Adventures of a single working mum part 1

Annie Corbett is a freelance fundraising copywriter. She works from her home in Brighton where she lives with her 14 year-old son (and possibly a dog). She’s also our brand new columnist, writing about her real life experiences as a single working mum raising a family. We hope you enjoy reading her first column.

Will we or won’t we?

There are some things you are just born with. Hair colour, eye colour, how tall you are. And whether you are a cat person or a dog person. Over the years I’ve discovered I’m definitely of the doggie persuasion and can feel ridiculously dog broody when some doe-eyed pooch gazes up at me from the pavement.

So far, I haven’t taken the plunge. I’ve always put my sensible hat on and reminded myself it’s a Big Responsibility and that having a dog is a Serious Commitment. As a single, self-employed mum I wonder if I’d just be adding to my ever-expanding to-do list.

On the other hand, when you’re working at home alone, it’s nice to pretend a dog understands what you’re saying instead of merrily chatting away to people who aren’t there. So as a halfway house I’ve looked after other people’s dogs from time to time and got my fix that way. If I’m honest, I’ve always been quite happy to give them and their packet of Poobags back at the end of their stay.

Then came Woody, a handsome, long-legged, honey-coloured greyhound I agreed to look after while his owner was in hospital for a couple of days. I’m guessing you know where this is going.

Yes, I was smitten. And yes, very sadly, Woody’s owner died just a few days after coming out of hospital and my phone rang again. And I found myself saying “Of course we’ll have him.” Do you ever have that experience when your mouth is speaking while your brain is shouting “WHAT!!!”?

So back Woody came and that was the moment when I discovered a critical fact: when the chips are down my son is a cat person. And that greyhounds are extremely big and absolutely everywhere in a two-up two-down terrace when one of the residents isn’t completely on board with the idea.

I also discovered fact number two: greyhounds aren’t good with stairs. We didn’t know this until we’d coaxed him up ours and half an hour later my son had to google ‘how do you get a greyhound down stairs?’. As my lovely partner lives up five flights this could make life interesting.

The lady at the rescue centre Woody originally came from was very understanding on the phone. Yes, she can have him back if it doesn’t work out with us. But she also recommended giving it some time and taking one stair at a time. So Woody is here for a month to see if he can work his way into my son’s heart and my partner’s, the way he’s worked his way into mine. And if climbing stairs isn’t too bad after all, once you get the hang of it.