Hola amigos! Wotcha mates! Or even Aiya luv! See how proficient I am at this multilingual stuff?
I am still here after my first month and my paws are well and truly under the table – well they would be if it wasn’t for the fact that my Mum, Dad and the Boy seem to use the table as a general dumping ground rather than for eating off. At the moment it is a mess of paperwork, gloves, hats, books, CDs, DVDs and – ooh drool – I can see Scooby snacks half-hidden by a magazine and just waiting for me to devour them (the magazine is ‘Heat’ – bought by my Mum for the ‘Weird Crush’ article – it seems that she has a weird crush on three-quarters of the weirdos therein).
Back to life – back to reality – back to the here and now. What a lyrical pooch I am but before the present a small recap to explain the even greater level of disorder and chaos in this house.
The boiler died. My dogservatory became very cold at night and as a consequence I was permitted to sleep in the living room – on the sofa – AT NIGHT and ALL NIGHT – not just when the Boy couldn’t sleep and came down for munchies and a cuddle.
I hasten to point out that during this period I was very, very good, and didn’t eat or destroy anything. In fact – since the one-off incident with the stale bagel I have not pinched anything at all. I’ll say this for my family, they provide me with decent grub so that I don’t have to help myself. Not that I would take anything that my Boy cooks anyway – he has a tendency to lace everything with lashings of Tabasco Sauce – not good for a doggy constitution.
Whilst my main meals are stable and of high quality (they got a 10% discount at the pet shop and bought some decent food in bulk) my Mum has been browsing in the pet aisles at various supermarkets to find a variety of healthy and enticing snacks with which to encourage good (i.e. subservient) behaviour. Anything that smells highly of bacon is good for a snuffle hound like me but cheesy stuff is appreciated too.
I digress. Apparently my Dad has been intending to replace the boiler – and the entire heating system – for some time and then Fate forced his hand. It was going to take two days, there would be no heat or hot water and LOTS of disruption. Not ideal for an old lag like me who is just getting acclimatised to my new surroundings after eighteen months in the chokie but the alternative wasn’t too palatable either.
So there were quite a few days of dust and disorganisation whilst my Mum and Dad cleared away years of detritus from in front of the radiators (there was some recycling but much of the junk has just been moved from one space to another). On the Sunday before the work was due to begin I became so excited about the patio door being left open that during one of my mad running in and out moments I made the mistake of revealing to my Dad how easy it would be for me to jump over the six-foot wall by the gate (not that pleasant though as there is a huge Pyracanthus bush on the other side that would have seriously wrecked my lovely glossy coat and left my family picking prickles out of me for months afterwards.)
The patio door was shut firmly at that point and the Dyson brought out in an effort to keep the dust levels down and stop my Mum wheezing and sneezing.
Monday morning and the men (well – big boys) arrived. I should state here that I now I have my own home again I am just a little protective about it – ask the postman. I confess to a bit of huffing and growling at first, and due to the number of open doors and heavy metal radiators in the yard, I had to wear my lead and be tethered to a family member. We spent a large amount of the day huddled together for warmth on the sofa whilst the boiler boyz whizzed from room to room whipping out the grungy old radiators and installing the shiny new ones. There was also a fearsome and intriguing amount of noise from my Mum and Dad’s bedroom which had a lot to do with the removal of a giant copper tank, several smaller tanks and the collapse of a wooden louvred door that used to cover up the big tank. There was much wuffing on my part but the growling ceased.
On Tuesday a third boiler boy joined the team and there was even more noise so my Mum and Dad took me for a nice walk in the woods. There were bunnies but although I was on the extending lead I couldn’t quite catch them (well – when I say ‘quite’ I mean they were some distance away in reality but if they’d been cats ….. who knows?)
The boiler boyz were finished by Tuesday tea time; they cleaned up and took all the old radiators, tanks and packaging away with them so that I could have my yard back again. My day doesn’t seem right unless it starts with me and my shivering Mum out in the yard playing hide and seek for treats – it is best in the dark but she only does this when my Dad is on a morning shift or she can’t sleep. Once I’ve stretched my legs and consumed sufficient treats we usually curl up on the sofa together and heckle news readers on the BBC.
The house was warm again – a bit too warm until my Mum read the instructions on how to programme the new heating system. It meant that my freedom of the living room was curtailed though and I was back in my room at night (apart from the time when the Boy didn’t shut the door properly and I sneaked out once he’d gone to bed).
So a week on and we still have dusty boxes and bags scattered around; the pressure is off so my Mum and Dad have slowed down on their good intentions – the Boy has his own standards of tidiness regarding his room but as I still won’t do stairs they must remain a mystery – I have heard my Mum yelling at him about clearing up his pit, bringing the rubbish down and putting his dirty dishes in the dishwasher. He only seems to do these things for reward however – and we aren’t talking Scooby snacks either.
