Happy Easter people. I hope you atheistically, agnostically or deeply spiritually stuffed your face with chocolate until you got those weird tic’s from too much sugar and your tongue felt too fat in your mouth. I know I did.
It has been an off piste bank holiday chez Boo. My brother called me on Saturday morning to tell me he was stuck in hospital with his girlfriend who had woken up in the early hours with a mahoosive nose bleed which wouldn’t stop. This was not an ideal state of affairs. Nor was the fact that they had left her three Great Dane pups at home in his house unattended for several hours.
I say pups. They are only 7 months old, but weigh 42kg each. To put it into perspective, I weigh 60kg. They also come up to my thigh when just standing around like a dog does. When they jump up however, you are eyeball to eyeball with them, or if you’re shorter than about 5ft4, they tower over you. I say pups, I mean delinquent pit ponies who think they are pocket sized bundles of cute fluffy loveliness and act accordingly. This is funny, and sometimes cute, but often quite distressing. Particularly if they’re trying to sit on your knee, climb into your pocket etc.
He asked me if I would be the designated dog sitter while they sorted everything out at the hospital. To be perfectly honest, the thought filled me with trepidation. I am not naturally a dog lover, despite owning a cat that thinks she is a dog. I don’t mind dogs. I’m not frightened of them, but I was concerned about the sheer quantity of dog on offer.
I have three children. I know what looking after a ‘three’ entails. It entails only having enough hands to catch two whilst watching number three hurtle off into the distance under a bus, across a field, into a canal, over the Irish sea etc. And you cannot bribe dogs with chocolate, or put them on the naughty step or explain to them in graphic detail what being squished to jam feels like.
Three also means that although they love each other as siblings do, someone is always left out and/or jealous. This means that you can never do anything nice without upsetting one of them unless you’ve got enough hands/knees/gifts to give largesse simultaneously to all three. Even if you do offer three things that are the same, whichever one is feeling oppressed will always decide that the other two have something better/nicer/bigger than theirs and either cry or bite the siblings that have the nicer thing. This goes equally for children or puppies.
Anyway, I love Uncle Robber, and he was very stressed, and the number of times he has bailed me out in times of crisis meant that of course I said yes. So I organised the children into a well known phrase or saying, called Jason who was playing golf somewhere off junction 32 of the M1 for his best friend’s birthday, and set off.
Here is what I learned about dogs and myself in relation to them.
There is a lot of pooh. I mean a lot of pooh. Frankly, too much in one Great Dane. Three though? It’s like wading through the Himalayas of pooh.
I have a deep seated loathing of coming into contact in any way with fresh, warm, pooh. It is, on reflection, the warmth of the pooh that is most upsetting to me. One of the children asked me if cold pooh would be preferable. Yes. Yes it would. Although no pooh at all would be ideal. If I were to get a dog I would require one with a cork.
There is a lot of spit. These three particular dogs enjoy licking people. I say enjoy, I mean it seems to be essential to their nature as animals padding around on this earth to lick people, anywhere at any moment in any given situation. A lick or twenty will cure what ails you. They seem particularly keen on licking the back of your neck if you sit down/crouch, reach any point at which they can see your exposed neck. Wearing a scarf does not help. They eat it. I did not have time to experiment with cowls, snoods or turtle necks.
If you are thinking of having Botox, may I recommend the vigorous application of Great Dane spit first. When it dries it does leave the skin fairly taut, which is a rough approximation of what a face lift would gift you. Great Dane spit is cheaper, but Botox does not smell quite so much of dog biscuits, nor indeed, dog.
Three dogs is too many dogs for me. It is relentless. There is never a time when one is not pissing, shitting, eating the furniture, stealing shoe laces, trying to eat a stick/Ugg boot/pen that they have sneakily purloined with all the stealth that is lacking in every other activity they do. You are just forcing the remains of a mangled biro out of one mouth only to turn round to find one has eaten half a kitchen roll in your absence (by absence I mean blink of an eye) and the other one has done a massive shit in the yard and is now contemplating eating it.
They never turn off. One gets tired and dozes off. The other one gets tired and dozes off. You think you’re winning. The third one looks beadily at its two sleeping siblings and thinks. ‘This will never do. I am very bored. I am all alone. This must be rectified immediately.’ Whereupon it bounds down to the bottom of the yard to bark at imaginary squirrels until the whole house is a seething mass of barking confused ‘puppies’ running round and round in circles. It is at this point that the original trouble maker will sneak back into the house, steal the warmest spot on the sofa and immediately fall asleep while the other two re-enact scenes from Bedlam for twenty minutes. Once they settle back down, the trouble maker will be suitably reinvigorated to decide there is an imaginary spider in the coving or some such malarkey and it all starts again.
This went on for several hours, during which time I had to eat my lunch sitting on the work surface in the kitchen (Uncle Robber’s house is small and does not have a dining room nor table) so that I was not burgled by dogs. As I was crouched, Gollum like on the tiles, eating as quickly as possible in order to make sure my food remained my own, I came to the conclusion that when my mum told me that I shouldn’t bother with children, I should have gone into dog breeding instead because it would be easier, she was lying.
When I got home, tired and reeking of dog spit, I fed Derek a bit of her favourite cheddar just to congratulate her for not being a dog. She ate it disdainfully, flicked me the cat equivalent of the ‘V’s’ and gave me a wonderful view of her arse as she stepped daintily out into the night to get on with private cat business of her own. I wept in gratitude.
P.S. It only took twenty minutes in a boiling shower to get all the dog spit off.
P.P.S. The dogs are lovely really.
P.P.P.S. I’m not having a dog.
P.P.P.P.S. Uncle Robber’s girlfriend should be out of hospital today. Yes, I did go back on Sunday and look after the dogs while he went to visit her. Thankfully visiting hours were short and my mum was dog wrangler number two so we shared the spit and the pooh duties.