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Animal No. 3 Ella Fitzgerald the French spaniel

The pet shop at Bolougne-sur-Mer was opposite the Auchan hypermarket and a terrible temptation. It’s closed now, thank goodness as we always wanted to buy all the dogs and frequently considered acquiring birds, gerbils and chipmunks.

Soon after we got Churchill the German Pinscher we made the mistake of looking in the pet shop and convinced ourselves that just one more dog wouldn’t matter especially. Churchill is a total wimp and didn’t sleep well at night – we kidded ourselves that a companion would mean better sleep for all of us.

There was a beautiful puppy in the cage, she was labelled a Picardy spaniel and had big sad eyes and she’d been in there for at least 8 weeks even sharing a cage with Churchill. She was on the last chance to find a home or to be got rid of. To cut a long story short – we bought her home!

We decided to call the puppy Ella Fitzgerald after my favourite female singer.

Churchill was delirious with happiness – he absolutely adores all other dogs and cats and humans, big and small.  The dogs have their own room in the house and we put a barrier in the middle of the room.  Churchill on one side and the puppy on the other with the intention of calming them down. We prepared ourselves for a sleepless night, what with it being Ella’s first night and Churchill being excited to the point of madness.

We woke up next morning feeling surprisingly refreshed – there hadn’t been a peep from either of the dogs.  When we went in to the room, Ella had managed to squeeze through a tiny gap in the barrier separating them and the pair of them were snuggled up.

They have been together for two years now and they are inseparable.  When Ella had an operation and had to be kept in isolation to protect her wound, Churchill howled the entire night and the next night too. He only stopped when she was back with him.

Ella has turned into a gorgeous dog, our vet says she is supremely fit, she’s like a supermodel dog, but she definitely isn’t a Picardy Spaniel as she was labelled in the pet shop, well not in looks anyway. She certainly has the lovely nature of a Spaniel but we think she’s a German Shepherd crossed with a Labrador and a Spaniel!  She’s slightly neurotic, can be very skittish and has a habit of looking into your eyes like you are the only person in the world that she cares for. She is a terrible tart and does the looking in the eyes thing with everyone she likes which is pretty much everyone she meets!

We decided then that one cat and two dogs was definitely enough …

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