Thursday, November 24, 2011

In the name of....

Do you know, Iota mentioning about Daniel the Spaniel reminded me I had completely forgotten to tell you my choice of name for our dog.

I wanted to name him after the famous self-appointed king of Albania. A king whom many people have heard of even if they don't know where exactly Albania is.

His name was Zog. King Zog.

Zog the Dog. The dog for a family who once lived in Albania.


But the joke would probably wear off. Quite quickly.

And "Zog" is quite hard to call, & people would probably mishear & think I was calling "Dog".

Which would make me look a bit silly, & lacking in creative imagination.

I mean who has a dog called "Dog"?

Well, or Zog, for that matter.

And if people didn't know about King Zog, then perhaps they would just think it was Zog because I'm into easy rhyming doggerel. With made up rhymes. Zog -Dog. Like Dr Cheat Zeuss.

So no, fear not King Zog, I will not take your name in vain.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Puppy Power

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been rather preoccupied....

This little 7 wk old thing came into our lives 11 days ago. As I expect some readers may remember, I rashly promised our son that when we moved back to England (in the foggy, out of focus future) , then yes we could get a dog. I have not heard the last of it since getting back from our holiday in October (the last obstacle & the other reason for my silence).

I had set him many, as I thought impossible, obstacles to over come, namely:

This dog mustn't shed hair (I do enough of that for one family), mustn't smell, mustn't slobber, not need 5 mile mile walks every day, be good with children, & be easily trainable. i.e as unlike a dog as possible really.

So my son, bless him, went away & researched it, & came up with a cockapoo (cocker spaniel crossed with poodle) It's true, they do meet all those criteria. He even did some empirical research (mainly on the beaches on the Isle of Wight) Whenever he saw a cockapoo-like dog, he approached the owner & asked questions about their canine. All in the name of research & grist for the 'Mummy Convincing' mill.

So, reader, I caved. 3 against one. The pooch won. I grew up with a dog, loved it, took it for walks, even took i t to school to give a talk about it. But since then I see it as one more thing on the 'To Do List'. One more 'person's' needs to meet. And I do a lot of that already....

So for the last few months I have been looking on the Internet but golden female cockapoos go very quickly. 2 Saturdays ago I realised I hadn't had my quick daily search, so that night i had a look & found 4 females for sale in Newark. My husband, much to his chagrin having not travelled for 3 months, also happened to be flying to Ghana that day so I drove up with the 2 children on my own to what turned out to be a bit of a puppy farm; a very nice owner & clearly full of those sorts of people who are slightly nutty about 4 legged creatures, but nevertheless a puppy factory.

We pulled up into the concrete yard & got out to a cacophony of Blood hound- Spaniel- Westie- Bassett- Poodle - & er ...other breeds barking their proverbials off. There was a farmhouse with the requisite horse brasses, horseshoes & china figurines in the windows & an outbuilding full of puppies amidst the unmistakable odour of straw & dog wee.

After years of intense longing on the part of my son, I was rather surprised at how quiet & seemingly non committal he was. Turns out he was in agonies over which to choose, the ones not chosen, what if he made the wrong decision, how would the others feel about not being chosen etc. (Oh dear anthropomorphising already.....)

Anyway as I imagine often happens in this situations, she sort of chose us. My husband had chosen the name: Bingo, after a PG Wodehouse character, a very gentle amiable soul who would frequently fall hopelessly in love. Relevance? None. Rationale? Good name for a dog. This is an unusual departure for my husband who is not an aficionado of English Literature, or anything much literary at all in fact. Science & maths yes, art & literature, no. So who was I to knock this foray into literary allusion?

And so I am a new mum again. It really is like having a needy new born & a very mobile active toddler rolled into one. I am potty training again, dealing with separation anxiety, need child locks again, must leave nothing on the floor & offer lots of reassurance & cuddles.

The first few days it was doing my head in, she needed constant monitoring, she whimpered & yelped vociferously when left, in fact she has quickly developed a quite impressive wolf howl for such a tiny animal; she kept trying to climb into my lap whilst driving, & I kept inadvertently stepping into her 'offerings'.

However she has quickly wheedled her way into my good books. It is quite sweet being adopted as someone's mum; she finds a shoe or item of my clothing to drag into her bed when I leave her. When I stand still for a few minutes she curls up on my feet or leans heavily against me for reassurance, or just because she wants to be near me. They're very cunning these animals. And it's certainly true they do give you an amazing welcome. Unconditional love has a lot to be said for it....

My son has already trained her to sit on command & I have got her (mostly) performing on newspaper now, though she does like to throw a random curve ball in occasionally (usually early in the morning when I come downstairs, the light is off & I am in bare feet.....)

And I have found a practical use for her as a hot water bottle even as I am typing now, in our very cold house.

But most of all, we have had such a laugh as a family, the children adore her. To our daughter she is a 'live teddy' who gets cradled & carried around the house incessantly. She arrives home from school & tells Bingo,

"I've misssed you SO much. You're so precious, yes you are. You're my special girl!"
I keep thinking she's got the wrong person, but no, she's definitely talking to the dog.....

She is very entertaining & we are looking forward to taking her out into the big wide world once she is fully inoculated. And a bit bigger. However, a male friend gave my husband a friendly word of advice, saying that perhaps it would be better, for the preservation of his macho image, if he waited till she had grown a little before taking her out for a walk. Or he might receive some unsolicited attention (& not from other dogs).....

Below, our puppy enjoying her "dog's life"