Louise Minchin on how a puppy is helping her enjoy Spring
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:06 04 April 2018
Young pup Ruby has been a gem in helping the Chester-based BBC presenter appreciate the early signs of spring
Anyone who has been reading this column for a while will probably have noticed that I find the long dark days of winter quite challenging. I really miss being outside in the sunlight, pottering around the garden, heading into the Welsh hills for a bike ride on a warm, bright afternoon, and swimming at dusk in the chilly open water at Manley Mere.
So this could be my favourite time of year. I love it when I see the first inkling of spring, the optimistic snowdrops peeking out from under the snow, struggling to get noticed, the jaunty daffodils with their bright yellow flowers a welcome reminder that summer will eventually arrive, and then, most excitingly for me, the appearance of the joyous effervescent cherry blossom which means spring has really sprung. They all fill me with a renewed sense of hope and energy.
This year, the season has coincided with a brand new member of the Minchin household, a bouncy black Labrador puppy called Ruby with a long waggy tail, who arrived at the start of January to join our six-year-old Labrador Waffle.
She is a bundle of fun, naughtiness and curiosity with no interest at all in anything that resembles a dog toy, but constantly seeking out and chewing apart hats, gloves, shoes, jumpers, and even the sofa. Waffle as you can imagine, was not amused at her sudden appearance, and at first treated her with a mix of disdain and hostility. Now, a couple of months on I am glad to say they are firm friends, so much so, that Waffle even occasionally lets her share her bed.
I completely forgot how time consuming having a puppy is, but the need to house-train Ruby, and constantly having to let her outside, has had a surprising upside. I have been encouraged – or maybe more truthfully, forced – out of the house in sub-zero temperatures, when I would normally rather be snuggled up by a warm fire. That means I have noticed the signs of spring weeks earlier than normal, and it has cheered me up.
Often on BBC Breakfast we talk about how pets can improve the way we feel, and that being out in the fresh air can make you happier. Ruby’s arrival has proved both to be true, she might be hard work but she is a joy to have as a new member of our family, and I am grateful to her for all those dozens of visits to the garden that I would never have made without her.