Thursday, August 25, 2011

Puppy Love

Perhaps it’s just a ‘ruff’ patch, but my family think I’m barking mad.

Picture the scene. I’m visiting my girlfriend’s house, enjoying some time with her, getting to know her parents better, taking things easy. There’s just one problem: the family dog. Susie is a Jack Russell terrier, lively, lots of fun, a lovely dog really. She particularly enjoys jumping up on my knee, at the behest of my wife-to-be. Except I’m terrified of dogs.

I can’t quite remember where my fear started. At one time, I happily went with my granda to take our minister’s dog for a walk (Hector, belonged to the Rector!), without a problem. But at some point, somewhere along the line, dogs became the enemy. Something to be feared.

It was heightened by my most memorable (and most terrifying) pastoral visit ever while at minister school. I was on placement in a rural parish, and was tasked to call at a certain home. My placement minister had warned me about the dog, which made my anxiety levels rise, and my willingness to visit plummet. Week after week I would put it off, until I knew I had to visit this Friday.

I arrived, rang the doorbell, and heard the barking. After postmen, minsters must be a dog’s second favourite snack, and it was ready for me! The man came to the door, and turned to lead me into the room, only the dog wasn’t moving, and wasn’t allowing me inside! I wasn’t going to force myself, so had to wait for the man to realise I wasn’t following him, come back to the door, and hold the straining dog back as I entered.

Could it get much worse? Of course it could. Seated at the kitchen table opposite the husband and wife, I was very conscious of a puddle forming on my knee. I hadn’t wet myself - it was dog drool as it sat guarding its master and making sure I didn’t come too close, ready to attack at any moment.

Thankfully the family realised, and the dog was banished to another room, allowing me to complete my visit and dash off before the dog was released again!

Any wonder I wasn’t fond of dogs. Fast forward from those nights where I was Susie’s adventure playground to last night. Back in the same room, with the same people. Only the dog has changed. Susie went to doggy heaven several years ago, but now there are two dogs running around - the new puppy, Poppy, and our dog, Pippa, both miniature Jack Russells.

Our dog?! Yes! After lots of lobbying, we got Pippa over a year ago. The first few nights were desperate as she howled for her mother and siblings, but she’s quickly settled into our wee house, so that we’re now inseparable. As it turns out, I’m the chief feeder, walker, and poo-picker-upper, and enjoying it immensely. The canine capers are continuing, and we’re having great fun with a dog that never stops running about, always playful, so that even the outside toilet trips in the middle of the coldest nights of winter with snow higher than Pippa’s head seem like fun.

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but girls, you can keep your diamonds; it’s a dog every time for me.

This article was first published in the Fourth edition of the Lawkit Journal, which is now available for download. Why not contribute something yourself for the next issue?

1 comment :

  1. I'm sure walks with Pippa will make you many a new friend.