The ineffable Lettice, a red Smooth Miniature Dachshund, luxe-ing it up at Soho Farmhouse.
This post was written in association with Pedigree.
I never saw myself as a dog person. There were no dogs at home when I was growing up; I was a cat person through and through, from my first kitten at the age of five, the inimitable Sylvie Pilchard Jubilee Wilkins to my last, the glorious Nutmeg, who crossed the rainbow bridge when I was in my early twenties.
To me small dogs were annoying yappers, and big dogs just a bit gross, all flying drool and muddy paws. In my limited experience, you couldn’t snuggle in bed with a dog like you could a cat, and they lacked both the instinctive empathy of the feline, and the sleek lines.
I believed that comparing cats and dogs was like putting an Aston Martin next to a VW Beetle.
And then along came Posetta Baddog. After a Christmas party in Leicestershire some twelve or so years ago my sister Holly came home all fired up: she’d spent the evening with a black and tan Miniature Dachshund called Buster, and rather lost her heart.
Even I could see the appeal; I think Buster had set off deep-seated affectionate memories in both of us of our grandparents’ sausage dogs – on both sides. My father’s mother had Freddie the red Mini Smooth and, in her retirement, my mother’s mother had a luxuriant Long Hair Mini called Fritzen von Hanover, whom she used to parade down the Balcon de Europa in Nerja, Spain at cocktail hour. (Imagine Granny in a floor-length kaftan, diamante aviators and an auburn Elizabeth Taylor-style wig, and you’ll get the picture.)
So we talked about maybe getting a sausage dog who would live with Holly, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her twenties, and was now medically retired and based at home all day. Holly called a number she had been given for a woman who co-ordinated Dachshunds that needed re-homing and, a few short weeks later, she travelled down to the South-West by train to meet, and collect Posetta, or Rosebud as she was then known, a beautiful Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshund. (Or sausage dog, as we like to call them in England.)
Reader, that naughty dog stole our hearts. She was feisty, bloody-minded, bite-y, with so much attitude that Briony suggested we shorten her name to P Bad. But she was also fiercely loyal, astonishingly intelligent. snuggly, funny, affectionate and adored by us both.
Learning to look after Posetta really was an immersion course into the World of Dog. Grooming, dentistry, fitness, vaccinations, nutrition: there is a lot to understand when you undertake to live with a dog. And that education continued when our second sausage dog, Lettice the red Smooth Miniature Dachshund, came to live with me.
I had absolutely no idea, for example, that dogs need to have their teeth checked annually by the dentist, and that it’s extremely important to give them raw meaty bones, and denti-sticks to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Likewise, a balanced diet is of the utmost importance: feed a dog just wet food and you’ll be learning ALL about the horror of the unexpressed anal gland. (You can imagine my joy when I found this out by default.) Basically, without lots of good fibre in a dog’s diet, it produces soft poos which don’t release the gland’s bottom-lubricating oils, and the subsequent build up of that liquid can cause a dog lots of pain, (and bottom-related grim-ness).
I have to hold my hands up here: I ran out of dog bic for my darling dog Lettice and fed her wet food alone for a few weeks whilst I was waiting for an online order to arrive. Cue a horrific session with my sister dealing with poor Lettice’s bottom in the bath. Lettice was deeply unamused. For a while afterwards each time I dropped her off at my sister’s for a mini-break she would drop her bottom to the floor when the front door opened. (I should point out here that any dog groomer will deal with this for you if you can’t face doing it yourself.)
I was mortified that I had inadvertently caused my darling dog so much discomfort, so it was extremely good timing when Pedigree got in touch a few weeks later to ask me if I would like to try feedingLettice Pedigree’s Dry Dog Food, which has been scientifically designed to help protect a dog’s health, skin, coat, immunity and, very importantly, as I have found out in Lettice’s case, their digestive system.
I am very happy to report that after several weeks of feeding Letty a properly balanced diet with all the lovely fibre supplied by her Pedigree Dry Food, her digestive system – and bottom – are in peak working order, and never again will I have to beg my sister to, um, squeeze, her bum.
And, as an added bonus, her coat is all super shiny, rather like a greased otter, and her squirrel-bothering and large dog-chasing prowess is at peak performance.
For additional pet care information you can read the following PEDIGREE® Reviews for tips and advice.