Thanks to a wealth of great holiday destination suggestions from you, the old man and I are off to Hawaii next week. However, while it has been almost impossible to contain his feverish excitement at the prospect of two weeks of intense shopping days in Honolulu, bumpy, guided tours with complete strangers, and our first hula dance at the hotel Luau, we do share one major concern about our time away.
We have to leave our baby behind.
With neither the boat, money, nor influence of Johnny Depp – and the reputation of the US for being quite scary when it comes to illegal immigration – we are leaving the “Princess’ in the hands of a dog-sitter.
Many of you know, our “Princess” is no ordinary dog.
Spoilt, pampered, and bordering on anxious are words that come to mind when I think about our gorgeous four-legged friend, while others have gone as far to suggest that her problematic attachment disorder has turned her into a bit of a bitch. Nevertheless, she remains the love of our lives.
Clearly, her biggest problem is that she doesn’t actually identify as a dog.
Like her mother, she sees herself as an independent woman of a certain age, who will no longer suffer fools gladly – in particular those of the weaker sex – and who finally knows what she wants out of the last chapter of her life, i.e. everything her own way.
Which is why I thought it prudent to prepare a short list of tips for the lucky young man who will be in her charge:
- She doesn’t eat breakfast. Whilst she eats her breakfast on occasion, she is much more likely to sniff at the dog biscuits in her bowl in disgust and then death-stare you until you give her a treat or your own breakfast.
- She has a part-time job as a door bell. If someone so much as breathes in the street, she becomes the Rottweiler she was born to be – although, she has also been known to sleep through several break-in attempts.
- Her favourite snacks are toast and Scotch fingers (preferably dunked in Lady Grey tea at a perfect 50 degrees). Once again, she will death-stare you if you partake of either of these without sharing.
- As a result of her advancing years, long walks are starting to lose their appeal. If she senses that a trek is on the cards, i.e. further than 2kms, ignore her tugs on the lead at your own peril and be aware that any blatant abuse of her trust and freedom may trigger a depressive episode.
- Maintaining a body like hers requires a trough of cool, spring water, changed twice a day.
- Her bowel habits are erratic, but she hasn’t lost her humour when it comes to the sheer delight she experiences from spacing out her poos on walks. One log here, and another a few metres further along the street – more often than not in the middle of our grumpy neighbour’s lawn. And she really loves this game when you are low on bags.
- Her two favourite meals are roast chicken and veggies, (as in roast potatoes, nothing green), and Spaghetti Bolognese. She has excellent table manners and has appropriated the living room rug as her personal napkin.
- Her preference in terms of sleeping arrangements is to sleep in the bed with us, in the foetal position, fur to skin, heartbeat to heartbeat. She does kick intermittently through the night to let you know she is still breathing.
- She does not tolerate other dogs, apart from fellow Spoodles. Any dog that gets too close to her rear end is dealt with appropriately. Interestingly, she is not quite as circumspect about her own butt-hole inspections.
- She is fluent in three languages, and is currently learning French as a result of her parents’ obsession with SBS. Her favourite genre of television is Scandi Noir, and this is also her intended specialist subject for Mastermind.
- Her perfect evening is to cuddle up on the sofa under her favourite blankie with Netflix and a glass of wine.
- She does not go outside in the rain, and she has been known in inclement weather to hold on from one season to the next.
- She has a ball obsession – indeed, her knowledge of the names of different types of ball takes up at least 50% of her vocabulary. Be warned: she will jump off a cliff for a ball.
- Like most middle-aged women, she has a low tolerance for idiots, doesn’t give too many fucks – although, plumbers are the exception to the rule – and she has been known to suffer from the odd mood swing or ten. Her weekly visit to her therapist, or her brother’s bedroom – where she is known to enjoy a sniff of his illegal substances – usually sorts this out.
- Common triggers include children, long walks, men, tradesmen, the vet, baths, the groomer, medication, suitcases, and Boris (the Maltese at no. 34).
- She is a homebody who does not cope well with transitions. She does a very credible impression of a dead dog attached to a lead when she is manipulated into doing something she doesn’t want to do.
- Vomit triggers: the car, dog food, homemade treats, green vegetables, transitions, long walks, being left alone, strangers…
Anyone else have a “Princess” for a dog?