I’m dog-sitting in the bucolic depths of New Jersey this weekend. This can basically be translated as having 100lbs of Basset Hound perma-cleaved to my side. They hop, skip & jump along when I head to the loo, sit on the kitchen mat whilst I cook, neatly positioned in between the stove & sink, ready to catch falling snacks and help me break my neck and, when I head upstairs, they sit in the hall whimpering until I come back down.
At night they sit steadfastly at the base of my bed alternately whining and staring at me until I relent and let them hop up. They sleep comfortably, me not so much, one at my feet, one at my side, both on their backs, hind legs upright, spotted forepaws curled on their chests, snoring and occasionally whimpering, no doubt blissfully chasing squirrels in their doggy dreams.
I am woken at 7am each morning by the puppy jumping on my head, demanding to be put down on the floor & thence to the joy of squirrel abuse on the lawn and a hearty breakfast of champions after. During the day I write on the sofa with the puppy keeping my toes warm, and the senior hound lying sentinel at the foot. If I should chance to move, then they go all alerti-dog, ready to vanquish intruders, attack squirrels or scarf my lunch if I am not looking.
If I should choose to be as inconsiderate as to leave the house to forage for food or coffee, upon my return an hour or so later all hell will break loose. I will be greeted by manic rushing around the open plan ground floor, toe chewing, gazelle impressions and general canine insanity. One would think I had been absent for months, not mere minutes. I await the return of their masters with considerable interest as it is hard to visualize what dizzy height their joy will reach.