It’s a fact of life that the people closest to you are the ones who know exactly how to push your buttons. The same goes for your dog.
I love Mort – the bond I have with him is like no other. He’s my baby and best friend, all rolled into one elongated, furry form. But sometimes, he drives me mad. Or bat shit crazy, as my sister would say.
Take this afternoon. I decided to tackle a few jobs around the house that I hate: cleaning the oven and fridge. Bear in mind, when considering these tasks, that I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing. Fast forward an hour and I’m covered in grime from scrubbing the oven and have a raging headache from cleaning fluid so strong it could probably knock out a horse.
Instead of sensing that now was probably the time for some quiet reflection or, even better, sleep, Mort decided to bark at everything and anything. In short, he was ‘on one’. Flinging his tiny body at the window, declaring unholy war against the postman and flinging obscenities in the direction of the paperboy.
Mort’s barking is akin to a pneumatic drill. It gets worse and worse, drilling a hole into your skull, until you fear that you may actually be driven stark raving mad.
So we had words. Me in rubber gloves; him looking at me as if to say ‘Oh great. She’s hormonal and somehow it’s my fault.”
No sooner have a finished telling him off, than he turns around and starts barking at something else. So I use my last remaining weapon: I make him got to the hallway and shut the door, so that he can’t see out the window. There he will stay until he stops barking.
Eventually he gets the hint, but not until he has made his feelings about him imprisonment crystal clear. It’s hardly Fort Knox – its a carpeted hallway with a rug, for God’s sake – but you would think I had thrown him in a cell and chucked away the key.
When Dan returns home, he finds the two of us not speaking. I use the phrase guaranteed to make you look like a five-year-old: “He started it!” I say that sometimes I wish we had got a slightly more stupid dog, because I feel as though I’m trapped in an episode of Pinky and the Brain. And I’m the dumb hamster, with the overbite.
I didn’t mean it. We all say things we don’t mean when we are cross. But now that he’s asleep on my lap, all curled up and snorting like a piglet with a touch of cold, I feel very guilty. I didn’t mean to tell him off – I know he doesn’t do things to hurt my feelings or make my head hurt. But it’s quite difficult to retain that sense of clarity when you’re spinning towards lunacy at an alarming speed. Maybe it was the strong cleaning fluids? I knew housework was bad for you….
I think he’s forgiven me though. He’s been sat on my lap all night, which I think is his way of letting me know that we’re still friends. And maybe even his way of saying sorry.
He might be a loud, obnoxious and rude dog. But he’s my loud, obnoxious and rude dog. And not even Mr Muscle can change that.