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Oh dear. Where has the time gone? My days have blurred into a muddle of work and dogginess as Judy has settled in. I go on a visit and worry that she’s scratched at the door frame in my absence. I go to morning prayer and pray she won’t eat the cat. I go to a meeting and wonder if I will get home in time to take her out before she makes a mess on the kitchen floor. I have had to completely rethink my days, but that, it turns out, is no bad thing.

I feel like we’re starting to establish a routine, but it’s been a stressful couple of weeks if I’m honest. I hit a low point at the end of last week and nearly resolved to take her back to the kennels on Sunday. However, I must remember that it is very early days and in reality, she has settled remarkably well. She hasn’t wrecked the flat, eaten the cat, or peed on the floor. She now sleeps through the night (albeit on the sofa, which, if it means I get my 7 hours, I’m happy to let her do), and she doesn’t bark or whine too much when she’s alone (I know because I’ve recorded her). We still have a long way to go before she’s safe around Coleridge, but they each have their own territory in the flat, and (a slightly tense) peace has settled for now.

So, it’s not been easy, but it’s going to be worth it, and the old adage ‘There’s no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner’ is almost definitely true. I think I have learned as much about myself in the last fortnight as I have about dogs. And trust me, some of the revelations are not ones to be published here. But we’re learning, and she’s an incredibly patient and gentle teacher. I feel healthier already from all the exercise we’re both getting and my insomnia has all but disappeared. At first I felt a bit guilty taking time out of the day for a walk, but actually it’s a great excuse to be out in the community and I’ve been surprised at how many more people will stop me to talk when I’ve got Judy with me.

She’s becoming a wonderful companion and is already good at letting me know when I’m working too much. I was out five evenings in a row over the last week, and by Wednesday night, she’d had enough. I could hear her barking with excitement and annoyance as I came up the stairs, and she met me at the door dancing in circles, barely able to contain herself. As soon as I sat down on the sofa, she jumped up with me, her long legs flailing as she tried to squeeze herself into a space much too small for her, and when she had finally got into a sustainable position, she dropped her head in my lap and let out a deep sigh of contentment.

So now that everything is calming down, it’s time for me to return to all the things that I’ve neglected in the last fortnight or so. Things like laundry and ironing. And reading non-doggy books. And thinking about non-doggy things. And, dear reader, blogging non-doggy posts (though seriously cute Judy and Coleridge pictures are admittedly far more engaging than many of my ill-considered under-developed thoughts).

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