Being a temporarily dogless dog person is hard.
It’s hard because people assume that you’re not much interested in dogs and it’s hard because you don’t get offered a lot of dog opportunities.
Strangers think you’re a bit nuts if you make an inordinate fuss of their pooches, as I found once with the bloke who was walking absolutely the most gorgeous field spaniel puppy in our village. The puppy was very friendly and when thepuppy and I had thoroughly molested each other, I offered to puppysit any time (this from a complete stranger) he said, in the politest way “Err. .. my wife and I don’t go out much, but, er, thanks.”
Idiot. What did he think? I was a mad woman bend on seducing him through the sheer force of my puppy lurve or that I was seeking some licit entrance to his home in order to rob him of his grandfather’s pocket watches? Could he not tell I was merely a bit desperate for some Essence de Puppy?
But enough with the whining. Fact is, I got a huge dose of Dog this weekend.
Saturday evening was a get-together with some friends who have a lurcher. Dill is the Julian Clary of dogs – constantly looks as though he’s wearing beautifully applied thick kohl eye-liner.
He greeted me with uncontrolled enthusiasm, and being a tall dog, could reach to lick under my chin, then, at the table later, stood calmly with his head in my lap while I scratched the bony bit between his ears.
The ears are the other things that make him special because they are like ultra-animated Yoda ears, flying upright and directionally in search of any odd sounds, or flopping relaxed.
Dill soars over stiles and five bar gates. He runs beside bikes and goes half-marathon training with his owner. He flops dramatically with a prima donna groan on his very large bed on the kitchen floor when tired. And yes, obviously, I’d dog-nap him like a shot.
On Sunday, there was a perfect dog walk with three working cocker spaniels, coats all gleaming with health and streaking about investigating every single scent on the top of the Cotswolds near Cleeve Hill.
They have a very clear order of dominance, with Rudeboy the oldest and wisest and the one with the most working instinct, Top Dog, followed by Rio, who is much more attached to treats and people (in that order) to show the tireless attention to duty that Rudeboy shows – and then there is Digsy, the youngest, sweetest and most attached to his mum.
One of the nicest things about going walking with these dogs is the joy of watching spaniels enjoying themselves hugely and the way these pack animals are immensely good-natured and friendly with other passing dogs.
The camaraderie extends to the owners too – especially on a sunny day. An un-dogged friend who joined us was astonished at how friendly other dog-walkers are and how it’s de rigeur to let the dogs meet and play rumbustiously while the owners have a chat before continuing their walk. It’s a part of life you almost forget when you haven’t got a dog to walk.
There are other things you miss too. I started to write them all down but quite frankly, the un-dogged just wouldn’t understand. Suffice to say, this temporary dogless status has been going on far too long now, and it’s more than a bit sad that I can’t see an end to it. But hey, no moaning. The weekend Dose of Dog should last me for a bit.
Rio and Digs
Digs – full pelt
The tongue temperature gauge very evident here