5 MINUTE READ
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.
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…
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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