26th August is International Dog Day: a chance to celebrate the love our four-footed friends bring to our homes. Today we welcome guest blogger Linda Mawle and her beautiful dog Willow.

"I was never a dog person, but not for any particular reason. There was the issue of my general allergy to anything furry but this was only a part of my resistance, but it was mainly because of lack of experience and exposure really. I saw people as either ‘dog people’ or ‘non-dog people’ and had myself firmly placed in the ‘non-dog people’ camp.

"I never had pets growing up, had no friends or family with dogs that we saw regularly and really had no desire to add a slobbering, hairy, smelly element to an already busy and crazy enough household…. Or so I thought!

"Enter my children… three opiniated small people who had other ideas for my dog free life.

"Now I would never recommend the parenting technique of caving in to your children’s continual nagging for anything really but their incessant dog demands (luckily for them) coincided with moving house to somewhere with a lovely big dog friendly garden. Also, a husband now working from home, them being old enough and responsible enough to help with the care and (possibly what can only be described for me) as a minor midlife crisis at the age of 40 where suddenly my defenses were lowered and thoughts of a dog suddenly seemed like a good idea.

"December 2018 – this small bundle of fluff entered our life, home and hearts!

"Willow - the Cavapoochon and the best thing we never knew we ever needed!

"So, what’s the reality for a ‘non dog person’ converting to the ‘dog side’!

"We just love her! Suddenly the pitter patter of tiny feet on a wooden floor is a sound that makes us smile. She’s the fluffiest, waggiest, people-loving little thing and she breaks hearts on every walk we go on.

"She’s got her fan club of locals to give a cheeky lick to on her walks around Hednesford park and despite my initial hesitations I’m the president of that fan club!

"It’s true, you need a dog when your own children become teenagers so that at some one in the household is pleased to see you when you get home. She’s become my little shadow and totally the key member of our family pack.

"Do I now think all dogs are amazing? Not quite! But their slobbering hairiness doesn’t bother me as much as it used to! Do I think my own dog is amazing….absolutely! A Bit like teenagers really, I’m not keen on them all but I quite like my own!

"So what has this initially reluctant but now converted dog owner learnt in the last 18 months?

  • A dog really does make a house a home.
  • True love for an animal does exist.
  • Tail wagging is the craziest thing.
  • The licking is ok!
  • All you need is a ball for hours of fun.
  • Dogs can calm your mind and heart.
  • Not all dogs make me sneeze.

A dog really can be a man’s/ woman’s best friend…even for this previous non dog person…. Who knew!"