Fancy getting a dog? PART 2 – How I got on renting one for a week.

Fancy getting a dog? PART 2 –  How I got on renting one for a week.


Preface  Have I mentioned that I have a bit of a crush on Bill Nighy?  You know that rather suave actor who played the ageing rock star in Love Actually.

Love Actually GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Well I do.

It’s not as big a crush as I have on Rick Stein but it’s still a crush. So if you’d asked me to imagine a moment where Bill and I might actually come face to face – let’s be honest, a once in a lifetime moment – I might have imagined that it would be at a film premiere after-party in London where we’d regale each other with witty anecdotes.

Or perhaps we’d have a brief chat as out paths crossed in a beach club in Ibiza.

I certainly wouldn’t have said it would be in broad daylight in a Glasgow park as I was bending down to scoop up a rather impressive pile of Hamish’s poops in one of those revolting smelling Poop Bags as Bill walked past, giving me a rather fetching smile.

So meet Hamish…

Hamish is in the ‘hood

He’s a he. He’s 6. He’s a Border Terrier and  Barking Mad has arranged for him to stay with me for a week.

My little crib sheet told me he loves toys and cuddles, doesn’t bark much that he eats at 8am, 1pm and 5pm and is happy to sleep anywhere. So I’m thinking that we have rather a lot in common.

It didn’t, however, mention that he has an insatiable appetite for carrots, apples, tuna, unappetizing looking dry dog pellets, walking, trying to kill cats, going nuts if you say, urgently, Where’s The Squirrels, oh, and pooping.

When the Barking Mad woman brought Hamish and I together things got off to a cool start. Despite my efforts…Cooochi Choochi Coo, there was a distinct lack eye contact. In fact, Hamish completely ignored me and ran round and round my flat…sniffing.

Finally, when he reached me he had a jolly good sniff – I imagine he got a rather pleasant whiff of Dove Deodorant followed by a noseful of Acqua di Parma. Not one to be out-done I sniffed him back and I’ve got to be honest, my olfactory experience wasn’t half as pleasant – I was HIT by a rather strong scent of Dog with base notes of carrot and top notes of tuna.

After we waved goodbye to the Barking Mad Woman Hamish and I finally made eye contact. I asked him what he fancied doing and he just started up at me then turned his head to a 45-degree angle, and looked at me, as if to say WFT.

So we went for a walk.

Elementary Dear Watson

Our first walk together set the pattern for the week. We went for miles chasing down scents – I can only assume they are a mixture of Cat. Squirrel. Dog. Deliveroo People and dead things in bushes.

During a walk with Hamish, he takes the lead, charging on like some smarty panty Sherlock Holmes getting all the clues while I get pulled behind (by the lead) like some dim-witted Dr Watson –  not sure what we are looking for and trying not to fall over.

We got home exhausted and set ourselves up on the sofa to watch The Handmaid’s Tale.  To be honest, Hamish looked decidedly bored as I filled him on in the plot and dozed through most of it.

Hamish Watching The Handmaid’s Tale

Doggy beddy time was approaching so I put Hamish’s cushion bed in the kitchen along with his water bowl and kindly left the door open so he could roam about the kitchen and hall as he pleased.

Come on Hamish. Bed Time, I said in my best Barbara Woodhouse voice (under 40? Google It)

My Hero – Barbara Woodhouse

 I clapped my hands and pointed at the cushion, smiling.

Hamish looked up at me with a sort of disgruntled expression.

I left him to it, went to bed and as I was halfway through Chapter 3 of Training The Best Dog Ever when I heard faint scratching on the bedroom door and a bit of a low-level howl.

I tried to ignore it but it didn’t  stop and the howling got louder.

Eventually, I got up and prepared myself for a serious chat with Hamish in my best gruff man tone (I read about this…apparently dogs show more respect to men as they respond instinctively to deeper voices…they obviously haven’t they heard of feminism or Angela Merkel)

So with I gave it the gruffest BED HAMISH I could manage and pointed to cushion in the kitchen.

