Thursday, 16 December 2010


Some things we know:

Toast will always land butter side down.

Your phone will cease to ring the second you reach it.

Spots are malevolent bastards that lie in wait for hot dates.

Animals and children are highly skilled bringers of shame.

It is therefore perhaps fortunate that my own desire to have children declines in direct correlation with the seemingly endless number of sprogs spawned by my friends. Animal shame on the other hand has dogged me throughout my life. For example, being an over-privileged Pony Club type enabled me to experience the kind of mortification that can only be achieved by mixing teenage girls, skin-tight white jodhpurs and boys. No wonder I didn’t get to kiss a boy ‘til I was 14 and then only because he thought I went to the girl’s school up the road. Yes, at half an hour (most of which was spent getting the bad news from his friends that I was actually in his class) that was officially my shortest ever relationship.

But I digress. Somehow animals have always been intrinsically linked with my love life right from the early days of pony club and Sunday school - when I first fell hopelessly in love with the vicar’s son - through the Jilly Cooper jockey romp years (no, really) to my narrow escape from becoming Mrs Baimbridge: the farmer’s wife. But lo! in the nick of time I cast off my Hunters, eschewed the pearls, turned my collar back down and set off purposefully for the bright lights of London town. And so began 7 animal-free years during which time I embraced my inner urbanite, the freedom to wear boot-cut without being asked what was wrong with ‘normal’ trousers (true story) and revelled in the exceptionally lengthy lie-ins only available to the pet and child-free. Until one day I found myself wondering if the reason I was still in bed at 11.30am was in fact because I had nothing to get up for. And perhaps what I wanted, what I really, really wanted was . . . a puppy.

And so there was Arnie. The Terminator; the Urinator; the Defecator; the turner-upside-downer of my life. He was a one-in-a-million dog. And not long after he met an untimely end so did my relationship, but not before I’d had a chance to fill the void with not one but two ‘replacements’. . .

And in case you weren't aware, the advantages of dating with dogs really are endless. For example, being able to say “I’ll be the one with two irritating, yappy pooches attached to me” really helps aid that awkward first date recognition moment. And they’re great at filling those uncomfortable silences by howling along to live music. Yes, yes they did do that. But perhaps my favourite ever moment - from the creatures that brought you the grisly death of Daffy the Duck – was a few weeks ago when the dogs and I stayed over at the new boyfriend’s place for the very first time. Picture the scene if you will: the lights are low, the mood romantic. It’s a blissful, post-coital moment of peace. But what’s that I smell? “Have you farted?” I ask sweetly. Apparently he had not. Neither had I. Conducive as the stench of dog fart is to romance I felt perhaps this was an opportune moment to take them out to the garden. Hastily clothed therefore and with a dog under each arm I strode purposefully across his dimly lit bedroom. And landed, SPLAT, straight in the most repulsive stinking pile of diarrhoea dog turd I have ever encountered. I have two words for you: cream rug.

I do not have the words, or the stomach, to describe the aftermath and clean-up operation. Be glad this blog doesn’t have a scratch-and-sniff function. And never, ever mix dogs and dating.