Not just any dog, either. I wanted a Border Collie!
Needless to say, within moments of her resistance crumbling and giving me the go-ahead, I was trawling the internet looking for someone selling puppies.
Most available Border Collie puppies were in distant regions of Wales or in England; too far to drive easily, so I turned my attention to the local newspaper small ads. Almost immediately an ad leapt out at me: ‘Border Collie puppies to good homes. £100’
Of course, I was straight on the phone. The excitement of a schoolboy awaiting the start of the school summer holidays was rising inside of me and I’m pretty sure that I made a very poor job of concealing it as I made an appointment to see the puppies.
The farmer (for they were farm puppies) on the other end of the phone must have immediately known he had already made a sale.
So, two days later, we went to Merthyr Tydfil to see, and hopefully select, a puppy.
The farm was located in the valley below the Merthyr Tydfil Mountain Railway. On the drive up there I managed to keep my boyish enthusiasm under control but, as we drove down the county lane and approached the farm, I felt me excitement resurface and had the feeling of butterflies in my stomach. I felt as I once did as a child on the eve of my birthday! I just know I was going home with a dog!
I have to admit that Julie, my wife, was taking this all rather well. She was all “let’s wait and see” and “Let’s be sensible about this” but I could tell she was a little excited too. She was hiding it well, but she was excited. I know it!
As we pulled into the farmyard we could see a Spaniel and a Border collie lying by a barn door, but no puppies.
The farmer came out to greet us and after some brief introductions, he led us to the barn and opened the half door.
Out came mum and her six puppies. There were two typical black and white pups and four grey and white. All of the grey and white pups had parallel white spots running down their backs making them look like plump, fluffy dominoes. One of them had a pink nose!
The farmer left us for a while to play with the puppies and to make a selection.
We knew what was supposed to happen now ... the right puppy would choose us, and not we the puppy.
So we let them mill around our feet and stroked and patted. They engaged in puppy rough and tumble and for the most part ignored us. Mum, having found us unworthy of interest, took herself off to a tractor in one of the out buildings and lay underneath it next to a bulldog that we had previously not noticed.
One by one the puppies left us to follow mum until we were left alone in the farmyard.
Or so we thought.
Behind us the puppy with the pink nose sat calmly and looked us up and down.
Julie bent down and offered a hand for him to sniff.
He came closer and sat at our feet looking up, his tail was wagging.
He was not the biggest of the puppies, but he certainly wasn’t the smallest. His flanks were grey, his chest white and down his back a thin black stripe and the white domino spots.
His nose was almost entirely pink.
His beautiful brown eyes our gaze and we knew there and then that we had just been selected to be his new family!
A short time later ‘puppy’ (for he had not yet become Sym) sat in a cardboard box on my lap as Julie drove us towards the A470 and home.
Most of the journey was spent with ‘puppy’ resting his front paws on the lip of the box and looking out of the window wagging his tail. Every so often he turned his attention to me, climbing out of his box and giving me a lick on the chin.
This was all so new to him; new people, a car journey and someone to lick!
His head became heavy, his eyes closed and he slept in my arms until we arrived home.
As Julie parked the car he awoke. He looked me square in the face then leapt.
His front paws landed on my shoulders and his tongue assaulted my face.
At that moment I knew that I loved that puppy.
At that moment he became ‘my dog’.
At that moment the unbreakable bond between us was forged.