I chris­tened my pug!

Some things are just worth cel­e­brat­ing, like the love for my four-legged fur baby...

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Elaine Lyons, 57, Merthyr Tyd­fil

There was a time when, when­ever I wel­comed guests into my home, I al­ways greeted them the same way.

‘Wel­come to the mad house!’ I’d tell them grin­ning.

Be­cause, more of­ten than not, our house was abuzz as there al­ways seemed to be some­thing go­ing on.

But time passed and, be­fore long, me and my hus­band Colin were left with an empty nest.

Our kids, Lisa, An­drew and Daniel grew up, moved out and started their own fam­i­lies.

And when I lost Colin sud­denly to a heart at­tack in April 2010, I re­alised how quiet the house truly was.

I had no idea what I could do to fill the si­lence.

‘You should get your­self a dog, that’ll keep you busy,’ one friend sug­gested.

‘Per­haps not,’ I laughed a bit ner­vously.

They were cute enough – but to look after one 24/7 wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t un­til Oc­to­ber 2015, when some­thing made me think about it again.

An­drew’s pug Pep­per had just had a lit­ter of four.

With their teeny tiny paws, their fuzzy lit­tle squashed faces and adorable yaps, even I had to ad­mit they were pretty darn cute! I even had a favourite. Tiny, scrawny and def­i­nitely the runt of the lit­ter – but lit­tle jet-black Coco Pops was the sweet­est of the bunch!

The first time I held her in my hands, I was smit­ten.

‘Oh please, An­drew, can I have her?’ I begged.

‘Thought you didn’t like dogs?’ he teased.

I didn’t re­ally, but I could see Coco be­ing my fur-baby.

When she was 3 months old, I got to take her home.

She cosied up to me on the sofa, plod­ded up and down the stairs after me.

I was her mummy and she was my baby.

In fact, be­fore long Coco had be­come ev­ery­one’s new baby.

Friends and fam­ily doted on her, and my neigh­bours love her, too. ‘She’s so sweet,’ they’d fuss. ‘Oh, I love her so much!’

And the lit­tle madam lapped up all the at­ten­tion, preen­ing this way and that.

All the fuss that she was get­ting took me back to when

Scrawny and the runt of the lit­ter, but also the sweet­est!

my chil­dren were ba­bies.

It’s like hav­ing a new­born again, I thought.

Which prompted me to make a joke to the most dot­ing of my friends, neigh­bours De­bra and Emidio.

They loved her like she was their own…

‘Do you two want to be Coco’s God­par­ents?’ I laughed. But they took me se­ri­ously. ‘We’d love to!’ they said. That should have been the end of it. Only...

Ev­ery time I saw them, they hounded me about when Coco’s Chris­ten­ing would be.

I’d had her for two years by this point and I’d had a lit­tle birth­day soiree for her when she’d had her first birth­day... but a Chris­ten­ing?! That was bark­ing mad. Wasn’t it? But, after a while, I thought,

What’s the harm?

If any­thing, it would reaf­firm how much we all loved her. So I started plan­ning. Bought bal­loons and a lit­tle pink tutu for Coco to wear. I’d picked her God­par­ents, now I just needed a venue. ‘Let’s do it at home,’ I said, wor­ried about peo­ple judg­ing. And of course some peo­ple did ex­actly that when I told them what we had planned. But I didn’t care. While an­other neigh­bour of­fi­ci­ated the cer­e­mony, I even got a bot­tle of holy wa­ter from our lo­cal church. We bap­tised Coco sur­rounded by our friends and fam­ily. It was a proper party with cake and presents. Coco even gave her God­par­ents a thank-you gift. But for me the best present of all was Coco. I can’t imag­ine life with­out her, she’s paw-fect in ev­ery way!

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