What would you do differently?

I’m Mum’s first dog. And then George came along.

We came into her life under different circumstances.

Mum got me as a puppy. She has never had a dog before and in fact there was no room in her life for a dog. But things changed – and she thought bringing a puppy in her life might help resolve some issues. Obviously that was not the right reason to get a dog – you live and learn.

By the time she became a failed fosterer and George became part of our family, she was at a different stage in her life. I think I helped to open her heart and she loved BIG when it came to dogs.

But it wasn’t always like this. I know Mum struggled with me at the beginning. She often wish she had been more present with me when I was a pup – not just being with me but connecting with me. So when Belinda asked a question – What would you do differently if you have a puppy now that you didn’t do the first time around?

Well, that got Mum thinking …

May’s comment: If I had to do it all over again, I would …

Play more with Darcy.

I really didn’t know what I was doing and this was pre-Facebook and Dog Forums. I didn’t know anyone with a dog with whom I could speak to. I never had a dog growing up, and never really encountered dogs. In fact, I avoided them. Yes, I was overwhelmed. And because of that, I’ve missed her days of puppy-dom.

When speaking to someone while on the search for a dog-trainer before Darcy arrived, the person said in parting – “Enjoy the puppydom. They grow up very fast.”

Years later, I remember well what he had said and it is with regret when I think that I actually did miss her puppydom.

I was very strict with Darcy. I disciplined her. When she wouldn’t stop pulling on the leash, I would get so annoyed and embarrassed. I kept her behind a baby gate to stop her from destroying anything. But I can remember maybe three things she had chewed. Yes, she gutted every one of her toys, but that was fine. What was not fine was a small hole at the back of one my my Ugg boots – which defeated the whole purpose of wearing these warm boots. And another time she almost chewed the tongs of a slipper but not completely – so it could still be worn. And one time she took something from the bathroom that I had left out and tore it apart with much glee. So she was really by no means a naughty pup, but I was so into making her the “perfect dog” that I forgot to play. I suggested to my friend, Mairi not to play tug-o-war with her. Why, she had asked. It riled her up, and we don’t want a crazy dog. She didn’t heed what I said and continued playing with Darcy. And quietly, she said – “YOU need to play. That’s what puppies do. That’s what puppies make you do.” I heard what she said and took note. But I didn’t play.

Darcy is by nature mostly a well-behaved dog, quite subdued and serious.

Or is she? Did I make her that way?

When she is with me walking in the park, she knows I don’t want her walking into puddles. And I don’t want her rolling around on the grass. But I have given up having her walking to heel when in the park because she loves to run and she runs with joy. And when I see her running happily, being her free-spirited self or on the hunt for squirrels, I stop and remember – she is a dog. Let her do what she loves most when all the other times she does what I want her to do.

Looking out for squirrels.

And even though she’s irritating when she decides to play tug-o-war with her leash these days, I appreciate that crazy side of her. Maybe even a little relieved to know that I have not completely squashed her zest for life.

So when I answered Belinda and told her I regret being such a disciplinarian, her answer – “But the way she is, is right for your lifestyle.”

That’s true, I suppose. With all the travels that we do together, and for her to be with me, she does need to be calm and she does need to be aware of what I need her to do.

Another regret? Or maybe – what would I have done differently?

Taken more photos of her when she was a puppy.

In my bewilderment, and eight years ago, the iPhone cameras weren’t that good and we had no Blog, Facebook nor Instagram on which to post pictures, I hardly took any. This was one of the few photos that I had taken.

Darcy at around six months

She was super cute. We were constantly stopped on the streets. If I could turn back time …

One of my all time favourites – can’t even remember how old she was but definitely less than a year.

I would stop being focused on myself and enjoy the delights of a puppy. I would have thousands more photos of her.

With George, he already had a personality and a life before we met. He was no longer a puppy.

He too, I have no puppy pictures of him. He came fully grown and with issues. LOL!

We went through a difficult time too – he didn’t know how to co-exist in our world.

But we had lots of photos of George!

What would you do differently?



    You did what you thought was right at the time May. Darcy loves you, no matter what,and it is abundantly clear how much you love her and George

  2. Sue Westhead

    Oh May, Darcy couldn’t have a better mum than you. It’s obvious from your blogs that she is so important – first even – in your life. If you had done all the things you wished you had done, Darcy would still have had the same lovely personality that she possesses now. None of us is perfect – but I’m sure you are perfect to Darcy. Xxx

  3. James Glover

    What a beautiful blog. Dante was our first dog too and we were perhaps the opposite. I was always worried that if I told him off I would be hurting his feelings and he wouldn’t love me. How little I knew about dogs back then! 😂
    If it’s any consolation if we had another dog I would put more effort into training 💜🐾

  4. Maureen Dell

    I think the only way that we learn and grow is when we look into our soul. I was like that with our two Yorkshire terriers, always on their best behaviour and so well groomed and ‘dressed’ that I forgot to enjoy their puppyhood. My Cavachon now is 6 years old and I have a completely different relationship with her, enjoyed the experience from the day she arrived. We do what we feel is right at the time. Darcy and George are loved beyond words ♥️♥️

  5. Sue

    I was just saying to my husband last night that I wish we could take our 2 to coffee shops and cafes but we can’t. They get too excited seeing other dogs. My husband walks our 2 at 4.30 in the morning so it is easier (for the same reason). We eventually decided to just accept the situation (after $1000’s of dollars on trainers) and still love every minute with them by accepting the challenges.

  6. Liz Burman

    I think your two pooches have the perfect life. They go just about everywhere with you, something that would have been very difficult had you not trained them so well. Dog’s are a little bit like children they need to know their boundaries. They are well fed, comfortably housed and most of all LOVED! Pups are a full time job when they’re little. I’m not a morning person and I remember only too well being woken at 6.00am by Elsie demanding breakfast, and being faced with dirty pee pads, which she loved to drag around the house with me in hot persuit! LOL. I really thought I’d made a terrible mistake our first four weeks together!! Now I just can’t imagine life with her not in it.🐾❤️

  7. Sian

    I remember meeting Darcy, the puppy, on the streets in Chelsea! How beautiful and well mannered she was. I remember wondering why my Pippa wasn’t as polished and refined. Then they became friends and I saw the similarities more than the difference. They were both dogs after all! I still think fondly of their play dates and how Craig and I took them to Kensington Garden’s. They ran and frolicked and got muddy to their core!!
    Then they came home and slept on the tile floor, exhausted and satisfied!!
    What wonderful companions they have been to us!!!
    I am so thankful we met on the street!!! Your beautiful Darcy!!! She has been not only your baby but a connection to many!!!

    • Miss Darcy

      Sian, I remember all that fondly. Yes she has been my connection to many. And as someone said, let the past be and look forward. Wish you were still around the corner from us. Maybe next trip will be Chicago. 😊

  8. Alison Mullett

    This is a question I’ve frequently asked; not about my wonderful Cockapoo but about my two daughters!!! And strangely my answers would be the same as yours! I wish I’d been less of a disciplinarian; played more and taken more photos. But with my Cockapoo it’s been different. I’d had experience since the age of 8 with dogs so I could look and reflect on my mistakes. But yet I still have made errors of judgement. However like humans every dog is different. There is no winning formula or handbook. But like my children I hope my dogs know I may not have been perfect as a parent but that I love them to bits.
    Darcy and George know this about you and it’s all they need. Keep doing what your doing in the knowledge that they know your love for them.

  9. Eppie Dyann Giles

    I don’t think I would change anything. As I love the loud, crazy, fun angle she is now.

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