A dog in my life by Angela Caldin
I don’t know much about dogs because I’ve never owned one, but I’ve always imagined what fun it would be to have a dog companion to take on a walk and then curl up with in a comfy chair with a good book. When I was a child we once looked after a cocker spaniel called Kim while his owners were on holiday and for several years after that he would visit us once or twice a day, hang out with us happily before returning home to be fed. He was a lovely dog, affectionate and loyal, but sadly I lost interest in him when I became a teenager and barely batted an eyelid when he was run over by the milk float.
A sweet puppy
When my daughter’s family decided to get a dog, I was none too impressed, concerned about the cost of vet’s bills, food and the general paraphernalia that a dog needs as well as the cost of kennelling. A labradoodle puppy duly arrived; he was named Mack by middle granddaughter (lucky he was male, because if he’d been female, she’d have named him Mavis – not the sort of name you’d want to be shouting across the park). Mack was a gorgeous furry bundle, gambolling around, sleeping a lot and weeing all over the carpet. The whole family took him for training and it’s fair to say that he did learn to sit and to stay, but I’ll stick my neck out here and say that that’s about it. Like many puppies, he loved to chew anything and everything. He chewed his way through numerous coloured elastic hair bands which led third granddaughter to exclaim one day ‘Mack’s done a rainbow poo!’ Small socks were another favourite, so that we now have various single socks without their mates. He even munched his way through a couple of pairs of the granddaughters’ knickers.
Tall and lanky dog
Now Mack is almost a year old and has grown into an enormous long legged dog. In fact, his friend Magnus, who we used to think of as huge, looks tiny next to him. Mack has managed to chew his way through every single supposedly indestructible toy the pet shop can provide; even the tough toy tyre went the way of all the others – in small pieces all over the house. Mack loves nothing better than a walk in our nearby park where he cavorts around with any other dogs he might meet, be they Great Dane or Scottie. When he comes to a pond or patch of water, he plunges in there without a second thought, lowering himself down so that he’s fully immersed. His lovely blond colouring is then tinged with grey and he smells of pond vegetation, so it’s off to the doggie equivalent of a carwash to get him shampooed, rinsed and blow-dried. He hates it, hanging his head over the door and whining piteously.
Although he’s a menace with his chewing and although he costs quite a bit, I have to confess that I am one of Mack’s biggest fans. When he curls up next to me of an evening, putting his head on my lap and his paw on my knee, it is wonderfully warm and comforting. The truth is that I’m not generally reading a good book, but that reminds me nevertheless of Groucho Marx’s comment ‘Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.’