My bark is much worse than my bite

I’ve had a holiday!

I’ve been to the vets – twice.

I’ve also been assessed regarding some of my more unfortunate habits.  This was as a consequence of my managing to escape when the garden gate blew open.  I ran and ran.  So did my Dad.  My Mum picked up the bags and my lead and set off at a brisker than usual trot to try to find me and my Dad.  To be fair, I did actually turn round and stop eventually, but by that time my Dad was not best pleased, was bent double and making strange couching noises.    I was brought home in disgrace and left in no doubt about how disappointed they were in me.  I do sad dog face so well.

My Mum hit the internet with a vengeance and booked us up with a man who would visit and do some work with all three of us regarding my pulling, woofing at cyclists, joggers and delivery men, and my growling at random things and people. I don’t have a problem with any of these behaviours but apparently my humans do.

Back to the holiday first though.

I got quite excited about all the suitcases littered around the house, and observed with great interest the animated discussions about what needed to be taken and what didn’t.  I had my own rucksack, sports bag and bag of bedding, not to mention a newly stocked treats box and enough food to last me the week.  The hotel was supposed to supply me with meals but my Boy wasn’t sure if they would have food that was good enough for me (preens and grins).

I went out for a run with my Dad at tea time on the day before we were due to leave and I trod on a thorn.  The combined efforts of my Mum, my  Dad and my Boy couldn’t get it out, so at ten o’clock that night I was taken off to the emergency vets.  Oh the smells.  Sheer heaven for a scent hound like me.

I liked the vet and the nurse.  I didn’t like the sounds or what happened to the other animals that were emergencies that night.  There was a sweet greyhound that had a heart attack and died, a bunny that was savaged by a fox and an old cat whose legs went.  Four patients and I was the only one that came out alive.  The nurse kept apologising to my Mum and Dad but I don’t think they minded the wait – a thorn in the paw was very trivial  compared to what happened to  the other patients that night.

When it was my turn they put on my Hannibal Lecter mask in case I bit anyone.  I didn’t.  I just pulled the mask off in disgust.  The lady vet took me off into a back room to have some local anaesthetic put on my paw and within a few minutes I was back with my Mum and my Dad.  The nurse brought the thorn with her – it was 6mm long and hurt like hell coming out.  I had an antibiotic injection and a course of pills because we were going away for a week and wouldn’t be able to come back for a check up.  Then they gave us the bill.    All I can say is that it was a good job we didn’t go there after midnight because the tariff was even steeper.  My Mum and Dad didn’t seem to mind though, they were just pleased that I was alright.

We bought my Boy a Maccie D’s on the way home but even though I was a frightfully brave dog and deserved to be spoiled, he still didn’t give me any of his fries.  He can be very strict sometimes.

Despite the late night, we were all up very early next morning and I watched with interest as my Dad and my Boy packed up the car.  The cottage we were staying in didn’t have a washing machine, and as my Mum said that she had no intention of spending her holiday sitting in a launderette, she had to bring quite a lot of clothes with her.  This caused some grumbling from my Dad and my Boy who failed to understand why my Mum needed so many clothes.  She told them that it was a woman thing and to get over it.

It was a long journey down to Cornwall but I was very good.  My bed was on the floor between my Boy’s seat and the seat that I let the Other Boy use when he was home.  The cover has now been put back on it and I can drool on the window to my heart’s content. We made four stops allowing me to poo, pee and woof my way down the country.  I also allowed my humans to stop and eat and do whatever humans do when they disappear off into a motorway service station.

By the time we arrived at the hotel my Mum and my Boy were tired and emotional, which meant that they were snipping at each other.  My Dad was just tired from all that driving.  It didn’t help that the cottage we were staying in was miles from the car park and all the luggage had to be transported in wicker baskets on wheels.  My Mum took charge of me and we followed the parade of my Dad, the lady porter and my grumbling Boy, all loaded down with luggage.

It was a nice cottage though.  Very Scooby friendly with NO stairs.  The hotel staff even left special treats for me,  a pile of pooh bags and some old but clean bedspreads to put over the furniture.  I explored the whole cottage – except for the two en-suite bathrooms – I don’t do bathrooms – that’s where humans make smells and try to wash you.

My Mum started to look happier.  She could see the sea, and we had a nice little walled garden with chairs and a table.  The sun was shining and once everyone had eaten the world looked rosy again.

We were on holiday!

For three days it was sunny and I went for long walks on the headland, shorter walks on the beach and was let off the lead in a little cove with only one way out.  My Mum and my Dad sneaked off to the hotel and had cocktails – not sure what they are but they make my Mum smile a lot.

They took me to a place called Lands End.  My Boy and I were not impressed.  There were coach loads of foreign tourists and people with small yapping dogs.  It was a relief to get back in the car.

Because it was their special anniversary (no idea – it’s a human thing) my Boy and I let my Mum and my Dad out for a special dinner at the hotel too.  I think they had more of those cocktail things because they both came back smiling and singing songs that made my Boy pull his disgusted face.  My Mum and my Dad giggled.

The weather kind of went downhill after that but my Dad – and sometimes my Boy if he was awake – made sure that I had lots of walks.  My Mum came too sometimes but her poorly toe still means she can’t walk as far as my Dad and my Boy.

One morning when I was out with my Dad I smelled the most delicious smell on the grass and had to roll and roll and roll in it.  As soon as my Dad and I walked back into the cottage my Mum wrinkled up her nose and said “Ugh – fox pooh!”

My Dad is a novice dog owner and had never smelled fox pooh before.  It is not a smell he will ever forget now.

