Tuesday, 19 December 2017

'Tis the Season (to hide bad stuff from your dog.)

I've just finished a very long phone call with my dear friend Kathy in Brisbane, during which we reminisced about bad things that our dogs had done at Christmas time. We were younger then, working mad hours, trying to fit in everything that life could provide. So maybe vigilance and care went out the window from time to time.
This conversation arose out of Kathy telling me that one of their gorgeous dogs, Buster, companion to Betsy, just stole and ate half of this year's home-made Christmas pudding. Her husband Peter, who is a bit of a chef extraordinaire, had cooked it and I don't doubt that it was divine, the result of hours, maybe days, of preparation. Buster—tall enough to reach the top of tables and benches—obviously thought so too. Hard to believe this angelic face (below) could be such an opportunistic thief...
Buster - Pudding Thief

This led to the memory of another near disaster one Christmas when Grace, a sweet and virtuous spaniel of ours, wreaked havoc with the ingredients of one of those chocolate Christmas trees that were all the rage a while back. I'd bought the ingredients on the way home - peanuts, marshmallows, icing sugar, glacé cherries and chocolate - and, after a long day at work, dumped the supermarket bags carelessly on the floor of the dining room. We awoke the next morning to the whole house decorated with swirling trails of icing sugar and torn cellophane bags strewn across the floors, spilling out the remnants of all the above ingredients. We do know by now that cocker spaniels have the guts of billy goats which must be why the beautiful Grace didn't even get sick.
However our backyard was peppered with peanut-laden dog poo for days after, with the odd undigested glacé cherry for colour.
I'm much more careful these days.

Solomon and Grace - 'It wozzn't her!'

The other memorable doggy disaster was at the hands - paws - of a later, beautiful black spaniel called Otto.
Otto was a gentleman and a scholar whose good manners and behaviour put the other two dogs to shame. He was obedient, calm, beautiful and loving but sadly—the one glitch in the glowing list of attributes—a determined thief. He too somehow accessed the Christmas pudding while we were out that day and ate half of it. However, we had no evidence of which one of the three—a golden spaniel called Tessa, a cute terrier-cross called Vince, or the angelic Otto himself—was the culprit.
I lined them all up with stern commands to 'sit' and smelt their respective breaths.
And Otto it was - no contest. He proved to be a bit queasy that day but the vet found no lasting ill-effects.
Otto, Tessa and Vince - the angelic one on the left, pudding thief.

I'm super vigilant now and count my lucky stars that none of these doggy misdemeanours ended badly, as they might have done. But as I've called this blog Reading, Writing and a Few Dog Stories, I suspect I'll never run out of material.
Happy Christmas to you and may your dog have no access to bad things during the festive season.