Hamish did that 45-degree angle head thing again and I swear he actually raised his eyebrows.

Feeling victorious, I shut the bedroom door, however, within seconds the scratching started again.

We repeated this dance a couple more times before I gave in, opened the lounge door and Hamish happily bounded onto the couch, licked my face (which I’m not a big fan of) and settled himself in for the night…and the next week.

So much for my Leader of the Pack efforts.

Next morning, early, even for me, Queen of the Morning People the scratching resumed so off we went on another long Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson trek.  When we got back Hamish slept for hours while I worked for hours, until it was time to eat and go for the next long walk.

Post-Walking Activities

On Day 3 we bonded over a bath – his not mine – from which Hamish emerged smelling a lot less doggy.

I dried him with a rather lovely White Company bath towel and then he rolled about my nice cream carpet to finish off the drying process – all of which I found really rather adorable.

I even rewarded him with a rather tasty looking bone-shaped Milky Doggy Biscuit.

Relaxed Dog GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

As the week drew to a close I realised that I would miss Hamish. His wee face, the morning door scratching, chasing all those invisible scents, teasing him about squirrels and cats, the way he shook himself dry covering me with water and leaves. Even his lovely doggy odor.

Hamish Standing on my Foot

As for Hamish, well I had come to realise that Hamish was totally in love with me.

He would quite happily stare at me all day. He wanted to be beside me all the time. I’m sure if he could have managed it I’m sure he’d have ordered a big bouquet of flowers, some nice cakes and a Promise Ring.

In fact, at times, it felt like I was hanging around with one of those annoying boys in school who stared at you all the time.

In truth, I was a bit worried about how Hamish would cope when he had to leave me and how hurt his owner would feel when she realised that Hamish’s heart now belonged to someone else.

That was until the Barking Mad Woman came to pick him up.

Hamish saw her (or perhaps picked up her scent) as she parked her car and immediately started jumping up and down and running round and round and yowling with delight.

When the doorbell rang Hamish picked up speed and started howling at the moon.

I stared at him – my head at a 45-degree angle.

He was beside himself with excitement…at the prospect of going home.

I gathered together all his bits ‘n’ bobs then gave him one last cuddle.  He licked my face then wriggled out my arms and off he bounded.

I waved out the window and mouthed Bye Hamish but he didn’t even give a backward glance.

All that was left was the lingering odor of dog and some left over Doggy Doo Doo Bags.

The Hamish

So here are some things I’ve learned about dogs after one week (assuming they are all like Hamish of course).

Dogs and Heels (even wedges) Do Not Go Together

Never ever, ever walk a dog in anything other than old clothes and trainers, in which you can run so you can effectively follow all the invisible scents out there.

Given half a chance dogs would walk for 24 hours a day

…and when they are not, they’d sleep

Dogs have very waggy tails

 …which makes you love them

Keeping a Look Out for Squirrels

Dogs like looking out of windows and go crazy when they see a cat

…and you just have to say the word Squirrel to make them go bonkers

Dogs are good for losing weight

First, you walk at least 6 miles a day.   On Day 4 I got an email FitBit – I thought they were going to suggest I was overdoing the old walking – but no they were congratulating me on my first Slam Dunk (eh?) and awarding me my High Tops Badge (eh?).

Secondly, you eat less. Whenever you eat  a dog just sits and stares at you which is a bit off putting so you tend to pass on that third helping of dinner and fourth biscuit.

Strangers will very happily talk to you and tell you about their Border Terrier or some other brand of dog, BUT when it comes down to it…they are unwilling to scoop the poop for you.

The poop bag experience is just as bad as you might imagine.

Four tricks… 1/ drink wine 2/ hold your nose 3/ give it 5 minutes to settle ((bluergg)) and 4/ use two, or preferably three bags.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely. Especially if Hamish free –  I’ve been checking my phone but he’s not called or texted yet.

