What happens when the novelty wears off?

It occurred to me today, in the middle of this latest quarantine lockdown, that it is ninety days since my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge to see grandad and all my buddies who have departed. And it made me wonder again about my life. I know I seem to be quite cogitative recently and maybe its because of the current situation with this virus and many other things happening. The time has flown since dad took the fateful phone call in mid August. Nanny and grandad are still in our hearts and minds. Sometimes I think I can see dad looking toward the heavens when I have allegedly done something silly.

I know I am a little disparaging about Lenny but it’s good to have a little brother to run around after, play with and generally share my life. I say it often enough however I am a very lucky dog to have love, safety and security showered upon me. Walks every day come rain or shine, food twice a day, biscuits and treats on other occasions and the pick of seven beds to sleep in all add up to me feeling happy. I am happy also that Lenny has somewhere safe to call home. He deserves it.

There are way too many other furs who don’t have the singular luxury of a bed, love, food or security throughout their lives and this makes me sad. Since the global virus marched its way through almost every country on the planet, I read about dogs being sold for extraordinary amounts of money because the demand outstrips the supply. Thousands of pounds for a puppy sold over the internet, on the back of no visit to see the little fur in its “home” environment, not seeing it with mum, sometimes a lack of health certificates and no check on any breeding or bloodlines. Are we a commodity, to be sold and bought in the same way as traders sell wheat, coal or motor cars? As sentient creatures, should there not be a more respectful and measured approach to us. I know that there are some people who look after us, breeders who make sure that they see where we will go, ensure we will be looked after and keep in touch for further questions.

People are at home for far longer than they used to be and crave company to combat their lack of social mobility. What happens when, or if, the virus is controlled a little and people start to carefully return to their places of work. What is to happen to the many pets who have been purchased and who may be left alone at home, almost fending for themselves with no walks, interaction with their humans and losing the regimentation of a regular daily life? I fear that a large number will merely be surrendered to a rescue centre, or shelter whose facilities will become bursting at the seams with the influx. I hope I am wrong, I really do.

Then we turn to the dreaded “C” word. Not Covid, but Christmas! How far will “pester power” stretch this year? How many dogs will be introduced to a new home with all the noise and joviality going on around us. Sitting there bewildered by this new places, brightly coloured surroundings and not knowing what to do, how to interact and feeling completely confused with it all. The novelty often wears off quicker than a Christmas Day dinner and we look for some guidance and interaction to make us feel wanted and loved. Maybe this year should be the time for people to do their homework before bringing us into a new home. Speak to a rescue centre, ask what would be the best dog to suit the human and canine needs and then see if there is an unwanted dog at the rescue or shelter. I was a Christmas rescue dog, my parents did their homework as far as they could, they spoke to the rescue centre, saw me three times, walked me on each occasion, asked questions and thought about me for about three weeks before I came home. I was, and remain, lucky because they persevered with me despite some difficult early months for us all. People will say “oh but the rescue centres and rehoming centres aren’t allowing visits” which is often times true at the moment. That doesn’t stop them from researching our traits, which would be the best type of dog to get and then ask more questions.

Maybe what I am saying is this. Instead of “What will happen when the novelty wears off” it should be “Don’t let us be a novelty in the first place”. We are a serious and timely commitment. We will love you, play fetch, sleep in strange places, make you smile and be your best friend. However we will also make you sad when we have accidents, fall ill, run off on a walk and need you to take us to the vet and clean up after us. This applies to puppies who have their whole life ahead of them as well as older dogs who want only to have their years of dotage in a warm comfy place with gentle ear tickles and soft cuddles.

Are people ready for that? If not, then think really carefully about our suitability.

Thunderbolts and lightning

I think it’s safe to say that I do not like this hot weather. It is safer to say that the subsequent thunder and lightning leading to the break in the weather is frightening me rather too much. I can always tell that there is an impending clap of thunder or flash of lightning. I seek the safety of somewhere behind the sofa or try to dig a hole through the rug in the hallway. I sit shivering and shaking whilst everyone else in the house goes about their daily business. This includes Lenny who seems utterly impervious to the impending doom of the next boom of thunder or crash of lightning.

Ugh, too hot

We’ve had some tropical weather recently and we aren’t used to it. The daytime temperatures have soared and the rain has stayed away from our little corner of the country. Our walks have taken place earlier than usual in the morning so that the sun is not fully blazing down upon us. We have ventured along lanes and byways, through fields and woods to enjoy our walk and try to stay as cool as possible. We’ve even been lucky enough to go for a paddle at the end of our daily walk so we can cool our paws off in the chilly chalk stream which still flows close to our house. Normally the stream has dried up by this point in the year however, we had larger than usual rainfall throughout Winter and Spring so the aquifer has been replenished fully. The days have been spent trying to stay out of the sun which saps our energy so quickly. Even our standard garden sport of snout jousting has had to take a back seat to lazing on a cool tiled floor with fans blowing cold air all over our fur. We cannot sweat in the same manner as humans so we cannot get rid of the excess body heat. Our tongue and paws being cooled down in the river helps significantly.

What’s a trip hazard?

The tropical weather has continued at night where it hasn’t dropped below 20 deg C for the past five or six nights. Lenny has been sleeping on top of his bed as it is cooler and often times I am sleeping on the wooden floor instead of being in my warm fluffy bed next to a radiator. We have been told we are “trip hazards” whatever one of those is, as one or the other parent decides they want to go for a night time wander. I am pleased to report that the hot and sultry conditions broke somewhat last evening and we had a more comfortable day today when it only reached the dizzy heights of 30 deg C in the direct sunlight, according to our thermometer in the garden. However the weather breaking brings more fear and trepidation for me. The sonic activity seems to adversely affect me and my initial thought is to try and find somewhere safe to hide. I wish I was able to feel the same level of confidence that I see in the parents and Lenny when they stroll about keeping themselves busy. Lenny and I maybe the same breed but we are poles apart when it comes to thunder and lightning. Anyway this current period of high heat seems to have passed now so I should be able to revert to type.

Ow, gerrof

Bitey face can continue in earnest.