Friday, September 12, 2008

Dog tired

Haggis the Lucky Labrador continues to dominate life here in Welsh Wales. Despite being fully grown, at fifteen months old he's still very much a puppy in his behaviour. Last night, after several weeks of remembering to put it up out of reach, I foolishly left the telly remote control on the arm of the sofa. This morning I discovered just how many individual pieces go into the manufacture of a telly remote control.

Other memorably destroyed items include all the buttons on the three cushions the Horse Doctor bought for the sofa just a few weeks ago; a cork place mat that looked for all the world like someone's bottom had erupted all over the sheepskin rug; the odd trinkets and other voodoo paraphernalia that came with my lovely birthday present from Mr Stuart (but not the Voodooz doll itself) - it took me ages to work out what these things were, strewn across the rug; and, of course, the almost full bottle of orange squash that must have been great fun to spread around the room. What he's not at all interested in, of course, are any of the toys bought specifically for him to play with. That would be too much to expect.

The house is being cleaned more regularly than we ever managed before Haggis came along. Not that we are terrible slovens, the Horse Doctor and me. But there are more interesting ways of spending time than pushing a vacuum cleaner back and forth. Necessity kicks in, however, when you can't tell what colour the rug is underneath all that yellow hair. Which is to say necessity kicks in every other day.

None of which would really bother me, were it not for one small thing. Haggis is a very friendly dog, after all, and willing to please. He's pretty well trained - Mum had been taking him shooting, to learn at the feet of Gus, and he's got the coming when called thing down pat. But he is an early riser. A very early riser. And when he's up, he wants everyone else to be up too.

The new job, with its necessary commute to Aberystwyth every day, means that I have to set the alarm for half past six in the morning. To someone as well-practiced at sleeping as me, this is quite a strain as it is. But Haggis thinks half past six is positively tardy. He likes to greet the dawn with happy cries and the sounds of things being picked up, dropped, chewed... There is no option, once that first noise has emanated from the living room, but to clamber out of bed, struggle into some crumpled clothes and let slip the dogs. The temptation then is to clamber back into bed, but that way oversleeping and arriving late at work lie.

So mostly I am wandering around like a half-shut knife at the moment, and where I would read for an hour before falling asleep at night, now fifteen minutes is pushing it. I should be able to get more done in the morning, since I am up and about far earlier than before. And yet somehow it seems to take all the available time to clear up the mess of the previous night's chewing, prepare sandwiches for myself and the Horse Doctor (herself tucked up sensibly in bed and still asleep), feed the dogs and walk them before slumping into the car for the drive to work. Sometimes it's not until this point that I realise I've not had my breakfast yet.

Quite how parents of newborn infants cope, I have no idea. They, after all, get even less sleep than I do. And it's considered poor form, in our society, to leave a child at home all day on its own, with nothing more diverting than a chew rope and the television remote control to play with.

It's perhaps for the best that I've never felt the urge to procreate.

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7 Comments:

Blogger bill said...

It pains me to hear of the damage your dog has done. Most especially the remote. I don't think I remember how to turn on the tv without it!

I can sympathize, as my wife's "oh so sweet and lovely, I love him very much, yes I do" dog broke my laptop last week.

We should get the dogs together. The black hair and yellow hair will cancel each other out.

September 13, 2008 1:37 am  
Anonymous The Wife said...

Hey now...!

September 13, 2008 1:58 am  
Blogger Chaser said...

One asks: is he truly lucky if you named him Haggis?

Maybe all this acting out is telling you something. ;)

September 14, 2008 3:35 am  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Children are, I think, easier than a dog! At some point they can communicate their needs and wants-- and understand yours! Not to mention that at some point they become independent and leave you!

September 14, 2008 10:55 pm  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

"It's perhaps for the best that I've never felt the urge to procreate."

Yes, I've often thought that it's for the best that you never procreated.

No offence.

September 15, 2008 3:42 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Ellen, is that a hint of hopeful desperation I hear in your voice?

Bill - my laptop is now on a high shelf. Thanks for the warning.

Chaser - What's wrong with Haggis as a name? And to be fair, I didn't call him Haggis, that's the name he came with. Or Mr Neepsandtatties if he's been very bad.

Mr Stuart, what can you possibly mean?

September 15, 2008 4:02 pm  
Anonymous norby said...

Oh James, you really are getting a crash course in big dogs and puppies all at once aren't you? They are relentless.

Don't worry, you can sleep when you're retired...

September 17, 2008 11:03 pm  

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