Pigpen didn't want a dog. MR convinced him, saying "We'll just get a medium-sized dog..."
For most people, including Pigpen, "medium-sized" does not mean thirty kilos.
However, we were determined. We drove a five-hour round trip with Miss H in tow to visit the litter at seven weeks and this is what we found.
A crate of nine puppies; three blonde and five black. They all got let out of the crate and Miss H and I sat on the floor while they crawled all over us and licked and nipped us. It was more adorable than a Care Bear hug.
We quickly established that all the blonde ones were the most bitey, the boys were most attention seeking and the three little girls we had to choose from all had incredibly distinct personalities. One was incredibly shy, lurking under a bush away from the rest of the group. Miss H actually asked the breeders if she was the runt and he replied "No, you always get a thinker".
The other two were much less mellow; one spent the entire hour leaping on us and nipping our trousers whereas the last one was somewhere inbetween. She had spent a long time licking our faces and smiling at us, but she had also had a nice wander round, exploring the garden. She also had a little white flash on her chest.
She was gorgeous. We quickly decided she was ours.
We had to wait two weeks until we could pick her up, one week of which would be spent on holiday in Croatia. We collected the newly named Darcy at 9 weeks home and put her in her new crate to take home. She was as adorable and friendly as we had remembered.
Half an hour later, this was not the case.
She had already been sick twice, salivated endlessly all over her body and done the most horrifyingly liquid, yellow poo all over her new purple blanket. The gorgeous, cuddly bundle of fluff we had collected from the farm was now dripping, stinking and barking endlessly.
We got her home and settled into her new home, our conservatory (until she was toilet trained at least). She seemed happy, excited and generally delighted by all the attention we were giving her.
I quickly got into the rhythm of having a puppy. Early mornings and straight outside, getting her innoculated, playing with her and lots of cuddles. She grew quickly and, luckily, we didn't have any problems toilet training her or with her crying at night. She also became quite the cheeky character, always throwing herself into play-bows and wanting her tummy rubbed.
Over the past year we've grown together. Darcy is now nearly fully grown at twenty kilogrammes and loves having puppy fights and chases with other dogs. She has had several hair cuts, one perfect and two embarrassing and she has inspired a friend of mine to get their own 'Doodle. As for me, I have been through tumultuous medication changes, various abrupt changes in life direction and intensive therapy sessions; none so helpful as my daily walks with my faithful, furry companion.
Her favourite snacks are carrot sticks and her best friend is Louie. She makes me laugh every day. Her yawns sound like a really noisy zip and she monitors all of our behaviour constantly by following us around. I mean, there have been the occasional traumas but it's mostly been a joy being a dog owner for the first time.
A year since Darcy was born and I am a completely different person. I wake up every morning excited to see my puppy's stupid face and looking forward to our walk across the hills together. Therapy helped. My Family helped. Pills helped. But without Darcy none of it would have been possible.