Marie Louise McConville: Hoping that my three-year-old's request for a puppy is just a passing phase

Marie Louise hopes her three-year-old daughter's sudden request for a puppy is a passing phase
Marie Louise McConville

It was always an issue that was going to raise its terrifying head.

No matter how much I managed to keep my hyper-ventilating quiet or how much I was able to keep my panic buried, I knew it would come up.

Since Abbie turned three in December, her personality has really bloomed and the conversations she holds with her daddy and myself leaves us in stitches - until earlier this month.

Snuggled up watching an animated movie called `The Secret Life of Pets', Abbie suddenly announced she would like a dog to call Max - obviously inspired by the movie's lead canine.

All of a sudden, my heart sank and I felt like I needed to be sick.

Granted, it may not have been the normal parental reaction but as a mother who is absolutely petrified of dogs, it was to be expected.

You see, I can't even be in the same room as a dog without having an epic meltdown.

If I'm walking down a street and there is a dog roaming around - off a leash - I will walk a detour of a hundred miles just to avoid a confrontation.

If we're out as a family and a dog suddenly appears, either on a lead or off, Darren will automatically become a barrier between me and the dog without a word being said so the kids don't notice as I don't want to pass my fear on to them.

However, in Strangford Co Down last weekend when we were visiting Darren's parents, Abbie and I took a walk to the shop. On the way back, a couple with a pram and a dog on a lead came towards us and unfortunately, my fear kicked in and I grabbed Abbie and pulled her close over to the side, out of the way.

As the woman passed, she said "Oh sorry, is she afraid?" to which I shamefully replied: "Yes, she's a bit nervous".

I instantly felt awful.

What a terrible mother I was to lie to cover my own fear.

For now, all I can do is hope this request for a puppy is just a passing phase.

Of course, the situation is not helped by the fact that Disney's 101 Dalmations has now become the movie of the moment.

Maybe I can try and get Abbie back on to Trolls - not ideal I know - but then anything, even a troll, would be better as a pet than a dog.


The celebrity grapevine has left me a little bit annoyed this week.

The tabloids have been flooded with reports that singer Cheryl and her partner Liam Payne are about to separate.

Apparently, Liam has already called in lawyers to discuss shared assets.

Personally, the news has left me feeling sad as the couple have an 11-month-old son, called Bear.

Of course, social media has gone crazy with people claiming the relationship was always `doomed'.

Why is it that some people hate to see others happy and would rather wish misery on them?

I hope these guys get space to sort this and find happiness for their little family.



With many people booking their summer holidays, it's a good time to get our bodies beach-ready but what if we could do it without giving up all our treats?

Free'ist, the Belfast-based sugar-free foods company, wants you to forget the guilt when you reach for your favourite snack.

Sporting a vibrant new look, Free'ist has recently added even more tasty products to its range of sugar free and no added sugar snacks, to complement the already extensive range.

New additions include Cola Bottles, Gummy Bears, Gummy Worms and on-the-go sized chocolate bars, perfect for a sweet pick me up, minus the sugar.

And the figures speak for themselves - a Free'ist Dark Chocolate bar has 0.4g of sugar per 100g, whereas other dark chocolate brands have as much as 57.4g of sugar per 100g.

I have three Free'ist hampers to give away.

If you fancy winning a hamper, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Please note – These prizes must be collected from The Irish News offices in Belfast.

Closing date for entries is 12Noon on Tuesday, February 27, 2017

(Q) In which Northern Ireland city is Free'ist based?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


The winners of The Shape of Water competition are Eilis Feighan, from Belfast, Mary Patterson, from Cloughmills, and Teresa Cassidy, from Armagh.

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