Would I get a dog forever?

I’m tempted…but only if he’s like Hamish.

Borrowing one is a great fun and the ideal way to find out if you and your life are dog-compatible.

Read Part 1 Here

Don’t miss a trick…you can also find me on…

Twitter @MidlifeSmarts



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  1. 19 August 2017 / 11:01 am

    Hi Jill

    Loved this! And really love your writing style. Not sure you should change your title at all. It fits you so well!

    Suspect you will be a great success!



    • Jill
      19 August 2017 / 11:03 am

      HI Joyce Thanks so much. I loved having Hamish. He was great fun.BLogging makes you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do! Catch up soon. Jill x

  2. 20 August 2017 / 9:02 am

    What a wonderful idea and a lovely post, Jill. My children wanted a dog but I opted for a black cat (my inner witch won!) The kids now look at me with that 45 degree angle and WTF looks on their faces. Perhaps one day I’ll give in – I’m sure the cat would love a friend!! 😉

    • Jill
      20 August 2017 / 11:23 am

      Haha Shelley….that’s funny. I loved having Hamish but it was pretty exhausting and he did like to chase cats!! Jill x

  3. 21 August 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I haven’t found a good substitute for a dog. My wife is the closest I’ve come! 🙂

    • Jill
      21 August 2017 / 5:10 pm

      Hey Jonathan – Oh I did love Hamish. He was great for making me walk too. Next week I am taking a leaf out of your book and writing about taking responsibility for eating well. Not easy! Jill

    • Jill
      29 August 2017 / 3:11 pm

      Haha! Bill just looked at us in a rather suave way ! Thanx so much. Jx

  4. 5 November 2017 / 8:32 am

    Given that this was written in August, did Hamish ever call?? Men can be fickle like that ha ha! I loved your writing about this experience. I got my first dog three years’ ago and nothing could have prepared me for the experience. They certainly help keep you more active and they’re so affectionate. Would you consider renting another one or was it a one-off?

    • Jill
      5 November 2017 / 8:45 am

      Haha! NO…I haven’t heard from Hamish – what a cad 🙂 I would LOVE to get a dog at some point. It was great fun and certainly got me walking!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Jill x

  5. 5 November 2017 / 9:02 am

    Best ‘mans best friend’ example anyone ever told me..
    ‘My dog loves me more than my wife does, if I locked them both in the car boot overnight, guess which one would greet me lovingly in the morning?’

    • Jill
      5 November 2017 / 9:08 am

      Ha. The old ones are the best! Thanx for reading

  6. 5 November 2017 / 11:49 am

    What an adorable and laugh out loud post with just the right amount of mush thrown in. I do think this would have been a lovely post for a friend of mine who adopted recently. The whole idea of a dog on trial is a great idea to let you know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for. Babysitting nieces and nephews for longer than a week would work too, if people plan to have kids of their own. 😉 Your writing style is totally lovable!

    • Jill
      5 November 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Hey Shailaja thanx so much for your lovely comments. I enjoyed having Hamish and you’re right – it’s a great way to see if a dog is for you long term. Jill x

  7. 5 November 2017 / 2:23 pm

    Loved the story and your bonding experience!

    You might want to consider Left justifying the type. Centered type is really hard to read.

    • Jill
      5 November 2017 / 2:26 pm

      HI Susie thanks for that. I’ve recently rebranded and getting round to changing old posts from centred typed. Must get it further up my To Do List 🙂 ! Cheers for reading and commenting. JIll

    • Jill
      14 December 2017 / 7:49 am

      Yes, he was. Thanks for commenting. x

  8. 15 December 2017 / 1:10 am

    So let me get this straight, you can rent dogs in England?

    • Jill
      15 December 2017 / 6:38 am

      Ha! Sort of. It’s a dog watching service where you look after a dog in your home while the owner is on holiday or otherwise unavailable. Many owners prefer it to putting their pooch in a kennel. Jill x

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