I decided I wanted a puppy four days before the second lockdown. My brother and his family had been staying at the time, with Domino, their spaniel/lurcher mix. Domino took a shine to me, and I took her on a few walks. She would run off, hunt for pheasants in the surrounding fields, woods and hedgerows and then come back to check I was still there. It was endearing.
As with the first lockdown, I have been back with my parents in Norfolk, but this time circumstances are a little different. My dad has prostate cancer and it has advanced rapidly. He is now in a hospice, and unless God works a miracle, he does not have long. So it is just me and mum at home.
Mum had a miniature smooth haired dachshund called Peter when she was a child and always said she would like another dachshund one day. I searched on gumtree to have a look and it just so happened that there were smooth haired dachshunds for sale in Lowestoft, only half an hour from us. I called the owners, and we made an appointment to visit the next day, as the second lockdown was imminent.
Out of a litter of eight, there were three puppies left, two girls and one boy, with each selling for £1,600. That seemed steep, until my sister-in-law told me dachshund puppies were going for £3,000 in Hampshire. (Lockdown has hiked up the price of puppies this year). I was hesitant but, serendipitously, I received an unexpected amount of money recently. This summer I was in a car crash and another car drove into mine while I was at a red light. My car was a write-off but I was fine apart from a bit of whiplash. The insurance company paid out £1,700 for my whiplash injury, at just the time I was thinking of buying a puppy.
When we met the owners, Mum told them about Dad being in hospital, and said that if he had been with us, he would be telling them about Jesus. The breeder beamed, ‘We are born again Christians!’ she said, and went to find her baptism certificate to show us.
After viewing the puppies, we went for a little walk to make the decision but it was unanimous: we would buy the runt, the smallest female puppy and call her Maudie.
Maudie is now home with us and has a cage in the kitchen. She is definitely not yet house-trained but I thank God every day for her. She has brought joy, distraction and company at a very hard time in our family.
I believe getting Maudie was divinely inspired and she has been the gift of lockdown. She is of great comfort to mum and I hope will continue to be for many years to come.