A friend sent me the amusing list below via Facebook. I don’t know who the author is but it reminded me of something and then I turned round from reading it and there they – the pups – were. I took the photo (right) just to prove it. I told my friend I thought we were at about level 8 and probably going higher. It reminded me I haven’t written anything about the pups for a while. I’m going to have to stop calling them pups soon. When does a puppy become a dog anyway? I guess never if you don’t want it to happen. So an update on what’s going on in puppy world in this blog. First thing to say is that they have been a constant source of, what during our recent fairly hard times? Well a constant anyway and mostly a constant source of pleasure and, just occasionally, like the other day when I had the shortest nervous breakdown on record – about 2 or 3 seconds when I completely lost it – a source of stress. On top of a few other stress events the combination of Millie pulling like a maniac on her lead for a longer period than we had planned for and then Archie barking like a lunatic at a lady outside the car window, served to momentarily tip me over the precipice. It sounds funny now I come to write but just at that moment, it was another thing I could have done without. So the list:
We liked this and you can see why. But there is more happening in their puppy lives than being an additional stress (and mostly they make us smile so it’s not that bad). At the end of May I think I mentioned in a previous blog, number one daughter is getting married. Unfortunately, I think, the place she is getting married – Byland Abbey in North Yorkshire, sounds grand doesn’t it, we don’t know we haven’t been for our introductory visit yet – is not as they say, ‘dog-friendly’. So no wedding celebration for the pups. What it does mean is that, for the first time in their lives, they will have to go into kennels. All the people who might have looked after them at home being at the wedding. This is a source of great anxiety for me and Mrs Summerhouse – yes, another one. Particularly for Mrs SH as she has the task of finding a boarding kennel that we, and by extension, they, will be happy with. Not quite as easy as you might think. Finally, a friend of Mrs SH recommended a place which we set off to find last Wednesday. You can’t miss it she said, go past the pub and there’s a big sign saying Mucky Pups. Well we did miss it, as far as we could see it wasn’t there, but we went on to another boarding kennel in the same area and Mrs SH loved it and booked them in on the spot. No, we didn’t let them inspect the room. But that’s OK because they have to go for a taster day. This is to see if they like the place and the place likes them. This is free.
It set me thinking that it would be great if hotels offered the same deal – a free night’s accommodation. After all at £44 a night for a double room (Mrs SH was insistent that they should be together in the same ‘cage’ although, she told me, it isn’t a cage really, more like a small living room, so that’s nice) it’s about the same price as a modest hotel, out in the country which these kennels are. It’s going to be stressful. It’s not the first time we’ve been parted, our weekend in Oslo was the first time but it will be the first time they’ve been in kennels. But at least they’re going with us for our first proper holiday in many a long time. We’re renting a cottage on the West Coast or Ireland so they’ll be coming on the ferry with us (the fast one that only takes an hour and forty minutes from Holyhead to Dublin, just as well as they have to stay in the Land Rover). All this is subject to approval from the shop-steward, aka Millie. Millie does not regard herself as a dog she is in fact the liaison officer / translator between us and her brother. So we await her go ahead.
Otherwise life in the Summerhouse retirement home goes on pretty much as normal, at least as far as the pups are concerned. In these trying times they remain a source – mostly – of pleasure even though they are at this moment, as I try to type this up, tearing round the living room trying to bite each other’s legs / ears / heads off. We have sometimes wondered whether we made the right decision in getting two demanding pups as soon as we were retired. Would be have been better waiting and enjoying a little in the way of unfettered travel – we could have visited the USA, Australia, New Zealand or even China – before committing ourselves to UK based or even European travel? But we couldn’t have done that anyway, at least not until now and my mother’s death, because we used to visit her once or sometimes even twice a week. So it’s only now in a way, that the correctness of our decision vis a vis the pups comes into focus. And, as I’ve said, we intend, as soon as all the funeral stuff is over, to hit the road – to Ireland – anyway. So there’s no great feeling of being trapped or of not making the most of our retirement freedom. Not yet. This retirement business is under constant review and who knows where it will take us, especially now we feel (although to be truthful we have yet to get the full feeling) we have more space, emotional and actual, to enjoy ourselves.