.
I used to think that in relationships, big love had to scream and advertise itself. Human love is a beautiful thing, but the ability to wound someone, piece it all back together until the next argument and repeat again indefinitely is remarkable – and emotionally draining. It’s also very much what love looks like in my human relationships: with my mother, my husband and my children.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but Bolshy taught me that isn’t the case: the best kind of love is the quiet kind. It doesn’t require grand gestures or drama to see how far your beloved is willing to go for you, and this is a principle I’ve learned is applicable in my marriage, too. You don’t need a fancy meal or occasion to show love, it’s displayed in small ways every single day.
I like how my relationship with Bolshy had a different decibel level – the volume turned a bit lower, the emotions just as strong, but less explosive. There’s something I love about the uncomplicated appreciation, the unspoken understanding, we had with one another.He was a perky puppy, running away from me in the park. He’s been a total stud (he was, in the words of Zoolander, ‘really, really, ridiculously good looking’). Then he was a cantankerous, yet still charming, old man. I feel so lucky we got all of the stages with him.
Keep Household Toxins (Including the Garbage) Out of Reach. While it may seem obvious to keep your cleaning products tucked away safely one of the biggest threats to a dogs health in your home is the garbage. If your dog gets into the garbage you can use some baby proof locks to seal it, or put it away in the closet or garage while you’re gone.
On paper, he’s been the family pet. In my heart, he’s one of my great loves. and he’s taken a piece of it with him wherever he’s gone.Last week, in Love, Or Something Like It: I was sure I was gay – until I fell in love with my best female friend