I found myself in a rather embarrassing situation this morning. A situation entirely brought about by my dogs. However before I describe this unusual series of events I ought first to set the stage.
Nearly eleven years ago we got our first dog, Archie. He was 8 weeks old and the cutest little thing you ever did see.
We got him as a guard dog after being burgled. My father in law guffawed with laughter at this little fur ball that would protect us from the bad men in the world who wanted to steal my crap golf clubs and my wife’s appalling CD collection. Archie however became a fearsome guard dog. It is impossible to walk within a couple of metres of our house without Archie (Barge, Arch, Archie Bargie and a range of other nicknames) barking a loud baritone bark, which he must have stolen from a much larger dog.
Irvine Welsh once wrote that when a couple run out of things to say to each other they get engaged, when they have stopped talking about the engagement they run out of things to say and so they get married. Eventually the fun of the wedding day and honeymoon fades and so they start a family, finally the kids grow up and move away and they realise they have nothing left to say and get divorced.
We just got a dog.
We always have something to talk about. Archie became the very centre of our universe and his funny quirks and amusing behaviour became our most rewarding subject of conversation.
Over the last few years he slowed a bit and was less willing to go for a walk. We decided that we ought to get him some company to keep him young and active. We went to the rescue centre, just for a look. We weren’t going to pick one there and then. Then my wife saw her, she pushed herself against the bars for a stroke (the new dog not my wife).
A couple of weeks later and we had a new companion for Archie. We named her Effie which was short for Euphemia which means beautiful silence. We really were asking for it. She barked constantly in the back garden for weeks.
We have had Effie for a little over a year and she has become better behaved. She and Archie have become incredibly close and she has kept him young and lively.
We adore them in equal measure. Which brings me to this morning……..
Effie had been ill when I got back from work. When I say ill I mean in a sloppy, brown, smelly way. So when she rousted me from bed at 5-45am I thought perhaps she needed to go outside and soon. Imagine my unbounded joy when on reaching the foot of the stairs there were two new brown, smelly, sloppy surprises for me. I opened the back door to let Archie and Effie out whilst I returned to clean up the mess. Half way through gagging whilst scooping up poo I heard a commotion from the garden. Archie and Effie were barking their heads off at 5-45am on a Saturday morning.
I raced to the garden to see Effie launching herself into next doors garden snarling at a fox which had taken the same route. By way of explanation Effie and Archie hate foxes more than I hate people who walk four abreast and block the pavement or who leave their trolleys sideways on blocking the aisle in the supermarket. Thankfully next door is currently vacant. When I hurled myself over the fence there was no-one to watch. Which was particularly important because I was wearing only a dressing gown and a pair of slippers. The former got snagged on a tree and exposed me to the world, one of the latter fell off in my leap over the fence.
Stop laughing. I haven’t finished.
After adjusting my clothing and retrieving my slipper I scouted around for Effie. I could hear her barking from several gardens away, the chase had obviously continued. But I knew exactly how to get her back. We had a problem training her to recall, the only thing she would come back for was Matteson’s smoked sausage. Now I’m not the sort of weirdo who carries around smoked sausage in his dressing gown just in case he needs to get his dog back from the neighbours garden, but Effie didn’t know that. So I whistled and called for her pretending that I had her favourite tasty treat with me. I should also explain that we treat our dogs like our children and so I am Daddy and my wife is Mummy and that is how our dogs know us.
To recap I am in my neighbours garden at 6-00am on a Saturday morning, the noise I am making has probably woken several of my neighbours who are probably peering out of their windows. What they see is me, bleary eyed and wearing only a loosely tied dressing gown and slippers shouting “Effie come on, this way, Daddy has some sausage for you”.
You can laugh now.
Thankfully I was not arrested. It did however take over an hour to get Effie back. I should have been mad. I should have been furious. I was however just glad to get her back safe and sound. It made me laugh out loud when I realised what had just transpired. That’s the joy of dogs, they make life so much fun.