Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Moving Moments…

Posted: March 27, 2013 in Pets & Garden, Stuff
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We’re moving home. We presently live in the northern English city of Newcastle upon Tyne. In a few weeks time we’ll be living on the other side of the planet – in Perth, Western Australia.

I’m used to travelling – the job usually throws thirty five thousand or so onto my car each year – to say nothing of boats, ferries, planes, and trains – but this is different, this is the biggie. Of all the miles I’ve travelled as a stand up comic, half of them were always coming home.

These miles – the 9,000 miles we are about to travel – have a definitive direction – an arrow. These miles – the 9,000 miles we are about to travel – are all one way – they’re all leaving miles.

It’s a permanence that – with less than three weeks to go – is only now beginning to sink in.

We meant to move last year but for various reasons that are completely unconnected with war crimes, shallow graves, or indeed any criminal activity whatsoever, it has taken seven months, handfuls of hair, and at least one full gobful of fingernails to get everything sorted.

Still, here we are. We’re moving home. Arrangements are being made. Tickets being booked. Carriers called. Clothes packed.

The white-board in the study, normally plastered with slug-lines, or ideas for new scripts, has been invaded, and thoroughly conquered, by endless lists; lease this, sort them, sell those, store these, dump that.

The long delay, frustrating as it was, has had a positive side;

Jesse & Erik

February saw my youngest daughter, Jesse, give birth to the grandchild I thought I’d miss, and, with the birth of baby Erik, and the (admittedly pitiful) onset of the British spring, everything has a feeling of excitement, of renewal, of rebirth, of new beginnings and starting again – for all of us.

Well… almost all of us.

In that time one of the dogs that was going is now no longer going.

I knew he wouldn’t make it. He’s too old, too frail. His limbs are all swollen and gnarly. He struggles to get up in the morning, and has to be lifted in and out of the car. Even after the daily drugs have alleviated his aches, his eyes remain dim, milky, unseeing. He’s also quite deaf and frankly there’s a smell that, once smelled, can only be attributed to old age, disease, and death.

In many ways he’s like a mirror, as much of the above description could be applied to myself – and though I’m hoping the smell is a while away yet, it is quite hard to tell.

Smell or no smell, he’s an old mongrel, too, just like me. Unlike me, his name is Max.

It really was wishful thinking on my part to imagine Max in Australia. I should have had said goodbye to him a couple of years ago, but I’ve been selfish.

fave spot in the garden

fave spot in the garden

He’s my mate, you see, and I’ve been struggling to bring myself to let him go.

Up till now this selfishness has been easy. I’ve simply closed my eyes to his slow incremental deterioration – just like I’ve done to my own – whilst, every now and again, unconsciously upping both our meds.

Death, for Max, no less than myself, was always a far away place. A distant land.

Even lately the language has still had a distance to it – saying ‘goodbye’, ‘letting him go’ – but no more. That moment is no longer on or over the horizon. Those words are all in the past. Right now the carpet that my feet are resting on is a huge Juggernaut careering forward at the speed of time – and time is getting faster and faster and faster.

Now there’s a date. A specific date. A deadline.

I know what to do, I just need to take a deep breath. Man up, grow a pair, and pick up the phone – after all, he’s only a dog – just a pet.

After all, what does it take to pick up the phone and dial?

Why am I even thinking about this? Writing about this? I should be writing about the new baby? A new life? A new future?

Out with the old and in with the new – isn’t that what they say?

It’s ringing…

Stick it on the white-board, add it to the list –  lease this, sort them, sell those, store these, dump thatkill Max. There, I said it – written it down. It should be easier, now…

It’s just a finger poised above the ‘unsubscribe’ button, just a …

“Hello? … Hello? … (click)

I think I’ll wait till Jane comes home.

Rare Black & White Fox Found…

Posted: March 23, 2013 in Pets & Garden
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This rare black & white fox found at the bottom of our garden along with the faeries

After the death of one of our dogs through bowel cancer, we decided to get another ‘rescue dog’ from the pound. This, surprisingly, proved more difficult than a gay couple trying to make headway in a Vatican adoption agency.

