Louise’s Column – Issue 67


Posted by in August's Magazine

You tend to either be a dog or cat person and Norman and I are most definitely dog-people. Although I had two cats in my childhood – one of which was a bit aloof, but didn’t seem to mind being dressed up in my doll’s clothes and pushed around in my wee sister’s buggy, and the other a little demonic (he used to play with your eyelids as you slept) – I still prefer the docile, unconditional love of a dog.

So, whenever my sister asks if we can dog-sit Oscar, their little fluffy Jack-a-Doodle, we always make sure we can. There is nothing better than coming home from work to an enthusiastic dog that just wants to shower you with affection. Oscar is a bit bouncy, it must be the hyper Jack Russell in him, so as you enter the flat he is literally springing up and down on the spot like Tigger, performing the doggy paddle in mid-air, his little tongue sticking out. He does this for a good thirty minutes as you try to peel off your coat and climb into something more comfy, only to find that your something more comfy, which, okay, you left in the growing pile on the bedroom floor, is now in Oscar’s bed alongside his cuddly whale, and chewed dog lead. Hmm.

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He usually jumps onto my lap for a cuddle, as I get settled down for the night. It takes a good ten minutes to calm him down so I can watch TV, without being licked to death. His breath is also not the freshest. I find myself pushing him aside at times, thinking I’m going to gag on his dog-biscuit breath, but then feeling bad when I see his wee ears go down, I pull him back onto my lap. This goes on until Norman comes in and Oscar’s attention turns to him.

Oscar doesn’t eat that much but when he does it’s of the dried food variety. We’d been assured it keeps his poo more solid and easier to pick up. There is nothing worse than chasing a soft poo around the door step of the King’s Wark as people walk past, straining their necks to see what I’m up to on all fours, alongside a bouncing dog. It’s a smelly business, this dog-sitting malarkey.

But having a wee dog to look after does force you outdoors, away from the TV and chocolate digestives. For me the 9-10pm walk is the best (which Norman will now remind me of when I’m passed out on the sofa refusing to budge). You get the opportunity to stroll along the Shore area at one of the prettiest times of the day as it starts to grow dark. I’ve taken him to Leith Links a couple of times too where he likes to chase the seagulls and pigeons as I run behind him, trying to look reasonably graceful as I tear off across the grass, too scared to let him off the lead. He’s also been a visitor to Carriers Quarters, enjoying all the drunken attention from the regulars. The dog likes Leith, what more can I say.

We have him for a week this time, and so far so good. Although we did learn a very quick lesson after feeding him some leftovers the other night – doggy flatulence is worse than soft poo! Our place also looks more unkempt than usual with covers and cuddly toys all over the place. I think a week, or maybe two, is just enough. I can only search so many times for that elusive other shoe in the morning before I begin to lose my mind, and to be fair to wee Oscar, used to living in a big house in a Borders village with plenty of walks and a big garden to roam around, our 3rd floor flat on Bernard Street is hardly ideal for such a lively, let’s not forget bouncy, dog.

So, he’ll just have to wait until next time to chase those seagulls again on the Links or to sit in the Tulip Room of Carriers Quarters watching all the cute lady dogs go by…

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