Nine years ago we got our first family dog. Due to a nasty incident involving loyalists being arrested in possession of my husband’s details I decided I wanted a dog. 
John Mead, my husband’s uncle, and a man with many contacts, secured for us what appeared to be just the ticket. A Jack Russell from Ballymurphy. Not too big – because we had five children and the youngest was only 1yr.
But Jack Russells, being known for their hearts like lions, seemed a good compromise, and coming from Ballymurphy, well that seemed like good pedigree.
I brought Tara home. Tara was the sweetest most gentledog I have ever met. We had a one legged robin in our garden whom Tara befriended and chased all other birds so the robin got the bird seed.
We went to a beach one day and brought Tara. Ouryoungest was then two. She toddled towards the sea, while we watched. Tara walked every step beside her and as she reached the sea Tara went mad barking at us to come and get her. 
Tara was killed in a terrible car accident only two years after we got her. Our second youngest, who was then 7 found her poor broken body. I honestly thought we would never really recover from the sadness. 
A year after that our friend Barry’s sister went to Limerick with her two children. She gave them 5euros to go to the shop and they came home with a Jack Russell puppy. She was not impressed.
However she brought the puppy back to Belfast. Barry, being aware of our heartbreak over Tara brought the puppy to our house.
I have the photo of my children holding the tiny ball of white and brown fluff. Their faces of joy, and excitement, still melts me.
Påid made himself at home very quickly. We soonrealised just how many electrical leads lie on our floors. This little ball of terror munched his way through anything lying around. We would plug in our computers into the wall and the other end into the computer only to realise the middle was missing! Brand new shoes were lost to the chewing of the puppy monster!
Unlike Tara, Påid is an archetypal Jack, or maybe it’s his being a Limerick lad. Anyway he thinks he needs to defend our house with maximum ferocity from every threat from the postman, to the robin that sits on the cherry tree teasing him. He will hunt for spiders as tenaciously and effectively as he hunts for mice.
He is bigger now, though not much. And is referred to by the husband every day, at least twenty times a day, as “that f’ing dog”. His hairs are everywhere! How do dog hairs make their way into a hotpress?
We used to keep him out at night until my friends from Dublin came to stay and they staged a sit down protest until he was allowed in for the night. Im afraid to invite them back in case Påid has a list of five demands!
But the little girl who found Tara’s body has been mended and Påid was a big part of that. She loves him and he adores her. He is a crazy part of our crazy family. And we are very glad.

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