For those of you who don’t know through my many Instagram and Facebook posts, last week my Mum and Dad went on holiday. Big deal? I hear you say. So what? My parents go on holiday all the time, it’s hardly blog worthy. True story. Except for me, my Mum and Dad went on holiday for the first time in 13 years and left me to look after their world. The dog. Alfie. The dog that has hated me from its very core since the moment he was brought into our family home. During the week, I kept a daily diary of our wonderful time spent together. (By wonderful, I mean traumatic) Below you can read this diary and share in my weeks worth of joy…..
How hard can this be? All I’ve got to do is make sure he’s fed and watered. Maybe stroke him a couple of times a day and let him out for fresh air. Yes he hates me, but I’m his main source of food supply for the next 7 days so we are going to have to come to some sort of understanding.
We wave off my Mum and Dad, as he goes out into the garden. For the next few hours, we largely walk around avoiding each other. Circling our own designated areas, like elephants protecting their young from an impending attack. It’s 6:00pm and I am starting to get peckish. Alfie sensing my hunger encroaches my circle as I open cupboards on the hunt for food. He suddenly wants to engage. I decide to cook chicken legs for tea and add some paprika and garlic to pimp them up! As I sit down to eat, Alfie is at my feet, looking, waiting, wanting my food. Sensing an opportunity to gain his trust I give him bits of chicken as I munch through my dinner. I’ve seen my mum do it, she is always feeding him bits of her tea. On a Sunday he gets his own plate of roast dinner. During the week he gets toast with jam for breakfast and a cup of tea. Using chicken to bribe the dog seems like a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Yet, why do I feel so weird? There’s something niggling at the back of my mind. Maybe its something I have seen on one of those stupid Vet programmes? Something about dogs and garlic? I can’t remember exactly. I google it. The first hit reads…’Onions. garlic and chives are poisonous to dogs‘. Shit I’ve poisoned the dog in the first 4 hours.
I frantically search google, desperately looking for the story that tells me it’s OK, he will be fine. It’s page 2 before I find the one I want. Imagine the panic. No one gets to page 2 on google. It reads, ‘your dog will be fine if he accidentally eats garlic’ he would have to eat a lot of garlic to suffer in any way. Phew, I look at Alfie to give him a cheeky smile, we are going to be OK. Panic over. Except as I look at Alfie lying on the sofa, he’s on his back, legs up, gozzy eyed. Fuck is he asleep or is he dead? I give him a poke, he’s still breathing. I poke him again and he doesn’t move. Fuck Fuck Fuck. I take a picture to post on Facebook. That’s what you do isn’t it? Your child has a rash, you don’t take it to the doctors you post it on Facebook and ask your Facebook friends. A world full of budding doctors receptionists desperate to tell you what is wrong with them? So I post it on Facebook. I hope this is his normal position I joke?As I slowly die inside. Yes come the instant replies, followed by pictures of other dogs doing the same thing. The little sod has played me, I’m so mad at him. He turns his head a little twinkle in his eye. He knows he’s got me from here on in, I am his bitch. And just like that I let him stay in my bed just in case the garlic has done some real damage.
Content that we have both survived the night, I get on with my day. It’s Sunday and I have a lot of things to do. I leave Alfie at home with food and water and pop back intermittently between my run and shopping to check he is OK. I eventually get home for around 5ish. He doesn’t appear to have eaten or drank anything. It dawns on me that other than the garlic chicken he hasn’t eaten anything since my mum left? Is it because he has a dicky tummy? or is it because it is so hot? I sit and stare at him, trying to work it out. He’s giving me nothing. I don’t want him to sleep in my bed tonight. It is too hot upstairs and I accidentally kicked him twice in the night. I don’t want to be the one that makes that call to my mum on day 2. Sorry Mum, you know your dog, he’s broken 2 ribs and pooed garlic all over your white bedding. So I leave him in his bed in the Kitchen. I text my mum.
