In November last year we decided that it was about time we added a new addition to our family in the form of a little furball. Our other fur baby Holly, turned eleven years old in October and as her face greys, I start to worry more and more about the prospect of life without her. I simply cannot bear the thought of life without her four little paws pattering around on the hard wood floor. I would absolutely hate to come home and not have her greeting me at the door with her little tail wagging. So I began to think more about bringing home a play mate for Holly, a fur baby for us to ease the pain of Holly getting older. It’s selfish, but I know that we have a lot of love to give and a home with lots of space for them both.
We originally looked at rescue centres but I was disappointed when a lot of them either didn’t respond at all or replied saying that we couldn’t have a young dog because we have an older dog. I thought that this was ridiculous and it actually made me quite cross. I know Holly really well, she likes other dogs and I’m confident in our skills as dog owners that we would be able to handle the new situation. Dogs are social creatures and if well socialised, are able to adapt easily to living with a new furry companion in a pack. I was especially upset because there are so many dogs needing new homes and to brush us off without meeting Holly meant that a young dog that could have had a chance in a home with us wasn’t allowed to. It seemed so silly. It was this notion that made us look at puppies.
Originally I wanted a Miniature Dachshund, but we have two flights of stairs and Dachshunds are at a higher risk of developing back issues if they are allowed to jump on furniture or trundle up and down stairs. Holly has run of the house, so it would have been unfair to restrict the new addition. So we decided to stick with a breed that we are very familiar with and that works with our lifestyle – another Jack Russell.
I saw an advert online for a female Jack Russell with brown fur. To cut a long story short, little Ivy was living in terrible conditions. Kept outside in freezing temperatures with her parents. She had fleas, worms and was covered in poop (lovely!). We took her to the vets, cleaned her up and welcomed her into our family. Holly was overjoyed at first but then spent a whole day of ignoring her and doing whatever she could to stay away from Ivy. After that day, Holly warmed to her and they began to form a nice bond. They groomed each other and snuggled up together. My heart swelled.
We chose the name Ivy because it was approaching the festive season when she moved in and it worked really well with the name Holly. I wasn’t sure for the first couple of days if it suited her because she was such a dainty thing (weighed exactly 1kg) and Ivy felt like a harsh name. After a couple of days it felt right and Ivy stuck.
The first few days were really hard. Ivy hadn’t lived in a house before and was in all honesty, a bit feral. She hadn’t been trained to toilet on a mat or anything, found even the smallest bit of fluff on the floor, hated being alone and cried through the night. Whilst we had puppy fever and loved her instantly, the disturbed nights were not fun. At the start of December our heating broke and we were worried about her being cold in the night. We invited her into our bed and she slept beautifully and so did we. Whilst sharing a bed with a dog isn’t to everyone’s taste, we honestly don’t mind and having a full night’s sleep is a massive bonus (although she still needs the loo around 6am).
Ivy also despises being left alone and has done from the start. She gets all cross and upset. It breaks my heart when I leave her but we have to. I’m not sure why she is so funny about it, we’ve tried lots of things. I think ultimately she’s just going to be one of those that doesn’t tolerate being left. We have to plan things carefully so she’s only ever left for a couple of hours although we believe that she settles ten minutes after we leave. I think it’ll get better when she’s a bit older. Either way, we’ll get there in the end.
After having Ivy for a couple of months now, we are quite convinced that she isn’t a pure bred Jack Russell and that she might be a chihuahua mix. Strangers on the street, vets and dog trainers have all commented on how much she resembles a chihuahua. We really don’t mind if she is a chihuahua mix – we love her anyway, but we are thinking to DNA test her just to know for sure.
In terms of personality, Ivy is very sweet. She’s loving, playful and just adorable. I love playing hide and seek with her. Her whole body wags with excitement and it’s just the cutest thing. In a non-creepy way, I love watching her sleep. She stretches her little neck out and looks so peaceful. Sometimes she still suckles in her sleep. It’s adorable and something that Holly never did. We are very lucky because she hasn’t really destroyed anything round the house although she is rather partial to a bit of light sock theft. When Ivy gets too tired she has a ‘grumpy face’. Lines form on her tiny forehead along with little bags under her eyes.
Ivy also demonstrates a variety of noises depending on her mood. She still makes ‘puppy’ noises when she is looking for Holly or can’t get up on a bed/sofa/somewhere she shouldn’t be. Ivy also bleets like a lamb when we come home, it’s an unusual noise that I’ve not heard a dog make before. She also has different noises for playing and is quite an emotionally vocal dog. Although never incessantly or without reason.
Another aspect of her personality is how brash she is. If Ivy doesn’t like something, she really doesn’t like it and there isn’t really a middle ground. The two things that she hates are bath time and being left. It’s almost like a military operation to bath her as she tries to wriggle out of the tub. I think this may stem from her previous owners but can’t be sure.
Something that I was very keen on was socialisation. We didn’t socialise Holly and although she likes other dogs, she won’t play with them. I wanted to make sure that Ivy is confident around other members of her species so we started taking her to puppy hour at a local garden centre (I like to call it puppy club). It’s run by Pets Corner, is completely free and great for socialisation. At first Ivy was terrified and wouldn’t move from the comfort of her blanket. We persevered and slowly her confidence has grown. Ivy will happily play with any dog big or small (until she gets tired!). It’s been really lovely talking to other owners and I basically get to hang out with puppies for an hour – who wouldn’t want to do that?! I’ll be so sad when Ivy outgrows puppy club, but I think we have a few more weeks left.
We also enrolled her at Puppy School to help with socialisation and training. Ivy is getting there, but still needs practice of some commands. Her recall is amazing though and I’m confident when letting her off leash.
We are very much in love with our new buddy and I’m just soaking up this bouncy puppy stage whilst I can. I can’t wait see more of her personality develop. At almost 5 months, Ivy is weighing in at 2.4kg. I’m not sure how big she will grow, but I believe she’s on track to be around 4kg, so quite small. I’ll post another update in a few weeks.
Have you got any pets?