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  • sophiejclare

Meet Zachary - and the birth of Bubble Hut Doggy Spa

Airedale puppy in his bed
Zack already settled in and relaxed on his first day home

I always wanted a puppy!

All through my adult life, I'd been out to work full-time and not able to do it - we had cats, rabbits and even hamsters, but dogs had been out of the question.

My first ever pet that really belonged to me was Solitaire (or Solly) a Miniature Dachshund puppy given to me for my 4th birthday by my great grandad. She taught me all those important things about caring and taking responsibility, and let me carry her around like a baby - even dressed in doll's clothes and pushed in my dolly-pram. She taught me another valuable lesson about respect too, when I was 8 - she obviously decided I was old enough to know better, and bit me on the lip to assert her rights as a dog (I still have a tiny scar) and I've never mistreated any animal since that day!

Playful little pup - looks nothing like an Airedale yet

When I was a teenager, our house was like a zoo. Full of life and chaos - four younger sisters, a baby brother, my now grumpy old Dachshund, my mum's crazy Border Collie, three stray cats encouraged by a sister, one sister's gerbils, another sister's growling rabbit, an aviary full of assorted birds, my rapidly breeding Russian Hamsters - and the many uninvited mice they attracted into our house (because I always left the lid off their food container - our dad would yell!) Plus FLEAS as big as ants! Those were the days before Frontline (and the many other treatments available) meaning we can now keep pets totally clear of nasty parasites.

Airedale puppy at 6 weeks old
The photo Zack's breeder sent us at 6 weeks - he looked so calm and sensible but we were soon in for a shock

So leaving that crazy home and having office jobs from the age of 19 until a couple of years ago (some 30 years later) meant I missed all those lovely creatures and the wonderful enrichment they bring to our human lives. I was so grateful and excited when I was lucky enough to be able to step back from full-time work - and was finally able to have that long wished for PUPPY!

There was a catch though - it had to be an Airedale. That was the only dog my partner had ever wanted and the breed was not open to debate. I knew very little of Airedales as they're becoming rare (the most frequent comments we hear out on walks with him now are "ooh, you don't see many of those now" and "my gran used to have one of those" or "what breed is your dog?")

I'd always wanted a Springer with their kind eyes, soft faces and floppy ears, so Airedales looked funny to me - harshly angular with big thick table legs, boxy faces and sharp eyes that seemed a bit unfriendly to me.

Airedale puppy walking along the beach
At 10 weeks having his first outing in the big wide world - and not at all scared of anything

But over 2 years later - having my "extraordinairedale" Zachary has truly changed my life forever! I'm now highly biased and think the Airedale is the greatest dog ever - a great all-rounder and fabulous with families, but they do need firm training as they can be very naughty, and frequent grooming too or they quickly turn into giant teddy bears!

Learning to train and groom Zack has been the best experience ever and has led me to my true vocation and natural pathway in life. After a year of learning hand-stripping techniques for wire coated breeds, I started a City & Guilds Diploma to extend my skills to other dogs and grooming methods. I've now had over 2 years training and experience in grooming, I'm studying higher levels and looking forward to many years ahead working with all your lovely dogs - and of course your dog is the greatest dog ever too!

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