Everything fine here. Alfie is in his bed in the kitchen. Hope you are having a good time xx My mum replies Ok, though he might whine a bit. Just ignore him, hes testing the water to go to bed with you. My god it’s the story of my dating life!
I walk downstairs to see that Alfie still hasnt eaten anything. I don’t have too much time to worry about it as I have given myself approximately 9 minutes to get ready for work. I let him out and throw him a chew stick before running out of the door. As I get to work, I experience my first pang of mum guilt. I am officially a dog mum. It is the hottest day of the year and I have left him on his own. I didn’t even say hello. Did I shut the door properly? Did I leave him any water? Did I keep the curtains closed to keep the kitchen cooler? What if he boils to death? How is he going to survive on his own? The questions play on loop in my head throughout the day. I repeat them to anyone who will listen at work, desperate for reassurance. Of course when I return 10 hours later he is fine. Although he still hasn’t eaten. Relieved I rush out of the door to the gym promising to take him on a walk when I get back.
I get back from the gym exhausted but grab the lead and off we go on a 45 minute walk. I suspect it would have been a 25 minute walk had he not stopped to pee on every single recycle bin along the way. He isn’t even deterred by the bin thats a reusable bag, or when the owner stands and watches him do it in his driveway. I however, am mortified. As we run out of recycle bins, his attention turns to other people’s dog poo. I didn’t realise how embarrassing it is for your dog to sniff poo in public, until tonight. I even start to talk to Alfie to get him away ‘We don’t sniff other people’s dog poo do we Alfie’ cue haughty laughter and a nod to the other dog walkers. What’s with the we? I certainly don’t sniff poo. I am finally losing my marbles!
Alfie still hasn’t eaten anything since Sunday. Which I should be grateful for as his lack of eating means no poo or wee for me to pick up! He refused to go out this morning. He could barely move his little legs. I have over walked the dog. I make a note to myself to google ‘can a dog die from walking too much’ and head to work.
When I get back, Alfie is still lethargic. It’s been a long day at work, so we take a casual lay down on the sofa. We are getting more comfortable with the personal space issue as the days go on. I have left the back door open to let in some air, when I hear a noise…I turn my head to look, scared it’s going to be a dead person coming to get me! (It’s never a human person in these scenarios, my go to thought is, crap I hope that’s not a ghost)
What’s that Alfie? I say, because I’m now one of those people, that talks to their dog expecting a response. Obviously there is nothing other than an expectant look and a wag of the tail. So I get up and go into the kitchen, Alfie close behind. And there’s the noise again followed by a thud…it’s a bird, it’s flown in through the door and tried to leave by the window. But the window is shut. Dazed and confused it appears to have emptied its bowels all over the window ledge, Awesome.
Alfie spotting something to play with, goes after it. ALFIE? leave it, I shout. Which is apparently like a red rag to a bull when there is a confused bird in the midst. Alfie lunges at the bird. Sensing danger, the bird attempts to fly off and hits the window for a second time. ALFIE? I shout again, get away….He pounces at the bewildered bird. I meanwhile am trying to drag him back and waft the bird to safety. The bird, gets a second wind, Yes. It try’s it’s luck and flys towards another window across the room! Smack, straight into the window and on its back! Alfie has another pop! Alfie NO I scream, the bird gets up, dusts itself off, I try to grab Alfie. The bird goes for a third window, flys straight into it! What he fuck is wrong with this bird…?!I’m almost tempted to let Alfie have it for being so bloody stupid! The bird flaps in the space between the window and the tea cups that are hanging. I can’t find the key to the window. Even after all my dad’s window training, I can’t find it. Alfie is starting to get riled, he can’t reach the bird but he’s going to keep jumping until he can. I’m looking through cups, ornaments, and under things to find the key. The bird is getting desperate, I need to get it out before it decorates my mum’s Crockery. There it is I find it, Finally! now how do I get the bird out seen as though he doesn’t know an open window from a closed one. I grab a newspaper, I manage to keep Alfie to one side and open the window and shoe the bird out. The whole thing takes 5 minutes but I swear they were the longest 5 minutes of my life. Honestly, I don’t want to be a dog mum anymore.
