1. What made you get your dog in the first place?
We lost our Patterdale of 17 years, our son started his own little family and we moved house. My husband is a dog handler for the Prison Service and we have a beautiful German Shepherd, Sam. Sam lives at home with us, but I wanted a dog for company when the boys were at work. Coco was for sale on a local site, the family had a genuine reason for re-homing her and we fell in love in straight away. We brought Coco to live with us in the August of 2019, she was 4 months old.
2. Why did you choose that breed?
We had discussed having another house dog but were unsure as to which breed to get. We were in the Asda car park when we saw a very comical looking Frenchie sat in the driving seat of a car. We decided there and then to get a Frenchie. We researched the breed and were aware of the possibility of issues, but didn’t think it would happen to us.
3. What is the most rewarding thing you have found about owning a pet?
Coco is a delight: loving, funny and more than a little mischievous! We love her to bits. Coco and Sam are best friends, although he does have the patience of a saint.
4. Have you encountered any problems (illnesses, behavioural, social) with Coco?
Yes, one day I noticed Coco shaking and she just didn’t seem right. We assumed she had eaten something she shouldn’t have and contacted our vet. It was at the beginning of lockdown, so we had a phone consultation with our vet and he asked us to bring her to his surgery. After an overnight stay and X-ray it was noted that it could be a spinal issue (common in this breed) she was prescribed pain meds and total rest. We had the most awful few weeks, Coco was not getting any better. We seriously considered euthanasia, she was so unhappy and in pain, we thought we would never get the playful pup back. The vet referred her for a MRI/CT scan, after much deliberation she was found to have an infection around her spinal cord. Two weeks on antibiotics and the change was remarkable. She still has pain meds, but we are in the process of weaning her off of them. Scratch & Patch were a life saver. The lady I initially spoke to on the phone, was so kind and talked me through everything. Being upset it was difficult to take information and advice in correctly or even to fill in a form. Communication and understanding are definitely Scratch & Patch strong points.
5. What is your top tip for people thinking about adding a pet to their family?
Be aware of the time and commitment that keeping a pet requires. You have to consider leaving them alone if you are working, holidays, other pets, children. Pets are a massive commitment but well worth it. Always insure your pet, for our previous dog we barely had to visit a vet other than for inoculation purposes, but for Coco it was a life saver. I would not be without it.
6. Do you have any funny stories to share with us about Coco?
Life is a funny story with our little whirlwind! One time she destroyed a stuffed toy and resembled Father Christmas where the stuffing had stuck to her face. Every time I tried to get it off she thought it was a game and ran off. Sam our working dog lives in a large kennel outside. One afternoon I was beside myself searching for Coco, I was convinced she had been stolen, escaped etc. Sam was happily sleeping in his kennel. On closer inspection I noticed a little brown bundle looking up at me and feeling sorry for herself. She had squeezed underneath the kennel door and couldn’t get out.
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