Forms, money, home visits, credit checks, DNA tests, you name it.

One of the many ‘hoops’ we had to jump through involved writing a report describing our new dog – and how she had settled in. Below is our offering to the pound, rediscovered yesterday in an old folder. Needless to say ‘Molly’ is now the most loved member of our family.

If you’re British you’ll understand that it should be read in a ‘Geordie’ accent.

The Secret Diary of Molly MacCollie, Aged 21 months.

Thursday 4th February.

It’s Day One in the Molly MacCollie House and Anvil and Jane have been given the task of placing the remaining ornaments out of reach. After mistaking the kitchen for a toilet Molly MacCollie, aged twenty one months, is so happy with her new surrounding she simply can’t stop barking. Molly remains happy through the evening and continues to be happy throughout the night. There appears a strange synchronicity between Molly’s happiness and the wailing of the neighbour’s new baby.

Friday 5th February.

Day Two and ‘Max’ (Molly’s new older brother) decides to assess Molly following a heelnipping incident and concludes that a ‘status-re-adjustment’ is necessary. Clearing the blood from Molly’s face reveals a hole in her lip which Anvil & Jane believe will heal nicely. Molly attempts to communicate her displeasure at said status-re-adjustment by evacuating her bowels on Anvil & Jane’s bed. Molly sleeps in hall (Jane points out that perhaps ‘sleep’ is an incorrect choice of word?).

Saturday 6th February.

Day Three see’s Molly introduced to Jane’s Father who is a kind, gentle old man who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Molly disagrees vehemently with this description and thinks he may have been a mass-murderer and a possible war-criminal in a previous life. Molly apparently holds this view with regards to any male, children (of both sexes) and, surprisingly, bicycles and buggies. Later, Molly enjoys a trip to the Coast and is awarded a Gold-Star for her behaviour in the car. Molly discovers the sea. Molly discovers she doesn’t like the sea. Molly discovers a man with two dogs. Molly discovers she doesn’t like the man with two dogs. Molly loses Gold-Star for her behaviour towards the man with two dogs.

Sunday 7th February.

Day Four and it’s Molly’s first day at school and, apart from the Attention Deficit Disorder and the repeated attacks on male builders passing the classroom door, Molly finds she is not the worse dog in the class. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, sends a message of support. Molly celebrates by vomiting on the living room carpet. Molly, who has just been FrontLined and can’t be washed for two days, now smells of vomit. Molly sleeps through the night for the first time. So does the neighbours baby.

Molly’s School Report:

Molly is an affectionate dog and, after a few initial problems – fouling & barking – has fitted in quite well. She has boundless energy, learns quickly, and will play endlessly – even after long walks. She will sit, give her paw, and lie down on command and her behaviour on the lead is coming on in leaps and bounds. Whilst the leaping and bounding can be problematic she is nevertheless excellent at the kerb where she will sit patiently until told to cross. Molly is exceptionally well behaved when meeting other dogs. Molly loves soft-toys.

Most of Molly’s problems are those associated with any Rescue Dog and should be easily solved with a bit of patience. However, there are a number of issues of a more serious nature: she is incredibly aggressive with men (and children of both sexes) and will attack/threaten to attack regardless of eye-contact; She is very skittish when surprised by sudden movement or noise (motorbikes, JCB’s, schoolchildren); she is not motivated by food or treats and consequently other learning strategies need to be constantly thought through and employed.

The above issues are exceptionally problematic with Molly as she is a dog that desperately needs to be exercised ‘off the lead’.

She is, though, very keen to please, and if these problems can be overcome will make a great addition to any family.

To this end we are currently trying to introduce her to as many men as we can (obviously keeping her well away from children – and our neighbours’ new baby!) and will persevere with Molly until we are persuaded of the impossibility of change.

To end on a positive note: Molly MacCollie, aged 21 months,  is very cute and, all negative things aside – including the family heirlooms that are now in the bin – we haven’t laughed so much in years.

Anvil & Jane.

Newcastle upon Tyne.