Tara & Ronin

Tara Cain is our blogger of the month in February. Her blog, Sticky Fingers here is all about parenting, family life and the lovely Hungarian Vizsla, Ronin. Check it out here for tips, reviews, excellent photography and more.

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Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Tara. Mum, wife, dog walker. I live in the West Midlands, I’ve been with my husband for 25 years (eek!) and I have a passion for movies, photography and the great outdoors. I am the mother of teenagers, which is a bit like being the Mother of Dragons only slightly more stressful. I am the social media officer for a UK university.

When did you first start blogging and why?
I’ve been blogging for about 8 years now. I used to be a newspaper features editor and my editor at the time asked me if I could start up a parenting blog that would appeal to readers. Sure, I thought, will only take me a couple of hours a week. How wrong and naive I was.
After a year I took voluntary redundancy to work from home and have the opportunity to take my kids to school. But I found I was totally and utterly addicted to blogging and the online community that had taken me in. So I started up my own blog Sticky Fingers and life was never the same again!

How long have you had Ronin? Is he your first pet?
I grew up with animals; my mum shows and breeds dogs (first afghan hounds then Lhasa Apsos). However my husband and I have always worked full time so a dog was never an option.
Five years ago, while I was still working from home, we took the plunge and got a family dog. We decided our daughter was old enough to not kill any pet by loving it to death and we knew we wanted a big dog.
We researched, poured over breed books and spent forever trying to decide on a dog to suit us all. Ronin was meant to live with us. You’ll see why in one of my next answers!

What’s the funniest thing he has ever done?
He likes to have his head covered when he’s in bed. I don’t know where this weirdness comes from, but he does the whole building his nest thing, settles down then gets his bedding in his mouth and pulls it over his head so he’s in darkness. It’s the weirdest thing.

What’s the best thing about owning a pet, what makes Ronin so loveable?
Having a dog in our lives completely blindsided us. He has enchanted everyone so we all think we’re his favourite – clever dog!
I think owning a dog is one of the best experiences you can give a child as they’re growing up. He makes us go out more as a family, he is everyone’s unconditional friend and he’s absolutely and totally excited to see you if you’ve been gone all day, or just returned from emptying the bins.
I’m sure all dog owners think the same, but Ronin has such human qualities. He knows when someone is blue and will rest his head on their lap as if in comfort, he ‘talks’ to you when he’s feeling playful and he whips you with his lethal tail when he’s delighted you’re around. He’s definitely brought a great deal of joy to our home.

Finally, can you tell us your favourite story about Ronin?
When we finally decided we quite fancied a Hungarian Vizsla, my husband wasn’t entirely convinced and wanted to ‘meet’ one first to see what their temperament was like.
It was just after Christmas and I said we could all visit Crufts in March as it’s in the NEC just up the road from us.
On New Year’s Day we always go walking in our local woods to welcome in the new year and that year, wouldn’t you know it, a lady was there with her two Vizslas. I ran after her asking if we could meet her dogs and ask her a few questions about the breed.
She was fabulous. She was on her way to the Malvern Hills that day but decided she wasn’t in the mood so stopped off at our woods instead to exercise her energetic 8 month old dogs.
We chatted and fussed the dogs and I asked her if we could have the name of the breeder she had bought her dogs from as they were exactly what we were looking for.
“I can” she said “but she’s based in Scotland. I moved down her just after getting them.”
So we asked for the name anyway, thinking we could ask the breeder for any recommendations closer to us.
Two days later she sent me an email with the details. “But”, she added, “I know you were looking for a puppy, however I’m struggling with two dogs in my house, would you consider taking on my boy?”
We ADORED her boy when we met them so we agreed for her to bring him over and see if he liked us and our home.
He came, we fell in love, he stayed and it remains one of the most amazing serendipitous moments in our lives.

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