Mr Dog’s Year
It was a year on and Mr Dog had been assimilated into what had become a dogless household. The pale grey carpets were ingrained with mud and dog hair in the favourite resting places, biscuit crumbs were casually strewn for that barefoot experience and the walls up to waist height showed just how effective a wet dog-shake could be.
‘Where’s-Lez’ and the Boss had always had dogs until the eighteen month hiatus before Mr Dog found them and what he considered to be a welcoming household even if there was a demand for change in a number of his habits!
Among the new commandments and laws there were a series of ‘shalts’ and ‘shall-nots’:
- Thou shalt not lunge at or chase vehicles of any sort, no matter how noisy or irritating or inviting they may be.
- Thou shall sit or lie at the side of the track for cyclists, runners and horses or, so that small children can pass unthreatened, on pavements.
- Thou shalt sit when on a lead to let other dogs past especially when they are looking nervous or aggressive.
- Thou shalt not, under any circumstances, jump up to meet people, especially the very old and the very young.
- Thou shalt not pull so hard on the lead that it all but dismembers the limbs of thy owner.
Mr Dog had taken several months to learn the basics and to walk off the anxieties of city life that had shaped his first nine months of life. These days people complimented him on his behaviour while he sat down or lay at the side of the path or calmly wagged in greeting. Often it would be a shouted ‘thank you’ or ‘lovely dog’ from a passing runner or rider.
Life had become somehow, simpler. Food, he had learned, was always available so he could snack through the day and that if he could avoid eating then treats would be added to the bowl of Royal Canin dried food which h made for quite a banquet when owners were in bed.
His favourite treat included the breadcrumbs and flecks of cheese from the chopping board following the making of cheese sandwiches which provided a mining experience to find the morsels. Best of all, were roast chicken Sundays, when the treats would include some crispy chicken skin and the left-over gravy.
Lunch was a strange affair for Mr Dog when there was a different treat, a venison stick or a chicken flavoured chew while they sat in the conservatory and Dog attentions were not allowed. He would be summoned by the singing of “something for the dog…..” to the tune of “Fly Me to the Moon” often chorused in harmony.
Mornings began for Mr Dog just before first light when the sounds of the waking garden filtered through the bedroom window where his own bed was positioned in the bay. He had freedom of the house at night so nocturnal ramblings to sleep on the chairs in the front room or his bed in the music room or to peer into the dark garden from the window on the stairs.
Cats had become an obsession and a major part of his vocabulary and any sentence that ended with a rhyming syllable to cat was an excuse to charge down the garden , scouring the lawn, charging through the flower bed and generally coating himself in enough mud to make it worthwhile rolling on the carpets.
Life had changed in the early evenings from the early days when TV programmes were punctuated with the repeated and almost endless pat pat of paws across the carpet and the dropping in the lap of a slobbery dog toy. Now there was a new game, the blanket game. This involved ‘Where’s-Lez’ holding the large brown fluffy blanket out to arrange it to put across her lap which seemed the perfect excuse to wrap himself in it, roll over and generally get into a waggy-tailed tangle. When eventually the blanket was arranged and the invitation given, he hops up, arranges himself and flops, head in ‘Where’s-Lez’s’ lap, paws in the air and eyes blissfully closed. Then the dreaming starts and the tail and paws twitch………
Walks had also changed, no longer were cyclists, horses and cars chased, Barney knew to sit at the side of the path to let cyclists, runners and Horses past and cars on the road were ignored. The only vehicle chased was the train, and then only in the park when it was the other side of the long fence- at other times it was ignored.
Now much walking could be done without a lead at all and although on the lead there was some tugging there was little danger of injury to the lead holder which meant keeping up with his 5 miles a day of walking was rather easier.
Some pictures and thoughts to follow….