Sunday lunchtime. We’re rattling in pots and pans. A kitchen cupboard is coming out and so is a hoard of ancient baking trays and cake tins (possibly vintage; want em?)
Bloke is hammer in one hand, screwdriver in the other when his phone rings but being of the older generation, we always answer.
It was the dog boarding kennels across the road. “Just ringing to check your booking is for next weekend,” says cheery kennel man. “Only, your Harry’s come a week early. He’s on our step, begging to come in...”
I have this mental picture of our little hobo, sitting there, best bone and lead neatly tied up in a red spotted hankie on a stick. Bless.
Only not bless, as he’d clearly snuck out of the garden. And crossed the road without looking both ways.
Every proud Dog Parent will tell you their pet is a character. But I’ll trounce you; our shaggy Beardie cross is extra-extraordinary. He has an abiding love of being ‘in kennels’.
Most mutts do doleful eyes the moment they twig you’re off somewhere. No matter how many you times you tell them it’s a holiday camp, they view kennels as prison and worry their furry heads about what crime they could possibly have done that fitted the time.
I’ve seen them refusing to get out of the car by spread-eagling themselves on the seat, then sweeping clean a strip of pavement as their embarrassed owners drag them all the way to the kennel gate. I’ve heard them letting out a wail so pained it curdles your heart. And I’ve proudly patted our bouncy little weirdo on his happy hairy head as he trots of with the kennelmaid without so much as a backward glance and said: “That’s my boy” like Spike in Tom & Jerry.
So keen is he, whenever we walk past those kennels he drags us to the door and lifts a paw. Clearly, by Sunday he’d got fed up of asking.
We are kind owners. He knows he’s loved. He doesn’t want to leave us. So why does he love kennels so? First conclusion; he loves being with other dogs. Enjoys a good bark.
Second: maybe all dogs actually love being in kennels but are cunning little critters who think there’s extra yardage (beef-flavoured; chewy) to be gained from yanking their owner’s guilt chain. And Harry just doesn’t have it in him to be duplicitous.
See, I told you our dog was better than yours.