I think the time has come to tell my mum the dog hasn’t eaten for 5 days. I have tried everything. I have pointed at his food. Mixed it up, took it away, swapped it round. Nothing. He just won’t eat. I started to feel sorry for him tonight so I gave him some digestive biscuits and some ready salted crisps. I text my mum to fill her in. She replies ‘Claire don’t worry, he will eat when he is hungry. It’s just the weather and he’s missing us. Whatever you do, don’t give him biscuits though, he stops eating so you feel sorry for him so he can have a biscuit’ OK mum, I reply.
The dog has mugged me off AGAIN!
I have never been so happy to see a patch of wee in all my life! His first wee in 6 days, I am so proud of him. I actually give him a hug. Then he ruins it 14 hours later with that very thing I celebrated.
Come on Alfie? I say you can come up to bed to watch some TV with me before we go to sleep. I open the back door to let him out first, but he’s not interested. He is obviously eager to catch the news. I go towards the hallway and he Usain Bolts it up the stairs. I enter the room 1 minute behind him to catch him leg cocked. He’s pee’d all over my bed, the duvet, the pillows the lot! I give him a look, What on earth have you done? I shout, obviously expecting an answer from a dog, who just 2 minutes ago refused to go outside to pee. He jumps off the bed and I go to pick him up to show him the wee stained bed! To put his nose in it and tell him he is a bad dog. But he plays dead! Like a 2-year-old having a tantrum when they don’t want to get out of the trolley at the supermarket, he goes stiff so I can’t pick him up! This dog is clever! I’ll give him that. I keep trying but he remains rigid. I put him down and he runs downstairs and gets in his bed! Alright for some I say to an empty room. If only I had the same luxury, but no, my bed is covered in piss.
So I ring my mum and explain the situation! I warned you that if you let him go upstairs first he would pee everywhere! Just what I needed at 11:00pm at night, a bed covered in piss and an I told you so lecture off my Mum. Great! Mum listen… he knew he had done wrong because he played dead and went downstairs! That’s probably because you shouted at him, he got scared and ran off! I didn’t shout at him mum, I just gave him a look! Yes well, I’ve seen your looks Claire, you’re quite the bitch no wonder he ran straight to his bed! Not sure how this night has ended in me being a bitch and the dog a poor wounded soldier, but here we are. Alfie wins again.
I am still refusing to speak to Alfie today. I feel like we had got to an understanding and he let me down. I’ve never been so disappointed in my life! He try’s to be nice to me but I’m not interested. I give him his chew stick and leave the house still madly fuming. For the first day ever I don’t experience mum guilt. But then I start to feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty. What if I’ve been mean to him and he decides to die today! How can I explain that to my mum? She will probably tell me he’s died from a broken heart , because I gave him the look. I am so over dog sitting. I get home, find he’s OK and I give him ice cream for not feeling guilty for leaving him today. 1 day to go!
Alfie sits excitedly at the window, it’s almost like he knows they’re coming home! He has been sat there since 9:30am. They landed at 10am. I’m pretty much sat on him staring out the window waiting for freedom to come! Then my mum comes around the corner. There she is. Alfie’s gets in a tiz runs outside, back inside, chases his tail. Up down, in and out, barking as he waits. They can’t get here quick enough.
My mum comes into the house and we both stand by the door! Alfie jumping like a kangaroo. Alfieeee, my baby how are you? My dad follows using his baby voice. Alfie, are you ok? Did you miss us? Did you think we were dead? You thought we were dead didn’t you? You thought we were dead? Well we are back. I’m still stood at the door, arms open wide to say hello and I’ve been ignored for the dog! Normality has returned. Alfie has his parents back, and I have my freedom! Long live my freedom!