Alan's 1st Gotcha Day: A Year in Pictures
His ears turn inside out a lot, he’s the fastest dog on the park and he likes to greet us when we come home by prancing over with a toy in his mouth. I can’t believe we’ve had Alan for one whole year and in that time, he’s already become such a bold, intelligent and fearless little dog. So I thought I’d put all of his best bits of the year into a celebratory ‘1st Gotcha Day’ post.
On 15th March 2018, we drove to Wooley Edge (Wakefield) services at 5 in the morning to pick up our 4 month old Cyprus babe. A pup named Loco, that had been born in a rescue centre in Cyprus and then re-homed to us through the amazing Wild at Heart Foundation. It’s been an eventful year to say the least and as cliche as it sounds, I couldn’t possibly imagine life without Alan.
Since day 1 he’s been the boss. Whether that’s through barking, biting (something we’ve only just got under control) or peeing on the bed to mark his territory (yes that happened), it’s safe to say that Alan is a confident little guy. And although still quite timid around people, he’s absolutely fearless and loves nothing more than to zoom around through the Yorkshire countryside. He chases squirrels, jumps over metre high walls, paddles, trespasses in horses’ fields, teases dogs to chase him and dives through brambles after birds or anything else that smells worthy. He hates being on the lead, but he always comes back. Well, when you shout ‘biscuits’ he does.
One moment I’ll never forget, probably 2-3 months into owning Alan was when he decided to dive at us from the top of a wall. After running full pelt through a wooded area, he didn’t realise there was a steep drop at the end, which led to a bit of a tumble and a few whimpers. It was that heart stopping moment that I’m sure all dog owners experience, where you momentarily panic fearing the worst. But Alan being Alan, got right back up, had a shake, licked his lips and was off again.
Then there was the time he visited his first coffee shop and coincidently got to see the Pet Stories 1st Birthday Exhibition at Woodlawn Coffee. He’s still not 100% sure when we take him out with us, and never lies down or relaxes under the table, but I guess it’s just something that will come with time.
Over the year, we’ve developed an array of alternative names for Alan (some of which he actually responds to). Al, Alzy, Albatross, Puppo, Pupperino are just a few of my faves, not to mention the song. Yep there’s a song. All you need to know is that it’s super catchy and I’m that dog owner I swore I’d never become.
By the Summer Alan swapped the Yorkshire Dales for the Bamburgh sand dunes and visited the beach for the first time. He dug holes, lost his ball in the sea and flew up and down the beach without breaking a sweat. We have family based up there, so it’s a beach trip we get to do quite often and every time, Alan gets braver and crazier with the sights, smells and sounds of the beach.
It was also in Summer that Alan was reunited with two of his siblings. We are so lucky to be able to keep in touch with all of Alan’s sibling’s owners as well as the lovely women who rescued his mum via a Facebook chat. Being part of this group has also meant that we found out the exact breed mix of Alan, as we all shared the cost of a DNA test. So, drum roll, Alan is officially a mix of … Beagle, Basset Hound, Viszla, Cocker Spaniel and Miniature Poodle. Yep we were all pretty shocked too!
His first sibling reunion was with his sister Roo and I’ll never forget his little face and wagging tail the moment he spotted her in the carpark. It was bizarre watching them both play. All of the rough and tumble that usually we have to apologise to other dog owners for, seemed to suddenly make sense. It was as if no time had passed and Alan and Roo were right back to being teeny tiny pups, playing as they would in Cyprus. They didn’t stop nipping at each other’s tails and nicking each other’s sticks (or coffee cup), both wanting to be the chase-ee.
Then a few months later Alan was reunited with his brother Dudley. They shared an ice cream, chased each other through water and wrestled over sticks. It was interesting to see a totally different dynamic between these two. It was almost as if Alan knew that Dudley was in charge, but he wanted to show off and play up to the hierarchy. A bit like Dudley was his cool older brother who he wanted to impress.
A highlight for me has been discovering new places we never probably would’ve visited if it wasn’t for owning a dog. There’s been countless dog walks in Calverley Wood, Alan’s favourite spot to explore. Full of random paths, intercepting streams and ninja squirrels that will never be caught (not like the one in the park, but we won’t dwell on that, the poor little guy). He knows these woods inside out and it’s one of my greatest pleasures seeing him in his element.
Another proud pawrent moment was when we tried Alan out on his first canalside bike ride. We were a bit worried to begin with incase he ran infront of us but he was absolutely fine. The next milestone is going to be a full on mountain bike ride.
Before we knew it we were celebrating Alan’s 1st birthday in November! We knew the date because it was on his doggy passport. He opened presents in bed, a tradition that he chose to carry over to both mine and Nik’s birthdays too (I don’t think he’ll ever tire from ripping up wrapping paper). Then we took a trip to the spot I’m sure most dog owners of West Yorkshire choose for their pup’s birthdays - Salami & Co - best Puppacinos in town.
By Christmas, Alan had started to mellow out. He knew his routine, he liked his comfort and he was ready for his first Christmas with us, even if it meant he had to wear those ridiculous antlers I made. More presents, more wrapping paper, more Bamburgh beach walks - he was a happy little chappy.
And over the course of the year, he’s had countless pictures taken in his fave spot - the bed. Everytime I photograph him here I see a new picture; he could be in the exact same pose as the last, but different light and a different mood make for new keepsakes. He’s always content and always cute so it will always be my favourite place to photograph him.
So, a bit of a lengthy post, but that’s what happens when you’ve had such an eventful year with a pup that’s got so much personality. From the little excited yawn squeal he makes when his harness goes on, to his grumpy growls when you try and wake him up, he makes us smile everyday. He’s my little buddy when I’m working from home, my little adventurer when we’re out and about and a little cuddle monster when he can be fussed … he’s our Alan.
If you’ve got a Gotcha Day coming up I’d love to hear about all of your best bits with your little pal too. Or if you would like photos capturing exactly what you love, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org