RTÉ 2fm DJ Tracy Clifford may have had to postpone her wedding, but she got a dog (and a new house) to keep her occupied instead, she tells Janice Butler.

While Tracy Clifford and her fiancé Mark didn't make it down the aisle last summer due to Covid, they finished 2020 on a positive note, having moved into their first home in South County Dublin and becoming doggy parents to their new pup Harley.

"She’s a golden retriever pup and so good-humoured, she’s a joy to have around. We’re absolutely besotted with her," boasts the proud owner Tracy.

"I’ve always wanted one but I was living in an apartment for years. Our wedding was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and we had always said we wouldn’t get a pet until we had a garden, so thankfully in October of last year, we signed for our house and the first thing I got, before sorting furniture, was the puppy."

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They had been searching for a while and had signed up to the DSPC for a rescue dog but in the end, a family friend’s dog had a litter during lockdown and the couple were interviewed to see if they were suitable to house one of the pups. "I thought that was really good; they made sure she was going to a good home."

Tracy never had a dog growing up. She says her parents got one when she was 20 and had moved out. "I had never experienced a puppy before, but I can tell you, she is now my child," she laughs. They had the best intentions to get Harley to sleep downstairs but she admits all good intentions have gone out the window and she’s firmly positioned herself on the floor in their bedroom.

"She’s in our room, in her own bed. I know, we’re ridiculous. She has commandeered the new throws I bought before Christmas."

Before they met her, Tracy had decided on the name Luna, but when she saw her, she realised the name didn’t suit and they went with Harley; "She just wasn’t a Luna and the name Harley came into my head; it has nothing to do with Harley Davidson," she laughs.

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While her uncle – who is a dog trainer – has worked his magic on Harley, they plan to put her in puppy school in the park during the summer. "I’m looking forward to that. She’s so intelligent, I think that’s part of the breed and she’s just itching to learn more."

She remarks how thrilled they are to be in their house: "It’s a dream come true. We’ve spent the last couple of months just doing it up. We’ve a big front and back garden, which is great for Harley and a lovely local park where people with their dogs meet in the evening to socialise, so we’ve been very lucky."

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They had their wedding re-scheduled for two weeks’ time, but unfortunately it’s been cancelled again; however, Tracy’s taking it all in her stride. "It’s fine, we’ll do it again. With the house and Harley, we made the most of the last year, we’ve done really well and now Harley can be part of the wedding, our first born. God, I sound insane don’t I?" she laughs.

I assure her, she sounds like all other proud dog owners.