I run a very personal bed and biscuit business for small dogs at Laura’s Little Lodgers with the aim of giving all my little visitors as much love and attention as they would receive when they are at home with their owners.
Growing up with dogs...
I have always loved being around dogs having grown up with two wonderful family pets throughout my childhood. Firstly Hunter a glorious Pyrenean Mountain dog that came with the purchase of the family home who was a local celebrity in Marlow for walking down to the local butchers and across the zebra crossing with all cars stopping in amazement in order to get some treat or other to bring the 2 miles home or regularly calling in to the famous Compleat Angler Hotel by the river for any titbits that were on offer.
I used to love riding on him around our garden after being very frightened by him when I first met him at the age of 7 resulting in me having to live at the house with the live-in help for a month before my parents moved in so that I could form a bond with him.
On his death he was replaced by Spice a mischievous chocolate coloured miniature Poodle whose main claim to fame was joining the family for breakfast each morning with his napkin round his neck and his own table placing.
When I got married our first joint home purchase was Chester a beautiful strongminded selfwilled Lhasa Apso who remained with me until his death at 17 years of age. The joy Chester gave me was immense and he was remembered locally for his ability to pass wind at such a level that Sir Michael Parkinson barred him from the local pub in Bray – in jest, partly!!
I never felt I could replace the love of Chester with another pet so I decided to start up my very personal home from home dog minding business in 2009 looking after other owners’ dogs and the pleasure it has given me is irreplaceable.
Since I wrote the above in May 2016 I became the proud owner of another gorgeous Lhasa Apso called Matthew (Matty) who was 9 years old. Matty had been coming here for the past four years for his holidays and in March 2016 his owner Evelyn was taken ill and he was rushed over here for me to look after him.
Sadly a few days later she died in hospital and I suggested to her son that I try and re-home him as no-one could take him in her family and I just had too hectic a time here with all my regular little lodgers to adopt him even though Evelyn had asked me a few years previously if she could leave him to me in her will which I had to refuse after much thought but promised I would find him a wonderful home.
A good friend of mine came to meet him a few weeks later and it was arranged for him to go and live with her the following weekend.
However the following day was the start of a nightmare month. I rushed him to the vets when his eye went cloudy and was bulging. After being sent to two further specialist vets that evening he was left with an ophthalmologist to try and save his left eye from sudden acute onset glaucoma.
The following morning due to the severity of the condition his eye was totally removed. I brought him home the following day but was warned the other eye could go at any time between two weeks and six months. I cancelled my planned holiday a fortnight later even though I had arranged total care for him and the vet had suggested I still go but I had a gut feeling.
The worst scenario did indeed take place. Two weeks later he went blind in his right eye and I rushed him back to the ophthalmologist in Abingdon who kept him in overnight and lasered the eye to try and save it but the following day it was also totally removed.
He was now completely blind and I brought him home to live with me in his new forever home. That Christmas he spent in Davies Veterinary Hospital having had an MRI scan and being diagnosed with auto immune disease causing severe spinal cord symptoms and he was kept there for a week while they brought his chronic pain down to a more manageable level at which point I brought him home and he was kept mainly pain free with the help of steroids for 18 months.
I had to send Matty over the Rainbow Bridge on 19th July 2018 due to his symptoms becoming so much worse that he could hardly stand and a large mass was discovered in his stomach through an ultrasound scan. He was 11 years old and I was and still am totally heartbroken.
He was cremated and his ashes were inside a van that was stolen outside the crematorium driver’s home and they are still missing despite my attempt to bring him home by starting a large social media campaign being interviewed on BBC local radio stations and appearing in newspapers nationwide. I sadly still have no closure but know deep down that he is still with me safely wrapped around my heart.
On the 23rd June 2021 I adopted 7 year old Lilabelle a beautiful teacup Maltese who had been coming very regularly to Laura’s Little Lodgers over the years due to her family’s changing circumstances and it was decided with their blessing that she was so happy and settled during her stays with me that she should come and live permanently with me with ongoing background support from her family.