Dogs have been an essential part of my life, since I was a child.
I've lived abroad, for many years, in countries where dogs are cherished and others where they are not. In Greece, after taking 3 dogs who had been dumped, into my home, I managed to re-home all three.
In Switzerland, we had one Labrador, Leeroy Ryan von Haselberg, who was vice-champion in his class, at the Swiss Retriever Club annual show, 2005.
In 2006, I took my current dog, Chicco, out of a muddy field, on the Swiss/French border. Although pure bred, (Chesapeake Bay Retriever) he was still living with his siblings and parents, at 6 months old. From a dog development perspective, this is all wrong. Chicco found it hard to settle in with our other Labradors and it took a lot of love and work to turn him into the wonderful dog he is today.
The hardest part of owning a dog, is saying good-bye. I nursed our second von Haselberg Labrador, Harpo, through six months of terminal cancer. When the end came, I sat up with him, for 36 hours. I' m glad I did.
Now that I am early retired, I have some time on my hands. I can't think of a better way to occupy those hours, than to take care of dogs. We live in a bungalow in the quiet village of Harpole, where there is plenty of scope for walks. This is a village of dog lovers.