I was taken out into the garden where – in somewhat wet and windy conditions – my Mum and my Dad applied shampoo and scrubbed me down from head to foot.  I love it when they rub you dry with a towel.  My collar and harness had to be washed  and my Mum received a heartfelt apology from my Dad because although the car had been packed too full with luggage, it meant that she had remembered to bring towels, brushes and special shampoo for me.

We went to a place called Mousehole  the next day but the only cats and mice I saw were stuffed ones.  We sat in the car, in the rain and the humans ate fish and chips, apparently they are VERY bad for dogs.  A cheeky seagull perched on our car and I wanted it SO much. I woofed and growled a great deal. My Mum promised that she’d look for a stuffed one for me.  She looked but the best she could come up with was a stuffed penguin.  Epic Fail.  I chewed it once then tucked it under a blanket and forgot about it.

I was deserted on the last night of our holiday.  The three of them went off to the hotel and had dinner – and more of those cocktail things.  I was overjoyed when they returned though.  They were equally overjoyed to find that I had been very good and not damaged the furniture, weed or poohed anywhere whilst they were out.  I fell asleep.

Tempers were rather frayed the next morning when my humans had to get the luggage back to the car.  We had acquired some extra bits and pieces and I cringed slightly whilst my Boy stomped off to the car and my Mum and my Dad had WORDS.

They made friends again though.  They never stay angry at each other for long.

We were making a couple of detours on the way home.  The first was to a tank museum – for the Boy.  My Mum and I stayed in the car and listened to a comedian on her Kindle thing.  She laughed a lot and I looked wistfully out of the window, missing my Dad and my Boy. It made my Boy very happy though, he’s rather into guns and tanks and things that make loud noises.

When they came back we made our way to see my Mum’s sister and her husband.  He is very tall and she isn’t, and I could tell straight away that they were dog lovers.  I didn’t woof or growl and although I would have liked to stay out in their garden and chase the pigeons, I was impeccably behaved.  I ate my dinner and eventually nodded off whilst the humans ate their dinners and talked.  I like having relatives.

At last we were on our way home.  It rained and apparently we shared the motorways with vast numbers of football fans heading North.  I slept for most of the journey, only really waking up when we were about a quarter of a mile from home and the front wheel  got a puncture.  It was very noisy in the car after that, and we crawled home very, very, very slowly.

Luggage was unloaded and left in piles in the living room because the humans just wanted to go to sleep.  I would have preferred to go for walkies or play games but I curled up on my sofa and did the looking-like-I’ve-fallen-asleep-until-they-go-upstairs thing.

I think I liked having a holiday, especially as it meant that I got to walk on sandy beaches and roll in fox pooh – not sure that I’ll get the chance to do that again – especially not with my Mum’s very sensitive sense of smell.

My Dad had a birthday once we were back and the Other Boy came home for a visit.  We are firm friends now – although he doesn’t do walks or feeding me still.  They all went out to dinner again and left me to guard the house.  No one came though so I didn’t even have to woof.  The next morning the Other Boy went back to this Uni place where he lives a lot of the time – and where I’m not allowed to go because they don’t have pets.

I saw another vet in order to get my poor paw checked.  This one was a man and not as pretty or smiley as the emergency vet had been.  He looked at my paw, listened to my heart and clipped my claws.  I didn’t woof or growl once although I was disappointed that there was no lady vet for me to charm.  Nevertheless the vet said that I was a nice dog, my paw had healed and I was in good health – but I could lose a few kilos.

More walkies – happy face – less treats and cut down on amount they give me for dinner – sad face.

The next day was both strange and special.

The Bark Buster man came.

I woofed and growled at him a bit but he just sat down on the sofa and looked at me.  I stopped growling and wagged my tail a little.  He put out a hand, which I sniffed, then I licked his fingers and we were friends.

He spent some time talking to my Mum, my Dad and my Boy and making notes  as he went along.  I got bored and fell asleep by the patio door.

Eventually they put my harness on and we ALL went out for walkies.

I confess.  I pulled – a bit = okay then – a lot.

We walked round the block  – to the amusement of some of our neighbours –  then came to a halt in the cul-de-sac (very French) round the corner.  There were more neighbours out in their gardens and they too were amused by the sight of me being walked up and down the road by the BB man and then all three of my humans.  The idea of this exercise was to stop me pulling by turning round and walking in the opposite direction every time I pulled.

You don’t get very far geographically using this method but being quick on the uptake, I stopped pulling.

I also got introduced to the ‘grunt of disapproval‘.  I don’t like it. I didn’t like it when the BB man did it, I liked it even less when my humans did it.  I prefer to bask in their approval.

Whilst they were busy discussing my behaviour in the middle of the road, I took the opportunity to frighten the living daylights out of a harmless teenage schoolgirl who was visiting nearby.  At least the BB man has seen how scary I can be now.  He didn’t appear to be too impressed though.

So now we all have homework to do.

More of the ‘ road to nowhere’ training  – especially for my Mum – who is still suffering from a poorly shoulder from where I pulled her over.  She is allowed to work with me in the front garden and doesn’t have to feel inadequate if she never gets all the way round the block.

My Boy needs to talk to me and reassure me more.

My Dad needs to continue running with me but has to teach me when to stop running.

We have high happy voice for praise, ordinary voice for commands like ‘sit’ and ‘lie down’, and we have the grunt of disapproval for when I growl or pull too much.

The BB man will come back in a couple of weeks time to see how we are all doing.

Last night I fixated on a cat, growled at another dog and just as we were walking in the gate a cyclist came round the corner and I went ballistic.

Think it is time the BB man paid us another visit.

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