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  • Writer's pictureKAREN BURNETT

I just knew he would be mine

Once upon a time, there was a little puppy boy that was born in St Michael's On Sea on the 5th May 2004, and found himself, along with his siblings, in a Pet Shop up for adoption. One by one his siblings were adopted, until one day he found himself being the very last puppy left in his glass enclosure. Where had they all gone?

It was around that time that I had decided to open my heart to another puppy. I was ready to be a "mum" again to a four-legged fluffy and of course it had to be a Spaniel. I wanted a girl... my first Spaniel had been a girl, and I just loved her to bits, so yes, I wanted another girl. I had been eagerly looking for a pup, but to no avail. I got a call one day from my sister, who said that she was out shopping and had popped into a Pet Shop for a browse and she had come across this puppy Spaniel, all alone in his glass cage. She said he was the cutest little boy and I should come straight away and have a look at him. I told her that I was looking for a girl puppy, but she insisted that he was just the cutest little boy and that he was in his cage innocently chasing a fly. "Come NOW, she insisted... you have to see him!". I reluctantly agreed, and jumped into the car, all the while knowing that once I saw him, I would not leave that Pet Shop without him.

When I arrived, I walked around cautiously looking for the Spaniel puppy... and there he was... all alone in his cage and just sitting there blinking at me. I knelt down and looked through the glass at him, eye to eye, and I just knew he would be mine. I walked over to the Assistant and said, please can I have a look at your Spaniel, I'm very interested in adopting him. They came and opened up his enclosure and I scooped him up. He was exactly as my sister had described... simply adorable in every way. He was calm, playful, cuddly and incredibly handsome. Quite small in build and I wondered why each of his siblings had been chosen before him... he was incredible! At that time my sister popped back in to the shop to find me and said, "well?" And I replied, "I'm taking him!"

I was in no-way ready for a puppy yet, so after buying him on the spot, we carried him in our arms to the Supermarket in the Centre and purchased a blanket, bowls and some good food. We got him a collar and lead and then drove home. I didn't even know what to name him, as I had a girl's name picked out, but the name came to me very quickly... "I will name you, Stirling". Not Sterling, like the Beer, even though his coat was a beautiful golden colour, but Stirling as in Stirling Moss, the English Racing Car Driver, or Stirling Mortlock, the Australian rugby player, or Stirling... a city in Scotland. I felt the name was strong, unusual and of course the fact that I am half Scottish helped too. So Stirling it was!

His first few nights he didn't have a bed, so I placed his blanket into a woven garden basket and put it on the floor next to my bed. It didn't have a flat base, so as he moved around it would tilt or wobble... he looked very cozy and comfy in there though and it would suffice until I could buy him a good bed. He was quite small in size and I was told that he was 12 weeks old and was the smallest in his litter, maybe the runt. He was such a good boy, with a soft and sensitive nature... he just wanted to please me. It was true love from the very first moment we saw each other.

(Happy Birthday, Stirly-birly, you would have been 19 years old today xx)

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