There are many reasons why you shouldn’t get a dog. So if you are thinking of acquiescing to the demands of your off-spring (or trying to convince your husband to bow to yours) you may wish to read the following first, just to help you arrive at an informed decision.
I have spent a great deal of time during this Lockdown period, convinced that my family are trying to gas light me. Perhaps you have felt the same. Here’s how it goes:
ME: Where’s my phone?
OFF-SPRING (in unison, playing on their f**king Nintendo): Don’t know. (And don’t fecking care either).
Two hours later the phone is located on their bedroom floor where one child films another leaping from bed to bed while giving a running commentary in a fake and grating American accent.
Now the dog has started conspiring against me too. Single slippers are deposited on the lawn, as are table tennis bats. When I’m weeding and set down my trowel for five seconds she make off with that too, and my gardening gloves don’t fare any better. I constantly lose things anyway so I don’t need children and animals adding to my messy, muddled mind.
I’m not sure whether our dog thinks she is a person or whether she regards the rest of us as her pack of dogs. Either way, she likes to be very involved in every activity, and whines pitifully if the children have the audacity to go into the garden without her. LSB went for a snooze the other day and woke up with her asleep beside him, head on the pillow. He jumped, I laughed, she snored. It’s like having a shadow following us about and God help her when normality returns, because she won’t want to be left.
The cat is still non-plussed at her arrival, especially because Tilly devours all her food which is costing us a fortune in fecking Gourmet Purina pouches. At least they have settled down around each other now- the first few weeks it was like living in an episode of ‘The Wire.’
I am acquainted with a local poet, whose Twitter bio reads: ‘Servant to a menagerie of creatures.’ Join the club, I thought at five this morning, as I wandered around the garden trying to convince the dog to pee. This is not the norm, I might add, but unfortunately when your greyhound manages to impale herself on some unknown sharp object while on her morning walk to the meadow, this is the outcome.
Some lengthy surgery ensued, and her thigh needed to be all stitched together; no easy feat when you consider the breed’s skin, which is taut and thin. The poor vet didn’t have much to work with. Quite a mischief she did to herself, and we now have to monitor her day and night lest she escapes from her collar of shame and rips out her stitches. She has been put on strict bed rest, which, for a youthful energetic creature like herself, isn’t so much a challenge as an impossibility. Moreso for us, trying to police her. You’d have better luck trying to get Dominic Cummings to STAY AT HOME. Incidentally, when she refused to pee outside this morning I put Saturday’s Guardian on the floor to see if she would urinate on that, but she said no, she’d have another go outside before she’d relieve herself on your man’s face. Finally, when I took off her collar she deigned to go. There’s forty-five minutes of my life I’ll never get back.
She has only managed to defecate once in the last forty-eight hours, due to the combined effects of trauma, a general anaesthetic and a reduced appetite. The Small Child though, still managed to find the solitary shit, and not only stand in it, but proceed to slide down the slide with most of the canine faeces on her trainer, (which were, of course, white) thus necessitating the cleaning of both slide and shoe.
I have thus spent the last two days in a state of high agitation. We are, naturally, besotted with her, and she has rallied so well. The Mothership was dead against me getting a dog, (past experiences have been disastrous) until she met Tilly, and now asks me to send her a photo every day. The reason she was so agin getting her was that it’s just so flipping awful when something happens to them. Plus I’m forever ringing her to whinge about my over-burdened life and there is no doubt that having a dog at least doubles the housework. Even a shorthaired dog like herself moults something shocking.
But getting the dog, (at a lesser extent our tetchy and taciturn cat), has helped bring us together and give us a common focus during this time of weirdness and social distancing. It helps dispel the angst and gloom, and when I’m not treating them with flea powder and carting them off to the vet, it’s been a welcome reprieve.