Sunday, 16 May 2021

Silent but smelly protest or a cry for help?

IS it just our dog, Cookie, or does everyone’s housebound hound protest poo inside when they’ve not been out all day?

Honestly. For an animal not particularly known for its lofty intellect, our Irish Setter has taken silent protest and turned it into a smelly art form. And I don’t know much about art, but I know what I don’t like — and that’s dog poo in the house!

It’s bad enough that there are mini mounds of excrescence seemingly growing out of the lawn (and when I say lawn, I mean that patchy bit of grass and dirt out the back) but the fact that I have to routinely hold my breath, pick up said growths in my poo-bag-protected hand, run through the house, get to the front end of the driveway and hoik the bag into the big black wheelie bin (well, it’s not going in the recycling bins, is it!) makes it just that teensy bit more undignified and disgusting.

At least when the dog’s done his thing outside, I don’t have to disinfect, Febreze, Pledge and Domestos the dirt in the garden — but maybe I should. I mean, is that what we do in Henley?

Nothing else quite shines a light on how gross having a dog can be, though, than when it’s 3.30am and you’re on your hands and knees mopping up his latest “accident” while you weigh up the pros and cons of new floorboards versus rehoming the dog.

Nah, just joking. I didn’t bother with a mop, just a sponge that was on its last legs anyway.

Of course, it all comes down to me and my failings as a dog owner, mother and general human being. Everything is Mummy’s fault, after all. Which is partly true — I mean, I should have taken him out for a yomp of gargantuan proportions, shouldn’t I? He does need at least two hours a day…

But in my defence, it was the weekend, I was trying to write and I was snowed under with pressing work displacement activities such as having a stand-up row with the Eleventeen-Year-Old:

Me: “Let’s take Cookie out for a walk.”

Her: “No.”

Me: “Oh, come on, it’ll be fun!”

Her: “No.”

Me: “We’ll find the rope swings in the woods and see if we can spot deer and bunnies and...”

Her: “I said NO!”

Me: “But he’s YOUR dog! Well, he’s all of ours, really, but you have to learn to look after him properly, do more with him than just give him cuddles. You never feed him, brush him, take him out…”

Her: “Will I get paid if I do?”

Me: “NO!”

Her: “Then it’s a no from me, too.”

Me (exasperated): Ha-rumph!

In the ongoing battle for height supremacy that rages between us, I suddenly felt compelled to stand on a kitchen chair to yell at my poor (but unfeasibly tall) tweenage daughter. I was already losing the argument, obviously, but then she hit me with her impeccable logic and cut me to the quick:

Her: “Hashtag me too, Mummy! No means no! And besides, I’m baking!”

She had a point, a yummy one at that, but then so did I.

Me: “But it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow…”

Her (tilting her head to one side, looking up at me teetering on that vertiginous sodding kitchen chair): “Aww. We’ll go tomorrow then.”

Me (My mouth turning down at all the dust and cobwebs I can now clearly see on the light fittings): “Great! Aren’t those cupcakes ready yet?”

Mere minutes later, all four of us (Cookie included) are snuggled up on the sofabed that I’m not going to bother putting up, watching Nailed It! on Netflix. It’s a US TV show where distinctly non-professionals try to recreate the elaborate cakes the pros have made earlier. It’s quite funny, as failure so often is, and the kids love it.

We laugh at the disasters and scoff my daughter’s delicious offerings.

“This is the best day ever!” the Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old squeals as he shoves yet another cake into his face.

And while we all but ignore Cookie, save for the odd hug and stroke, he sits there on my leg, drooling for Britain and quietly plotting (or should that be plopping? Sorry.) his revenge.

But that’s another story…

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