Being a Dog Mum, My One Month Trial

Me and my housemate have been enthusiastically discussing getting a puppy for a while, blindly ignoring the obvious gaping holes in our plan. “Imagine a little dog running around in here!” Our favourite line. As we sink our third bottle of prosecco and get ready to hit Kongs for the second night in a row. Yes, the epitome of perfect motherhood.

We couldn’t look after a dog. Or could we? We’re not meant to have dogs in our flat, and wouldn’t have had the time to take care of one historically for work reasons, but with the world taking a turn towards remote working, now would be the perfect time. If only you could have one on a test run, a one month trial….

And just like that, a friend of mine who was making a move to Amsterdam needed some help, “could you look after the dog for a week or so?” he asked. Not one to let such a ‘pawfect’ opportunity pass me by, I agreed immediately.

No problem, I’d be delighted to have him! Honestly I was thrilled, this was about the most exciting thing to happen to me in 2020 so far, not that the bar for fun this year has been set spectacularly high.

As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, the messages began to flood in from concerned family members. You told me you were only dogsitting? Are you sure you’ve not adopted a dog?!

It’s been a month of new experiences. So what have I learned?

Alone Time is Not a Thing

… I think to myself, reflecting back on all the free time I used to have and took for granted, as Percy tramples across my stomach with his dagger like feet, settling down to chew his minging bit of bone on my chest. Thank you for sharing this moment with me, as if we haven’t spent every waking second together for the last month.

What was I thinking expecting to take a breather on the sofa? To dare trying to engage in an activity outside of being his personal feeder and plaything? Don’t be ridiculous, Catrin.

Luckily I’ve been off work and on furlough for the last few months, so I have more time to dedicate to him. How do people who work full time manage? He’s anxious if left for an hour or two, I can’t imagine leaving him for a full day.

I feel guilty for leaving him alone – even just to have a shower! Of course there he is waiting outside for me to help lick my legs dry the moment I step through the door. I think that’s having an opposite effect but thanks anyway mate, I appreciate the sentiment.

Having a dog is like having a small child, they require a lot and I mean A LOT of attention. It’s not enough to just feed and walk him, he needs play and constant love and affection. If you don’t have enough free time on your hands around work – then don’t get a dog.

Everything I Own Either Smells Like Dog… Or is Covered in Dog Hair

The dog’s hair is EVERYWHERE. But then, I’ve never understood people who get a dog and then complain about dog hair. What did you expect?

And those people who don’t let dogs on the sofa or in certain rooms of the house in case they get dog hair on the forbidden furniture. Their tiny world is already so small, why make it even smaller by telling them where they can and can’t go in their own home. I’d rather have a hairy dog than one of those naked cats with all the skin.

Also, unrelated, but I talk about poobags more in a day now than I have ever before in my life. It’s safe to say my chat has hit an all time low. I used to be interesting, now here I am, 26, having told more than 6 different people on separate occasions about how thrilled I was to find these vanilla scented poobags in Morries.

Since having the pup around I’ve just come to accept that my house, myself and my clothes are just a tiny bit gross all the time. Your dog doesn’t complain about finding your human hair all over the place, and it’s not his hair clogging up the shower for the third time this year. If you can’t handle dog hair or being a little bit gross – then don’t get a dog.

Don’t be Fooled

“Don’t let him lick your face he eats dog shit”, I find myself mindlessly repeating for the 8th time that day as Percy’s new victim leans in to give him a cuddle. I’ve clocked on to his tricks by now.

He knows how to play the game and act innocent, he’s got that puppy-face down to a T. Please sir, may I have some more? His Dobby the House Elf eyes widen as he turns it on my friends and tries to convince them that I’ve starved him. As if we’ve not just watched him wolf down his dinner so fast he nearly choked. It’s alright mate, no one is going to take it from you, a dry bit of kibble wasn’t really on my menu for tonight anyway.

And other dogs…. Just… What?!

Don’t be fooled by his angelic exterior and let this little shitbag off the lead, especially with another pooch in the area. It’s like going for a walk with Jeckyll & Hyde. One minute he’s frolicking innocently through the grass minding his own, sniffing a simple leaf or pissing on a quiet lamppost. The next he’s turned into some kind of rabid coyote and explodes into a fit of rage at another dog that dared to try and cross the road in the vicinity. He definitely thinks he owns the place, the little prince parading up and down the balcony and barking at everything within a 5 mile radius, everything the light touches is Percy’s kingdom now, apparently.

And What Haven’t I Learned?

The more I learn about him, the more questions this leaves unanswered. I mean to start with, someone told me recently that dogs want to be near you because they can smell your bones. Is this true?! I find this deeply troubling and I think about it on an hourly basis. I like to think he hangs out with me because he likes me and enjoys my company, and not because he’s wondering when I’m going to share my stash of human bones.

And what does he think I’m doing? I think to myself as Percy watches intensely as I pick up his shit off the pavement. Does he think I do this because I enjoy it? Yes, what a treat for me. I wait anxiously all day for you to unload your bowels onto the floor just so I can have the cheap thrill of picking it back up again.

I’ve also been trying to work out the formula for his relationship with other dogs, crack the code, spot the signs before it’s too late. Which dogs he likes, which he doesn’t. One week I think it’s big dogs he’s got beef with, the next he’ll try to take the ear off a chihuahua. I’m no closer to solving this conundrum and have put this down to one of life’s unanswered questions.

But overall….

He Brings Me So Much Joy

Always up for a cuddle, always wants to have fun. He beats having a man around the house any day, I’ve absolutely loved being a dog mum and I’ll be sad to see him go!

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