Meet Spark …our accidental emotional support dog

Meet Spark 

Spark is the latest, accidental, addition to our family. He’s totally adorable and fluffy and has the same energy as a Tasmanian devil on Red Bull.

He chews … Everything!

He’s learning not to eat his best friends ( Max the cat, Guinness the guinea pig, and John the tortoise) to please go outside to the bathroom and to play fetch with his little human.

He wants to try everything that looks like food, barks at himself in the mirror and wakes this mamma up in the early hours just to be picked up onto the bed.

And once he’s annoyed every last nerve you have, he bounces about and licks the love back in you with his puppy breathe.

He’s cute ….and he knows it!

Accidental adoption

I’m the first to tell you, I’m not a very big dog person, in fact of the dogs we’ve had over the years, only one, Shep – a rescue cross Labrador, ever won my heart.

So, how did we end up with a new puppy?

I want to tell you it was a blind sighted moment but our puppy all began with our awful neighbours.

Since moving into our new home, we’ve discovered that our increadibly loud, annoying and toxic neighbours like to fight with each other all hours of the day and night.

The fighting is horrendous! It’s non- stop and within a small urban complex, their fighting is like a constant stream out of some gang related horror movie. With profanities and name calling, loud screeches and kids crying ….it borders on abuse not just within their home but to everyone who is within ear shot.

Unfortunately, the walls are also paper thin and this toxic mess of noise started to weigh into our home. We could no longer enjoy a Sunday morning lie in or have Hamish play in the yard as their arguments were constantly occurring and echoing into our rooms and garden.

The holidays were the worst as they obviously mixed alcohol, loud music and a complete disrespect for their neighbours with their usual dislike towards each other, creating an even louder argument.

Talking to them didn’t help. Nor did putting in several complaints.

We started to rethink renewing our lease, especially when my normally happy and confident child started to cover his ears at every loud sound, not only their shouting.

I was horrified. We live very quietly and I realised if this was the impact from the external noise of others fighting on him, imagine what their two babies were trying to internalize and live through, as they grow up amidst their parents immature lack of communication skills.

It was at this point that I realised, just how much their toxic environment had filtered into our home!

Emotional support

We started to close doors and windows more, and I became more vocal about expressing my disgust at their behaviour, to them personally and others by putting in several complaints.

As a mother, my job is not to be liked, it’s to do the hard things, advocate for my child and keep him safe.

I began to feel like, we were going to need to move as I couldn’t watch my child become anxious, nor could I live within such a toxic space.

Then, someone was giving away puppies!

I’ve long believed that every child needs a pet, and whilst our home has a few, there is a special bond between children and dogs.

A dog will play with you and is loyal. They lie at your feet, look for attention and are always happy to see you. They make great play mates, confidants, and best friends.

I remember reading about a young boy whose dog became the one “person” he could share his feelings with and talk honestly too when the day was ending. So, although we encourage open conversation and are constantly talking about our emotions with Hamish, I also know kids can’t always talk openly. Sometimes, they just need a silent friend to listen to their problems, emotions, or how their day went.

I’m also very aware of the use of animals in therapy, as emotional support and the huge calming affect they have not just on children, but on adults too.

All of these thoughts filtered through my mind as I saw the photo of these little Jack Russell cross puppies, and as I text back please keep me the one I’ve circled!

Choosing the right dog

And that is how Spark, an eight week old ball of fluff came to live with us in March.

I have to be honest, I would not have said yes to another dog. Our home is small so choosing a dog meant that I had to take a few things into consideration.

  • The size of our home and the size that the dog will grow into
  • The dogs energy level and needs ( Thankfully, him and Hamish both have the same amount of energy and keep each other busy running around the yard and house)
  • How much time we had to spend with the dog.
  • How much he eats and our budget ( Pets don’t come cheap and you need to feed them, get inoculations,  etc)

Spark is a small breed, so he’s easy for us to keep with our small garden. He’s an inside dog who isn’t likely to shed too much hair everywhere, and he’s small enough to go on drives in the car with us and sleep on our beds.

Teaching responsibility

We also decided, as he was to be Hamishs new best friend, that we would allow Hamish the responsibility of cleaning up after him and feeding him.

A task that Hamish does without any argument. He happily cleans his dogs mess and has risen to the challenge of being responsible.

It’s important to teach a child that pets are not toys. They are responsibility. They are hard work and they rely on humans not only for love and cuddles but to eat and stay healthy too.

Pets teach our children so much, not only responsibility, but empathy, friendship, and kindness too.

Happy Space

In the last two months, I’ve seen my child slowly become himself again.

Spark and him go on long wild adventures each day and it’s no doubt that they are best friends.

Hamish is no longer jumping at loud noises, or holding his ears if the sound around him is too loud.

As for our neighbours, they were finally after 10 months of us living with their disruptions, disciplined by a body corporate or their own bad behaviour being displayed on our complex whatsapp group, because this mamma was not about to be threatened by a twenty – odd year old boy after asking them not to scream outside my door,  and take it quietly.

They have become quiet, so, we are thankfully not subjected to their toxic noise at the moment and hopefully their children are living in a calmer environment.

The complex has also subscribed to Complex Patrol, allowing the residents more safety knowing we have a team of people ready to stand up for our rights to live in a quiet and calm space.

And Spark …he’s settled in nicely with his forever family, plays with his new fur friends and spends his days loving his little human. ❤️

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