Dogs eh? Why do we have ‘em? Is it that just that we need something that loves us unconditionally, without any form of discernment whatsoever? Is it for the warmth of fur? Is it because it takes us back in some atavistic way to when we first made friends with wolves?
As I type this I can hear a cacophony of barking. I can hear the anguished wail of a man who most probably (I don’t dare look) has a terrier attached to a soft part of his anatomy while a small hybrid medieval beastie (looking suspiciously like a small beagle) laughs from the sidelines. And I wonder why deliveries don’t always get here eh?
This dog thing. You know what’s coming, don’t you? A few nights ago, I was sitting on the sofa in front of the fire, with James, making the right growling noises at the X Factor while reading a blog on the laptop. Asbo was off inventing new ways to shorten my life and the SP had just come back from the pub with James and Adrian and had settled in the fireplace (yes, in). Then, just as another homogenous pub singer started warbling, he took himself off.
Ten minutes later I went to put on the kettle.
‘Adrian! The dog’s been sick on the sofa.’ The lovely little red antique sofa that I’d rescued from my old (as in ex but also relatively aged) therapist’s house. Quick aside here: I once told her about a dream in which I’d seen The Cure and fully expected her to talk about how dreams speak in metaphors and to quiz me on my personal ‘cure’ but instead she simply said. ‘I used to be the band therapist for The Cure. Robert – dear boy.’ Cool huh?
Anyhow, I went back to the (other) sofa (vast, yellow, from a nice shop in Sherborne) and went back to throwing insults at the screen.
‘It’s not sick,’ yelled Adrian.
‘Well, it ain’t a smoothie,’ I replied.
‘No. I mean it’s diarrhoea.’
Oh FFS. And, in the time it took the judges to say another act had nailed it, made the stage their own and were meaning every word, the SP went from being perfectly fine to being really ill. As in standing shaking like a leaf with saliva dripping from his mouth and...
‘Shit,’ I said.
‘Exactly,’ said Adrian. ‘It’s that bloody dog food!’
‘What bloody dog food?’
‘The stuff he won’t eat.’
‘That weird dog food you got sent for free.’
‘Don’t be bloody ridiculous! They don’t make dog food that makes dogs violently ill. How bloody stupid would that be?’
‘Well….’ He didn’t sound too certain. Thought a bit and then took a deep breath and launched back in. ‘Well, if he hadn’t been hungry, he wouldn’t have eaten whatever it is he’s eaten that made him ill.’ Triumphant.
Meanwhile the poor SP stood, shivered and dribbled.
‘Stop arguing about the bloody dog food, you two,’ shouted James. (yes, he swears, what can I say?) ‘What about the pup?’
He had a point. Adrian frowned at me. ‘Do you think you should call the vet?’
Ignoring the flashing of vets’ bills before my eyes, I called and she said ‘Do you think I should see him?’ And I resisted the urge to say, ‘Well you’re the flipping vet, what do YOU think?’ Why is it they all do this now? Doctors say, ‘Do you think you need antibiotics?’; builders say ‘You think that big crack in your wall needs fixing?’ I mean, what happened to professionals telling you what you need to know because they have been trained, and you haven’t? Ask the lawyers, I guess. Or go Greek and have a referendum.
Anyhow, we ascertained that it might be a Good Idea for her to leave whatever she was doing (which I’m willing to bet wasn’t watching X Factor) and come on down and so Adrian wrapped the SP up in a blanket and walked down to the surgery. Meanwhile I scrubbed. And scrubbed. And scrubbed. And held my breath quite Olympically. And James got teary and I told him that no, the dog was NOT going to die. Not yet. Not on my watch. Fingers crossed behind my back in case the stupid creature had somehow ingested poison. Remembering the roll call of Dogs I Have Had and how they have, in general, all had a tendency to die.
Bill. Boxer. Killed a poodle. Rehomed. Presumably died.
Bella. Miniature dachshund.Terrified old ladies. Run over. Died.
Sadie. Cross-breed Border Collie. Got run over. Didn’t die. Smart dog. Kidney failure. Died.
Lizzie. Border Collie. Hip dysplasia. Died.
Reuben. Border Collie. Lived to ancient decrepitude. Eventually died.
Monty. Boxer. Wedding gift. Love of Adrian’s life. Leukaemia. Died.
Bonnie: aka Phantom Pooper. Border collie. Bonkers. Revolting. Lived to 587 (felt longer). Wouldn’t die. Eventually put down.
Asbo. Parson Jack Russell. Bites. Still revoltingly alive and robust. Immortalist tendencies.
SP. Beagle lookalike. Eats shit. Clearly wants to die.
And Adrian came back – with (thank feck!) the SP who had been given jabs and drugs and had the worst of the shit clipped off his backend by the vet who had, apparently, quietly yet repeatedly farted throughout the procedure. Yes, the vet, not the SP.
So. Now all is as it was. Except for the lingering smell of shit and another solar plexus kick to the credit card.
And really. Dogs? Why?
By the way. You have to laugh cos I’m sure this wasn’t the kind of post the dog food PR was hoping I’d write. But you have to be honest, right? The dog food is called (now don’t laugh)….
Yup. Laughing Dog. Oven-baked Natural Complete. Naturally, happy dog food.
Honestly, I kid you not.
‘Chicken rich in vegetables, barley and oats from the farm’ No added wheat, soya or dairy products. No added artificial colours or flavours. It’s hypoallergenic, for kibble’s sake. If Chappie is the McDonalds Big Mac of dog food, this is the health shop Tofu burger. Honestly, ignore Adrian. It's good wholesome stuff.