It's been over a year since we started the Green Dog blog and we thought it would be nice for our followers to get to know us a little bit better as a family and get to know us as individuals, so we will be having a three part series sharing a little bit more about each of us.
First up is the top dog and reason for the blog, Roly!
I could write these answers as if Roly were answering but I get annoyed reading posts like that so I'm just gonna answer on her behalf...
How old are you?
Roly is now two and was born at the start of July 2019 (2 days before we got married!).
Where were you born?
Roly was born just outside Preston into a litter of 8, with 6 brothers and 1 sister.
How did you find Roly?
Paddy and I had discussed waiting at least 6 months after we were married before getting a dog, but one month later Paddy started looking at puppies at work and we just kept looking to see what was available not really expecting anything. Then one evening during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival we were eating a takeaway waiting for a show to start when we seen an advert for a female puppy and decided to email to see if she was still available. We weren't committed to getting one then, until we had a reply with 2 photos of Roly! We were really fortunate in that Roly had already been reserved to someone else but their circumstances changed and they could no longer take her. We were so happy and firmly believe Roly came at the perfect time!
Why did you not rescue?
I will probably do a blog post on this in the future but it was mainly due to stumbling across this dog and falling in love with her. Before looking at puppies we did look at the rescue centres near us. At that time there weren't any dogs we could offer the right home to.
Why are you called Roly?
This is a bit of a long one sorry! Before we were even married Paddy and I discussed what we would name our dogs in the future on a walk one day. He's always loved rugby and his dream dog is an Irish Wolfhound so he wanted the name to reflect an Irish rugby player. We then went through different dog breeds and Irish rugby players discussing names that would fit with each breed. We loved the idea and vowed that when we owned dogs they would all fit in with this theme. Whilst I also always wanted to own a dalmatian and name it after one of the puppies from 101 Dalmatians, so I did some research to see if there were any names that fitted in with both the movie and Irish rugby. We had a choice of two, Penny after Scott Penny, a member of the U20s squad and Roly after Roly Meades, a coach from the 70s! There's already a Penny in our family so our poor girl got stuck with a boy's name, all so we could stick with the theme!
What is your personality like?
We think Roly is hilarious! She has all these different noises to express how she is feeling and she is definitely a little diva. She does not like going out in the rain and will only willing go out in the cold if there is snow. She loves to play, especially with her paws, and we have had to apologise to numerous small dog owners as Roly has swatted and squashed them in an attempt to get them to play. She is smart though and she has learnt to recognise which dogs to leave alone. She has also learnt who will give her treats and she is INCREDIBLY greedy! She has a friend in the park she will run to and frequently stick her nose in his coat as she knows he has the best biscuits. We love her but she does embarrass us frequently!
Were you easy to train?
In some aspects yes! Roly was toilet trained really quickly, so quickly we didn't go through one whole packet of puppy pads (and we bought 2 expecting to need to buy more, this was before we looked at going green I should add). Other aspects have been harder to train. We attending the Dogs Trust's puppy classes and they were really helpful. We do still need to remind Roly to walk nice on the lead on occasions though and jumping up is something that we need to work on.
What is your favourite thing to do?
Eat and sleep! Especially if she can snack under a duvet on the sofa.
Where is your favourite place?
Anywhere by the sea, Roly loves to dig in the sand and run through the shallow water. We haven't been able to explore many beaches yet though due to lockdown and we live in a landlocked county in central Scotland but we have enjoyed trips to the Isle of Arran and our hometown of Bangor in Northern Ireland.
What is your favourite snack?
Squirty cheese! This has been the best for training after being recommended by other dalmatian owners. Roly's recall is 10x better if she knows we have this with us on a walk.
What is your favourite toy?
This changes constantly! Before we looked at going greener we went through a lot of stuffed unicorns! Currently her favourite is a well chewed rope and hoop from Becco but balls are also a firm favourite too, although she doesn't enjoy fetch outside, only in the living room much to our dismay!
Do you have any nicknames?
Yes, we call Roly, puppino, baby girl, stinky poops, Roly Poly, Roland and Ronald (not sure why Ronald but she will answer to it).
Are Dalmatian's difficult dogs?
There are so many rumours that dalmatians are aggressive and really stupid (some of our own family initially thought this too). This could not be further from the truth, we have not met one aggressive dalmatian but they can be stubborn. They are very sensitive though and Roly has been afraid of a number of things but thankfully they are intelligent and we have been able to increase her confidence in these situations by rewarding her when she overcomes these fears. The biggest difficulty for me with a dalmatian has been understanding their diet and being able to get this right. Dalmatians have to have a low purine diet to reduce forming crystals or stones in the urinary tract. This means Roly can't eat a range of foods including liver, oily fish or yeast. Getting Roly's diet right and being confident in this took some time and I was worrying for ages that we would make Roly sick. I would definitely encourage anyone looking at rescuing or buying a particular breed of dog to do thorough research. All breeds have their issues and it's important to know these before making any decisions.