Eventually, when our son was three, I decided I had a place in my heart for a cat - and so Pinga came on the scene. She's seventeen now and still going strong. She firmly believes that she's a princess, walks like a catwalk model and has never learned to love our second cat, nine year old Fred - they merely tolerate one another!
I guess I always knew deep down that I would want to love a dog again one day and assumed that it would be when our cats went to Pussy Heaven. But ... more and more people seemed to be getting dogs that got along fine with resident cats so I suddenly found myself Dog Broody and I've been suffering from this complaint for about three years but recently it got worse.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you too may be a victim!
Stroking other people's dogs and imagining them living in YOUR home as YOUR pet.
Envisaging a dog in your house and planning how it would work with your routine and other commitments.
Spending your lunch break browsing the internet for rescue dogs - by now, you've got it bad and there's no going back.
This final symptom was my downfall. I'd been doing it for a while - yes, 'My name's Amanda and I'm Dog Broody' - so when hubbie discovered my guilty secret we decided that the time was right for us to have a dog again IF we found one that was 'meant to be'.
Of course the more you look, the more you're likely to accidently find Mr Perfect Pooch. There were only a few things on our checklist but they were pretty important:
1. Good with cats - for obvious reasons
2. Scruffy - I love dogs that look like they should be with a tramp.
3. Cross breed.
So when I saw an ad on Gumtree for a 17 month old poodle cross who lived with cats, my hands reached for my mobile faster than you can say 'Walkies!'
When the lady told me his name was Alfie, I burst into tears. From Ralfie to Alfie! It was meant to be.
He's been with us for two days now and is proving to be a very clever little chap. He's totally fine with our ginger tom but things are a little trickier with Princess Pinga. We're getting there gradually and she hasn't left home so that's a bonus. Tomorrow we have calming pills and collars coming. If they don't work, I'll get some for us!
In the meantime, may I introduce you to Alfie ...
If you're as mad as I am about dogs, you might want to check out my doggie-themed book 'Lottie's Luck'!