Except for Lola.
Several weeks ago now, my family and I received a very unexpected visitor: in the form of a stray Patterdale terrier.
We have no idea where she came from, or who she belonged to, but its safe to say she's here to stay with us, forever.
The day she wandered into our garden (looking healthy enough and well fed, but collarless) I was certain she'd have owners somewhere - a dog so undeniably cute must be loved by someone, right?
So, we did the right thing ( at least we thought it was the right thing at the time anyway) and rang the dog warden to report a stray dog.
A week in the local dog shelter ensued - and she remained unclaimed.
I had my eyes opened the first time we visited her at the dog shelter - countless breeds of dog cooped up in cages all desperately vying for your attention. It broke my heart, and I left in tears.
It felt cruel walking away from so many lovely looking dogs - and leaving quiet little Lola amongst the ruckus felt heinous.
More needs to be done to encourage anyone thinking about buying a puppy to rescue a dog who NEEDS a home. Yes puppies are sweet, but they grow up so quickly... and Lola is proof that a rescue dog can be just as adorable!!
The day we collected her from the shelter she seemed to have changed slightly.
In a week, she'd transformed from a sprightly wee thing into a more timid, nervous dog. And I felt a huge sense of guilt for having left her there, helpless and alone.
Rescuing Lola is probably the best thing we've done as a family: walking her not only keeps us fit but it keeps her happy! And she rewards us with her obedience, affection and loyalty.
Its amazing how quickly she settled in especially with an adopted rabbit and cat to contend with. Sure, she chews the occasional shoe and has the odd 'accident' from time to time when we aren't paying enough attention... But Lola is now officially a part of our pack, and we wouldn't part with her for the world.