After an exploratory shopping expedition to Fethiye the other day, Bec and I returned home to discover we had a new member of the family.
Apparently, our landlord was a little worried our daughter Emma would be missing her friends from England and might be a little lonely, so he’d popped round with a puppy – a delightful little ball of chocolate and coffee-coloured fur.
To her credit, Em had already half-demurred, suspecting we’d go all practical on our return and – albeit reluctantly – decline the gift.
But the look in her eyes, to say nothing of the unspeakable cuteness of this apparent and unlikely mix of sausage dog and Doberman, was enough to melt our hearts.
With only a perfunctory attempt at sensible debate, we’d agreed the puppy could stay and our smiling landlord returned to his truck, waving like a benevolent granddad as his red pick-up rolled down the drive and out through the gates.
But, as the dust settled, suddenly we were transported back to the day we returned home with our first-born; we hadn’t a clue what we were supposed to do next.
Where would it sleep? What do you feed it? Do we have any toys? What the hell are the cats going to think? But, most importantly, how do you prevent a weeing and poohing machine from littering the house with unpleasant surprises?
Neighbour Tommy’s advice was as you might expect from a culture which seems to struggle to comprehend the English sentimentality for pets.
“Leave it on balcony with water and food. It be fine,” he said, resorting to a resigned “You English …” when we explained there was no way we’d leave her outside.
An hour on the internet and some advice from dog-owning friends on Facebook put us on the right track – followed by another expedition on the bus to the pet shop in Fethiye, which left us about £120 worse off.
The last few days have been a bit of a blur, fitting work, home chores and friends around the new addition to the family. In fact, I suppose it’s true to say our life here in Turkey has taken a lurch in an unexpected direction as we’re now a little less free to do as we please.
But, as Fidget (that’s what we decided to call her) lies in her basket at my feet as I type, woofing softly in her sleep, I can’t say I’m sorry.
The priest who married Bec and I told us, when it came to having kids, there wasn’t really a “right time”. Maybe it’s the same with dogs…