Welcome to Flo’s blog. It is really a blog about a dog’s life, life with a dog and life in general. She is now 9 months old and I wish that I had started this blog earlier in her life. I happened across a very entertaining blog about a rhodesian ridgeback called Louis and shamelessly decided I wanted to do the same thing… it probably touched me even more because at the moment I’m away from Flo and the other animals and I miss having them around. People without animals (and some with animals) may think that strange. Others will totally understand. So, that’s why I’m blogging for the first time… I miss my dog!
My particular dog is Flo, the rhodesian ridgeback puppy. She’s a big lass for a puppy – 9 months old and 35kgs. Surely she can’t have much left to grow… I have always been a cat person through and through but have been totally sucked in by my ridgeback; her antics continually make me smile.
I’ve never owned a dog before so after deciding that I really wanted one I took about six months researching breeds that would suit me and my (not-overly-active) lifestyle – I’m not a jogger or even a very fast walker, I don’t really cycle (evidenced by being the owner of a bike with two flat tyres and cobwebs on the chain) but I do like to walk. I wasn’t interested in a small dog or a really high energy dog, nor was I interested in a particularly hairy dog given that I live in the tropics. Dogs well known for being a bit whiffy were also out. Anyway, I eventually settled on either a labrador or a rhodesian ridgeback. My experience of friends’ labradors involved them (the labs, not the friends) consuming anything and everything. And I mean EVERYTHING… you know what I’m talking about… I’m not saying that they aren’t beautiful dogs and wonderful companions; had I not thought this then they wouldn’t have ended up on my (very) shortlist. However, I feared ending up with a poo-eating dog so plumped on ridgeback. There were of course other reasons as well – short coat, disinclination to bark unless there was a good reason, deep and scary bark, etc, etc. I was SO delighted when I realised that my newly acquired ridgeback (not LABRADOR) puppy had had a go at her own poo after all that deliberation. Pah. At least she only did it once and promptly vomited it (and some rather surprised dung beetles) up on the doorstep. Noice.
Once I’d chosen a breed I then had to find a good breeder. The nearest ridgeback breeders were all at least a few hours away by plane so I had to rely on websites to make my judgement. It wasn’t ideal but I did find quite a few and set about e-mailing them to find out if they were planning any litters around about the time when I could take a few weeks’ holiday. They were all very helpful and I finally found one who was having a litter at exactly the right time. I have to say that finding a good and reputable breeder is essential. I never had any doubt that I was getting a puppy that was well cared for and from a well-planned litter. I know that if I have any questions I can approach the breeder for help in answering them.
So, the litter arrived in October 2010 and the breeder phoned me to find out if I was still interested… most definitely. And so my path was set to collide with that of a little puppy. I had already chosen a name for her but when I saw her photo ‘Cilla’ didn’t seem to suit her. It should be noted that the first individual picture I saw of her was actually of her rear end disappearing off into the distance. Clearly it was a match that was meant to be. After deliberation with a friend over lunch, the name Flo was decided upon and Flo it still is. I am sure that as a ridgeback she’s probably slightly embarassed and will have given herself a more fitting name to reflect her lion hunting capabilities, however, she’s never told me what it is so she’s stuck with Flo. Perhaps that’s why she ignores me when I call her. Throughout the time that the litter remained with the mother I was sent photographs, videos and updates. These were of course much anticipated and uploaded to Facebook within minutes where they were met with the required ‘oooos’ and ‘ahhhhs’ from friends.
After eight weeks it was time for Miss Fabulous to make her big trip to the tropics and to her new home. Knowing that she was on the plane and on her way was a very anxious time both for me and the breeder. I dutifully turned up to collect her, towels and doggy water bottle at the ready. I was childishly disappointed to find out that I wasn’t the only one waiting for a puppy to arrive, however, I overcame that quickly when Flo was the first off the flight, and was cooed over and complimented on her ridge by a dog breeder who was waiting for her doberman pup. Flo looked so little in her big dog crate which she had carefully decorated with a puddle. She was certainly perky and happy to be out. On getting to the car I gave her a drink of water and she instantly recognised the water bottle as a potential chew toy. It’s a short drive from the airport to mine and Flo reminded me for the entire journey quite how fabulous her set of lungs were, and that she wasn’t afraid to use them. She also managed to chew the water bottle without breaking the pitiful cries. I think she was circular breathing. She’s going to fit in here just fine!
And so was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…