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Planning Retirement Online

Hobbies and Interests


My new Best Friend


Rosemary Martin introduces her puppy and tells us the difference it has made to her life in retirement



Retirement, for me, was a mixed blessing.  We’d sold our business, and I no longer had the daily contact of staff, clients or colleagues.  I continued to work, but it’s not a  “going out to work sort of job” as I work from home on my computer. I find it very fulfilling, but it is often a solitary existence. The children are long gone and the two of us just rattle around in our huge tidy house with its huge immaculate gardens.  Very peaceful after all our children, but unnaturally sterile and unhomely…… 

That is until last Christmas Day when my husband on returning from collecting the daughter, delved into his coat pocket and handed me a tiny warm bundle of black and white fur, saying "It`s a puppy, Merry Christmas."  The cooking of Christmas lunch was immediately abandoned. I had fallen in love and had to look after my new charge… 

Penny is now nearly six months old and our lives are changed forever. Within a very short time she was totally housetrained, and already has a good repertoire of tricks to charm us with. We are her devoted slaves and she knows it, but mainly - and this is the point of this story - she has given me more direction. She is my faithful companion during the days when my husband is at work, and weather permitting we go for long walks which is an excellent way of meeting other people.  In her short life my puppy has become an intrepid traveller, counting 4x4 off-roading in the Welsh mountains and the Peak District amongst her journeys, and more recently a long trip on a steam train, followed by several bracing walks on the deserted beaches of Whitby on the north east coast. She is a most amenable little thing and manages to delight most people that she meets. As I write this at home, she is stuffed up my jumper for warmth, a mutual benefit, and one of her favourite places to be. 

I often hear my husband having long, meaningful talks with Penny.   I don’t mention it of course, but I do wonder: has he has finally found a sympathetic ear that doesn`t answer back?

We’ve had dogs before, but always when the children were around.   Penny is different. I  have a way to go yet with her training, but I am finding that she is quick to learn, possibly because there are no children to distract and I have more time to spend on her training. The main bone (!) of contention is that we both love the garden, and digging..... but I am sure she will soon grow out of this bad habit. 

Of course the house is no longer quite so immaculate, but on balance it is a small price to pay for the love and laughter she has brought into our lives.  She is also good for our health inasmuch as we now go out of our way to go for long walks which we wouldn`t have bothered doing before. 

It is clinically proven that animals are therapeutic for people who are sick. Petting, touching and talking with the animals appears to reduce patients’ blood pressure, and relieve stress and depression.    

I would certainly recommend a puppy, or rescue dog from the local RSPCA if you don`t want the puppy chores- to those of you who are getting stagnated for one reason or another and are still in reasonably good health. 

It worked for us.



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