Last Friday was a pretty wonderful day for me. We had our longest drive over to the Wirral and went on a big sandy beach. My Mum and Dad took the extending lead and I ran. I ran a lot. In fact I ran so much that I pulled the lead out of my Mum’s hand and legged down the beach. Hampered by wellies, my Dad came after me but couldn’t catch me. At that point I remembered the Scooby snacks in my Mum’s pocket, took pity on my Dad and ran back to my Mum’s relieved and ever open arms. I do like to be beside the seaside.
The Boy was helping his friend move house all day that day and we went to collect him – another car trip. I LOVE our car especially when I can stick my nose out of the window and drool down the glass. I was allowed in the new house and after some persuasion and many Scooby snacks, I actually made it up the stairs. Well, they were carpeted, unlike the clattering wooden slats we have at home. They let me off the lead and I explored but disgraced myself a bit by christening the carpet in one of the bedrooms. They all needed to be cleaned anyway. A dog has to leave his mark.
We went visited again a couple of days ago and discovered that their own dog (an elegant older woman greyhound who I have already approved) and a dog belonging to another family member (a skittish little whippet girl who has NO manners at all) had followed suit and also watered the same piece of carpet. I had to be relegated to the car on this visit because the intrusive nose of the whippet made me bad tempered, growly and I used the edge of the sofa as a lamp post substitute. Oops.
I’m afraid I am being a bit of a trial to my family at the moment. My wuffing and growling whilst out has become a bit unpredictable and as a consequence there are now places in the neighbourhood that are no-go areas – sometimes only limited by the time of day as with the local school and the demented mothers who park all over the pavement and have yappy designer dogs that they can’t control. There is also the road where the mad man with long grey hair lives. He too has a yappy little dog and allows it to hurl abuse from behind a gate usually but the other day when my Mum and I were having a leisurely stroll, he let the thing out and it went for us. I out-wuffed it but my Mum had me on a tight rein (so tight that she burnt her hands and ripped off a fingernail – I am very strong) so I couldn’t do much more than tell it what I thought of it. The mad man grabbed his dog by the tail and tried to get it back on to the other side of the road – not back behind the gates – just to the other pavement where he let go and the dog came charging towards us again.
We turned tail and walked back the way we’d come with my Mum muttering about ‘responsible dog ownership’ and the mad man stating that it was a ‘free country’. I expressed my feelings by having a huge poop when we got out of sight. It made me feel better but my Mum, already struggling with the burnt hands and torn fingernail, was not impressed. The mood lifted when we passed the bus stop and a nice old lady remarked on how handsome I was. My Mum had to agree and doled out the Scooby snacks as I melted hearts with my big brown eyes.
There have been a couple of other incidents since then; I went for a large black husky-type yesterday – well – when I say went for, I mean growled and wuffed and pulled – but my timing was a bit off. I really shouldn’t do that sort of thing when my Dad is scooping poop. He got a bit cross and stern. The day continued to deteriorate with the visit from the nice man installing some equipment for the broadband upstairs. Unfortunately, although my Mum and Dad said he was nice, he smelled very strongly of cigarettes and that set me off with the growling and wuffing again. My Mum put me on lockdown; on the lead and sitting at her feet, banned from the sofa, stern voice and in disgrace for the rest of the afternoon. They took me out for a walk later but it was one of those ‘we are in charge and you will walk slowly and nicely or we stand still till you do and there are no Scooby snacks’ walks. Being an intelligent dog, I latched on quickly, did as I was asked and got lots of praise, hugs (and Scooby snacks) as a consequence. We were all shattered when we got home though.
So – I need to accept that my family are in charge and that they don’t like me to wuff and growl excessively (four wuffs is okay in the house – that’s part of my guard dog duty). They need to be consistent however, and harden themselves to my imploring eyes. I think they understand now that sometime in my past a bad man smelling strongly of cigarettes, with a shaven head,and the physique of a bouncer, hit me and made me frightened. I know they won’t let that happen to me again but I am only a dog (albeit a beautiful and intelligent dog) and such fears are deeply rooted.
On the upside (as my Mum has discovered by reading one of the many dog books that she has acquired) I am very good in the house, I was very gentle with the little girl and the baby that visited last weekend, I don’t get territorial about food, I am not destructive and I wait to be invited to sit on the sofa where I give excellent cuddles.
We are all shaping up – and considering we’ve only had one month together – not doing too badly.
When can we go to the seaside again?