Hurrah… summer is here at last! Which is brilliant, except that my polymer clay pretty much turns to sticky toffee in this kind of heat. Not to worry, if I can’t sculpt at least it gives me the incentive to write a long-overdue blog entry instead. I’ve decided I need to be less ‘precious’ about it and just get on and write/post more frequently. It’s blogging, not the Bayeux Tapestry. There’s an edit button.
So… last time I blogged (way back in 1970 or so) I was telling you about my first dog, Puppy. After I lost her, I lasted all of about two weeks without a dog in the house. Those weeks were awful. I had no one sensible to talk to, I could finish food without feeling guilty and if I dropped a piece of toast it hit the floor. And it struck me that while I was sitting feeling sorry for myself, a dog was sitting in a cage somewhere and Puppy would have hated that.
I headed to Battersea Dogs and Cats home with two instructions, ‘not too big’ from the dog sitter (my mum) and ‘something that’s not too boisterous and won’t get too muddy’ from my partner at the time. I walked around wanting to take home all the dogs, until one in particular caught my eye. Or rather she didn’t.
One of the enclosures I passed appeared to be empty and I peered into the kennel area before I realised my mistake: I had been looking on the floor, where the other dogs were. I didn’t know how she had got there (more on that later) but MY dog was standing on top of the kennel, at face level, looking quite pleased to see me. I checked the label on the door, where most dogs had some notes about behaviour, preferences etc. This one just said ‘Tan mongrel. Food obsessed’.
An aside to illustrate that point and so you can picture what follows: here is a photo of a relatively skinny dog about four weeks after she came home with me, enjoying her first Christmas at my mum’s house…
…and one of her fat belly enjoying the sofa after her first Christmas dinner.
Anyway, back to Battersea. She hopped off the kennel and came to say hello. She was a Staffie/Labrador cross, quite a bit bigger than my first dog and I felt ‘tan mongrel’ was a bit harsh; she was quite clearly complex shades of ginger, light brown and blonde, whose hair would shed noticeably on every single article of clothing I owned. I decided at once that I wanted to meet her, so I headed off to fill in a rehoming application and register my interest. When I started to leave she howled, grabbed my sleeve and wouldn’t let go. I managed to extricate myself and promised her I would come back, as she let out a series of blood curdling squeals and bounced off the walls. Not too big or boisterous, I kidded myself. Oh, it would be fine. Who wouldn’t love her?
One successful home visit later I went back with… right, we need a shorthand for my ex-partner who wasn’t particularly keen on dogs. Let’s just call her ‘Cruella’. What? It’s my blog and I’m sure she calls me much worse.
The staff took us to a side room and went to get my ‘tan mongrel’. In she came sounding like a steam train, straining on her lead and pulling the kennel worker behind her. They let her off and she proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes jumping all over me, chewing my clothes, licking my face and bouncing off the walls again. Cruella looked on in horror but it was love at first sight for Honey and I. As I had a cat at the time, she also had to be ‘cat tested’. This involved taking her to the cattery (where the cats were all safely in their enclosures) and seeing how she reacted. How she reacted was to completely ignore the cats and make a bee line for a lady who was looking into an open enclosure. This lady promptly met her potential new feline companion at rather closer quarters than either of them was expecting as Honey jumped up at her back and shoved her headfirst into the cage. “Sorry!” I said, for the first of many, many times, even though I wasn’t even holding her lead yet. Cruella glowered and asked if I was sure I wanted *this* dog. Oh come on, hadn’t she been watching? I mean, sure she was 25 kilos of completely untrained ginger muscle but that was hilarious. Even the lady with the cat attached to her face saw the funny side.
I paid the adoption fee and headed off to get her microchip fitted. As they took us into reception and handed over the lead she recognised that she was going outside and started to squeal. I say squeal, it was more of a scream. The sort of noise you may have heard foxes making at 3am. “Sorry!” I said, as I smiled and pretended she wasn’t pulling my arm out of its socket as I tried to hold her still. Suffice it to say that the first microchip needle went into the vet. She was very nice about it and waved us off with a cheery “Good luck! Come back and see us if that… noise becomes a problem” as Honey screamed her way to the door. “Sorry!” I said to everyone in reception and hoped none of them were suffering permanent hearing impairment.
Even I was starting to wonder if I’d been entirely sensible, until we got to the car. Honey took one look, decided she wasn’t sure what this was all about and flatly refused to get in. I did ‘happy voice’, bribed her with treats and attempted to lift her, which was like trying to juggle a sack full of ferrets. Finally, I gave Cruella the car keys, got in the back seat and said ‘come on then!’ In jumped Honey without a second thought, squashed herself as tightly against me as she could and settled in for the ride. Because she was my dog and we both knew it and that was just the way it was.
More on Honey soon, including ‘When Honey Met Lucy’ and ‘the ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Kitchen’.