There is a fundamental misunderstanding between dogs and their owners including at this house. While I enjoy the 45 mins or so of relative peace and quiet that the morning walk with my dogs affords me, I deeply resent the 6 am alarm when it goes off.
No matter how hard I try, I find it almost impossible to get out of the house in under two hours if I have to factor in the walk in the morning, more often than not because I understand that the dogs are being taken out for some exercise and crucially, to empty their bladders and bowels of anything they might need to get rid of (given that they stay indoors) and they see it as a sniff- a-thon which means they can check out exactly who has been up and down the street and through the park since our last visit there twelve hours earlier.
Dogs, of course have a totally different attitude to waste products than humans. We have learned of the association with disease and see it as something that is thoroughly unpleasant and to be avoided. Dogs, however, relying as they do on smell as their primary sense to interpret the world, examine every damp patch and overlooked blob with interest, to see if they can detect the owner – to put a face to a bum, so to speak.
In this way, when a dog marks an area with pee, or leaves something more substantial behind, it is more like leaving a calling card, a piece of indentification – a driver’s licence, if you will. One good sniff and they can catch up on all the goss, but of course that can be rudely interrupted by an owner wanting to get home and get changed for work and sometimes they have to tug a little on the lead to ensure they get their nose where it needs to be.
I had completed the circuit of the park and was on the way home. Archie had done what he needed to do but Lucy had been busy saying hello to everyone. We set off up the road and I was running the gauntlet of a particularly interesting flower bed when there was a tug on first one lead, then two. Sighing, I turned around just in time to witness Lucy circling and adopting a position that meant she was going to park her dinner and Archie moving in to check out an interesting scent directly in the path of the payload.
I pulled Archie out of the way, much to his annoyance and let Lucy finish, cleaned up and got the dogs up the road and into the garden ready for breakfast. Then I noticed that my hand was dirty – odd – and washed it with antibacterial soap.
Archie appeared next to me and seemed to want something. I gave him a tiny saucer of milk. He drank it and then stayed where he was. I wondered what ws wrong with him but I was not about to give him another treat. Grabbing the comb, I decided to give him a brush instead. I leant over and lifted his ear.
And then I saw it.
Archie had not missed the payload – or at least he had missed most of it but not all of it. Archie was wearing a small sample of Lucy’s ‘driver’s licence’ on his ear.
A swift visit to the bathroom for a mop up and shower later and Archie was back to normal – or as normal as he can be, but once again my dogs had managed to ensure that I moved from being early for work to running late. Nice one, guys but better on Archie’s ear than on my carpet – only just better, but better.