Saturday, 25 July 2009

Marley & Me: he sure wasn’t the worst dog in the world; I’ve got that one

My friend T and I recently rented the DVD Marley & Me and watched it, fittingly, tucked up in my double bed on a cold winter’s afternoon, with three large dogs, all lying more or less on top of us.

We quite liked the movie although it can’t compare with the book. And what we did decide is that, as bad as Marley was, he definitely can’t compare with the Monster Baby.

All puppies go through a destructive phase, where everything chewable, from shoes and underwear to furniture and fittings, is fair game. I’ve known puppies to eat entire boots, but mine is the first puppy I’ve known to eat an entire sofa.

This sofa, a vintage Sanderson-linen three-seater, was donated to my verandah by my friend Ronaldo, and arrived somewhat threadbare and with one wobbly leg, but otherwise perfectly serviceable. I planned, at some stage when my bank balance allows, to have it recovered and the leg fixed, and give the sofa many more years of life.

I hadn’t reckoned on the Monster Baby who, once she’d eaten – and I mean eaten, not just chewed – all the cushion covers, got stuck into the cushions themselves with a zeal that can only be described as devilish. Sometimes she didn’t even bother to snack on them on the verandah, and instead dragged them down to the bottom of the plot, the better to ravage them in peace.

Cushions summarily dealt with, she then began on the upholstery itself. As the sofa now stands, a short six months after the advent of the Monster Baby into our household, it is no longer recognisable as such: its skeletal remains resemble nothing less than something the dog dragged in. (Dean was so impressed by the damage that he took a picture.)

My experience last weekend of leaving the Monster Baby in the house without human supervision for the first time was a salutary reminder that I do, indeed, have the Worst Dog In The World. I left at about 8pm, having fed the dogs, waited till they’d done their business outside, brought in their baskets, filled the water bowl, and made sure everything that could be chewed was stowed.

I got back at 1.30am to havoc. Sara, The Wobbly Dog (who, as it happens, is The Best Dog In The World), was aware that things weren’t all as they should be, and was waiting by the back door; when I opened it, she shot into the night and high-tailed it down to the bottom of the plot. Hm, I thought, strange behaviour. Turning around, I stepped into a dog turd. Bugger, I thought, and turned on the kitchen light.

My kitchen bin is a big black plastic drum with a tightly fitting lid, and I always make sure the lid is on properly because it shares space with The Worst Dog In The World. This hadn’t, however, proved the slightest problem for Monster Baby, who’d overturned the bin and, apparently, rolled it around the kitchen until the lid popped off. Then she’d riotously extracted every last bit of garbage from it and strewn it frenziedly throughout the house. In every room (and I mean every room) there were kitchen scraps, tin cans, used tissues, the contents of ashtrays, wrappers, old tea bags… The extent of the mess was simply unbelievable.

I think I screamed. Well, I must have, because Monster Baby came shooting out of my bedroom (where she was up to other nonsense; more about that just now) and shot past me out the back door, to join Sara at the bottom of the plot.

In the course of an hour-long clean-up operation, I discovered something more: Monster Baby, who has finally got her ‘evacuating’ under control (she was a real challenge to house-train), had forgotten everything she’d learnt, and had just crapped and pissed everywhere. So in among the contents of the garbage bin were several nice big jobbies, and she’d carefully anointed every loose rug in the house with a generous dose of dog pee.

Later, when I’d finally picked up all the rubbish, scrubbed the pee and poo off the floors and carpets, and put things to rights, I called Sara back in, but condemned Monster Baby to a cold and lonely night on what’s left of the verandah sofa.

The next morning I discovered the cherry on top: Monster Baby had chewed and, in some cases, eaten (I presume because no trace remains) the entire contents of my bedside drawer. These included nail files, lip ices, ear plugs, several pens, a man-size bar of chocolate plus wrapper, two puzzle books, a box of tissues and some pretty potent painkillers – which, apparently, had no effect on her What So Ever. (She has opened this drawer before and stolen chocolates from it; I don’t know how she does it because I’ve never been able to catch her in the act. Clearly, I need to find another place to stash my sweeties.)

When I related all this to my friend T, she said, ‘Shame, poor Monster Baby. She was probably scared about being left on her own for the first time.’

I don’t think so. I think she twigged that she’d have a few hours of freedom from the usual rules, and used them the best way she knew how: by being The Worst Dog In The World.

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1 comment:

ali g said...

Jesus...shall never complain about our bunch of good little puppies ever again.....