The First Four Months

My alarm goes off at 7. But Shuggie has got it into his scruffy head that 6.45 is wakeup time, complete with scratching at the bedroom door and whining. But one mustn’t open the bedroom door when he’s whining, because that gives the impression that whining gets results.

He’s also in the habit of not peeing all night (despite the Training Pads left in the hallway for him) so by the time I get up he’s desperate. Add to that the excitement of me getting up, and it being time for breakfast, and there have been some accidents. So I have developed a strategy.

The trick is to get up, get the flip-flops on, and make myself half decent before opening the bedroom door, grabbing the dog and taking him downstairs to pee in the garden before he has a chance to think, or pee elsewhere, or on me (which has admittedly never happened).

Unfortunately, first thing in the morning, I’m desperate too. I don’t get up in the night, because I sleep like the dead. I almost slept through an attempted burglary once. But valiantly I hold it in, while waiting for the mutt to do his business on the decking. It’s most frustrating if he prevaricates. I’d go in the garden myself if it weren’t for the neighbours’ kitchen windows staring down at me.

Urination successful, I whisk him back upstairs, and say the word, “Dinner!”, which sets off the hopping-on-the-spot which is most cute. Strictly speaking it should be, “Breakfast!”, but his vocabulary isn’t that great yet. I’ll write more about that later.

He demolishes his bowlful in about 20 seconds, which almost makes me feel guilty (“Are we feeding him enough?”) for a second, until I realise that he’s putting weight on at a rate of knots. Already we’re looking at the pictures of him we took in April at just 2 months old.

“Aww, he was so tiny!”

looks at lanky hound now, chewing his slipper

“Now look at him.”

The 20-second eating window gives me the chance to do my business. But I have to be quick, because as soon as he’s eaten, he’s likely to want to POO, which is much better done outside. So I then watch him like a hawk, while making tea and toast, and at the first sign of the circling/squatting thing going on, it’s back down the stairs to the garden.

I should clarify this thing about the stairs. We live in a purpose-built flat, part of a terrace built around 1906. We have our own front door, behind which is a set of stairs leading up to the flat. Then at the back are more stairs leading to our own little garden. The back stairs are bare wood (at the moment) and very steep, so Shuggie needs to be carried down and assisted up. This is why the whole thing is so awkward. Possible solutions: carpet the stairs; add a slide/winch assembly; wait for the dog to grow bigger and get him to carry his own lard-arse up and down the stairs.

Anyway, once the poo is safely disposed of (over the fence – only joking! ah aha ha haha), then, and only then, can I dump the dog on the bed to bite Mairi’s face (most amusing) and get in the shower for some peace and quiet.