Mylo came to see me last week: he had sliced his pad when walking near the lead mines near Kilternan. He only needed simple treatment for his injury: some wound cleaning, bandaging and pain relief. While I was treating him, Maura talked to me about her dog.
Mylo is, in many ways, the ideal family pet. He’s friendly, intelligent, and active but well behaved. Everybody adores him. I asked Maura where she’d got him from: many collie-type dogs come from farms, and that’s what I suspected.
In fact, Mylo is a rescued dog: Maura found him at Dogs Trust in Finglas. He was one of a litter of pups who’d been born to a pregnant dog who’d ended up in Limerick Dog Pound. In times past, it’s likely that the mother and pups would all have been euthanased. But now, with animal welfare groups like Dogs Trust offering to help, it’s become possible to rescue dogs and pups in these situations. The pregnant bitch had been brought to the Dogs Trust Puppy Unit, which opened in 2014.
In December 2014, Maura’s fifteen year old dog, Gina, had died, and Maura wanted another pet straight away. She heard about the pups from the Dogs Trust website, and around Christmas, she went out to the Dogs Trust facility to meet them. Mylo had been named “Snowflake” because of a white patch on the back of his head, and as soon as she met him , Maura fell for him. Even at the age of ten weeks, his good-natured sense of fun was obvious. She wanted a puppy rather than an older dog because her husband’s nieces were young children, and she wanted to ensure that her new pet was used to them from an early age. Many people mistakenly think that only adult dogs are available from rescues: the truth is that there are always unwanted puppies available, and they can make excellent pets.
Dogs Trust are strongly against pups being given as Christmas presents, and they stop rehoming dogs during December, so even though Maura had chosen her pup, she had to wait till January to collect him. She found the Dogs Trust service impeccable: they arranged vaccinations, parasite control, microchipping and neutering: she was just asked to make a donation to help them cover these costs.
Maura had been looking for a dog that liked walking, so as a Collie/Spaniel cross, Mylo was perfect. As part of the Dogs Trust package, she was encouraged to sign up for a puppy training class: she went to Wonder Paws at Festina Lente in Bray, and he responded well. He was taught the basics when young: coming when called, sitting, staying etc. He hasn’t needed extra classes as he’s grown older: the initial training has been sufficient.
He does have one idiosyncracy that can be awkward: he loves footballs. If he ever sees one, he runs away from Maura, grabbing the ball to bring it back to her. And at home, he has gathered a collection of seven footballs which he likes to place around him, like a den.
Mylo’s football fetish is the reason why she had taken him to the Lead Mines last weekend: he normally has his daily walk in Shanganagh Park in Shankill, but at the weekend, there are teams playing football, and Mylo is prone to running into the middle of the game, grabbing the ball and running off with it.
She’s learned that the answer is to avoid the public park at these times. With his cut pad, he’ll now have to rest for a week, but as soon as he can, he’ll be out on his daily run again.