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When I say rented, I don’t mean that I‘ve paid like actual money and someone will send me a random dog.
Au contraire, I’ve signed up to Barking Mad, which is a rather clever business that matches dog owners, who don’t want to put their darling doggy in an impersonal kennel while they are out of town…with people like me.
That’ll be people who really like dogs, well most of them (not the big barky ones or the ones that growl as you walk past or those scary ones on the Dangerous Dogs list), but aren’t 100% convinced that they want one forever, or just for Christmas (or a week in August).
So I am dipping my toe into Doggy Land by borrowing one for a few days.
Signing up for Barking Mad is pretty simple. You fill in a form and then the lovely Barking Mad woman visits you at home and asks you a few questions, to help her match you with the dog of your dreams.
A bit like eHarmony, only more effective.
After a quick look round my flat the Barking Mad woman and I settled down with a cup of tea and she asked me a few questions, finding out…I work from home (I think I got a big tick for that), I like walking (another tick). It then went a little pear shaped when we got into my animal husbandry experience.
I confessed that I haven’t ever owned a dog but I know someone who does. I then went on to say, sounding rather desperate, even to my own ears, that I once won a goldfish, Frankie, in a fairground and he lasted for almost two weeks, and I also had a budgie when I was about 7 it was my job to keep his Trill and water topped up and I must have been good as I earned a Brownie Pet Care Badge and one day, years later, good ol’ Sparky dropped to the bottom of his cage and died of old age (not so sure I got a tick for that).
Then the questions got a bit harder – did I have any preference on breed?
Now, what I know about dogs is on a par with my knowledge of cars…I know what I like when I see one in the street, but I don’t necessarily know what make/ breed it is. With dogs I like them small and round-ish and I don’t mind if they a bit unkempt. In an ideal world, I’d go for black or white.
As for cars…ermmm, pretty much the same.
Anyway, I didn’t want to seem like a total doggy ignoramus so I held my hand flat about shin-height and said, tentatively, one about this size, and added, one of those nice shaggy ones, like Rick Stein’s dearly departed Chalky, would be ideal, thank you very much.
I thought it was all going rather well, I offered the Barking Mad woman a second Ginger Snap, then, out of the blue, she asked if I’d mind sleeping with a dog.
Well, I’ve not been asked that since that holiday in Benidorm in 1987.
I blinked, choked on my tea and once the coughing subsided managed to croak, I Beg Your Pardon. She repeated the question. I went quiet for a bit, pretending to give it some serious consideration, then mumbled, I’d probably prefer not to.
Not a problem – I’d be matched with a dog that is not used to sleeping in its owner’s bedroom.
Finally, she asked if there was anything that I wouldn’t want a dog to do.
Ermmmm…Bark loudly. Chew the couch. Oh and I’d prefer if it didn’t bite me.
Again, no problemo.
The Barking Mad woman then took a photograph of me – I put on my best I-Love-Dogs-Face – and off she went.
Not sure of my actual mark but it was must have been pretty high as I am expecting a small non-barking, non-biting, non-furniture-chewing dog, which doesn’t mind sleeping in the kitchen, to arrive TOMORROW.
It will be delivered by my new BFF at Barking Mad along with its bed, toys and an outline of its routine (who knew that dogs have a routine!) and all its favourite foods – I’m hoping Special K is involved – I’ve always got that in.
PLUS…all the DOGGY DOO DOO BAGS that I will need for the next 7 days.
Doggy Doo Doo Alert…if you are eating save this bit for later.
To be honest, I am not sure how I’ll cope in the old doggy doo doo department.
I have an involuntary gag reflex whenever I see anyone doing it in the street. How Can They?
Plus someone told me that you can feel the heat through the plastic bag (bluergg).
Well, if that’s true, it’s high time someone clever invented some sort of insulated doggy doo doo bag – which doesn’t radiate (gag) the heat.
AND while I’m at it, someone very entrepreneurial should invent a Doggy Doo Doo App – where your mobile sends out a GPS reading on the location of the doo doo and a super-efficient young man or a woman would appear, immediately, on a scooter to perform a professional scooping service.
A bit like Deliveroo – in fact, you could be called Deliverpoo (you can use that, honestly, I won’t expect royalties). Personally, I’d quite happily pay Deliverpoo £1 per doo doo location.
Having said that, I’ve been reassured (by a dog owner) that it’s a bit like changing a baby’s nappy – you just love the dog so much you that you savor every moment of the experience. In all honesty, I’m not sure I have that much unconditional love to give to a random dog that I’ve only just met but I’ll do my best.
I might try and buy one of those Crime Scene Coveralls as seen on CSI.
If I faint I am sure someone will help.
Safe To Start Reading Again….
So wee Hamish, a Border Terrier, is arriving tomorrow and I am beyond excited.
I’ve got a little water bowl and a hot water bottle (in case he gets cold) all laid out, and an unopened box of Special K.
I am hoping he likes The Handmaid’s Tale and we can do catch up together.
Wish me luck and tune in next week to hear how it goes.
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