In light of my very sad last post, this seems a little “neeeeeeeext!” but we’d actually started the adoption process before Carbon died (we had just got back from getting a vet reference when we found him) and we thought it would be unfair to Lily to leave her at the shelter for longer than necessary.

We’ve casually wanted a dog for ages but last November, we decided we should actually get one rather than just pining after one indefinitely. Since then, we’ve been on the look out for the perfect pup for us – ie, one that’s great with cats. No particular breed preferences, not bothered about it being a boy or a girl, and no preferences over a puppy or older dog (although ideally we’d like one under 5) – just good with cats. Given most rescue dogs don’t have a known history, known cat-friendly dogs are pretty thin on the ground. I’d bookmarked pretty much ever shelter in the M62 corridor and probably melted their servers with my frequent visits.

Lily is from the Dogs Trust in Liverpool. We went over there last weekend to meet another dog mentioned on the site – a lab cross – on the way to see my mum & dad. The lovely people at the shelter didn’t think the other dog would be suitable with cats after all – but have you seen this old girl? We talked to Lil in her kennel for a few minutes – when her whiny cone-headed cellmate Ben let us get a word in – then took her for a walk. By the time we got back to the reception, we were smitten – and if we weren’t, she then did a meerkat thing which sealed the deal. She’d previously lived with two cats so they were pretty confident she’d be ok with them but did a cat test (imagine a cat being poked into a room on a big stick – it’s nothing like that but it’s a funny image) anyway – she passed with flying colours, barely even acknowledging its existence.

We picked her up this morning. Her file said she was terrified riding in cars but as soon as she jumped in the boot of ours, she sat down quietly and curled up for the journey home (these photos were taken mid-M62). As soon as we stopped the car, she stood up, tailing waggy, ready to start her new adventure! We took her inside, introduced her to the scared but curious cats (they’ll come around, she was brilliant) then had some lunch – while we were eating our sandwiches, she sat quietly on the floor then as soon as we were finished, jumped on the sofa between us and curled up in a ball. Home.

At nine, she’s a little older than we’d anticipated but my, she’s a sprightly nine year old. We couldn’t have handled her when she was younger – she pulled me all over the place on our first walk this afternoon – including into the beck! Springer spaniels live on average for 12-15 years so we might not have her *that* long but she has many advantages being older – she knows how to be a dog which is very useful for us first time dog owners. I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun together.