On the weekend when we discovered that our second attempt at IVF had gone really disastrously wrong, we were desperate to find some respite from the hell we were experiencing. We hit on the plan to drive out into the Yorkshire Dales, and to have Sunday lunch at a pub we know that serves excellent food. As we drove into the village where the pub is, we spotted a man walking a Welsh terrier. To most people this would not be cause for undue excitement, but I am absolutely crazy about Welsh terriers: every year, I sit through the whole of the television coverage of Crufts, just in the hope of catching a glimpse of black and tan, bearded gorgeousness (picture above, for those who may be unaware of just how adorable Welshies are).
By the time we had parked the car, the Welshie had caught up with us. And so I did a very bold thing: I went up to the owner, and told him how much we liked his dog, and commented on how unusual it was to see a Welsh terrier (they are not a terribly common breed). He replied that it was even more unusual to meet someone who actually knew what type of dog she was: most people tended to assume that she was an Airedale puppy. 'Oh, I like Airedales,' I remarked, 'but I much prefer Welshies.' 'Me too!', the Welsh Terrier Man exclaimed. By now, we had clearly bonded, and so he told me all about his dog: how her name was Jenny, how her beard wasn't normally that colour, but she'd been eating beetroot that morning, and how she was Very Good With Children. Then he asked me if I would mind very much looking after Jenny for a couple of minutes, while he popped into the village hall to deliver some leaflets.
And so, for a brief moment, I got to live out my fantasy of owning a Welsh terrier. Jenny stayed with me trustingly, and I got to see her being Good With Children.
When the Welsh Terrier Man returned from dropping off his leaflets, he mentioned that they were thinking of breeding from Jenny later in the year, and would we perhaps be interested in taking a puppy? We said that we certainly were, and gave him our email address.
Since then, Mr H has attempted to buoy me up with thoughts of Welshie puppies. I, on the other hand, have tried not to dwell too much on the idea. I presumed that the Welsh Terrier Man would have got home and promptly forgotten about or lost the piece of paper with my email address on it.
But then, a few weeks ago, we received an email from the Welsh Terrier Man saying that Jenny had had a litter of five puppies, and asking whether we were still interested in taking one.
Mr H has been all for the idea of a puppy. But Mr H spends at least three weeks out of every four working away from home. He was down in London last week, and is in the Hague this week. He then has another fortnight's work in London, before heading out to Madrid for three weeks. Were we to take one of the puppies, that puppy would therefore be primarily my responsibility.
My heart has been saying, 'puppy, puppy, puppy, yes, yes, yes.' I have dreamt of owning a Welsh terrier for years and years, and now I have the opportunity to buy one that has been that has been reared in a home environment, rather than by a professional breeder. I have met the mother, who is a family pet rather than a show dog, and am confident that she has a beautiful temperament. Were I not pregnant, the decision would have been made in a flash.
But I am three months' pregnant, and so our circumstances may well change radically in another six months' time. As I mentioned above, Mr H works away from home a lot, and so I will be flying solo for much of the time. In all honesty, I'm not sure how I would find the time and energy to walk a dog twice a day while also caring for a new-born baby by myself. It doesn't seem fair to make the commitment to having a dog knowing that I may subsequently not be able to honour that commitment. It would break my heart if we finished up having to re-home our beloved Welshie because we could no longer cope with him.
And so I have just taken a deep breath and rung the Welsh Terrier Man to explain the situation, and to tell him that we will not be able to take a puppy after all.
Please tell me that I have made the right decision!