Life of Brian

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Meet Brian.

I don’t really do dogs.  There.  I’ve just lost more than half my readership, just like that.

It’s not that I don’t like them though.  I can think of few greater pleasures than a tramp over the hills on a cold and frosty morning with a cheerful dog bounding ahead, truffling around the undergrowth and enjoying all the sights and sounds and experiences of a fresh new day.

It’s just that hell can be not other people, but other people’s dogs.  You know the sort.  The ones that leap up and knock you sideways, muddying your nice clean jumper in the process.  They’re the ones whose owners smile indulgently. ‘He’s just being friendly’, they explain. These are the very dogs that may also try to lick your face.   Then there are the ones that are left alone and bark, bark, bark, as the dog-next-door in France did.  Or the ones that bare their teeth and frighten me half to death.  Or the smelly ones.

I think there’s a pattern here.  It’s not the dogs. It’s the owners.  And I seem to have raised three children who apparently think much the same as I do on the dog question.

And then, the other week, Daughter Number One announced they’d decided to get a dog.  Not just any dog.  But a puppy.  One that would  become a big (ish) dog. An active dog. A feisty dog. A dalmatian.  Ellie’s is a family of two busy working adults and ten-year-old twin sons with the sort of after-school schedule for which you need a very large calendar, and a smart phone that reminds you at frequent intervals who has to be where when, with whom, and wearing what kind of kit.

They did their research.  They chose and visited a breeder and looked at a litter of ten newly-born pups.  And they chose Brian.  He’s been living with them for ten days now.  This week, we went to stay,  and we met him.

We’re converted.  I’ve never in all my life been greeted with such enthusiasm as I was by Brian when I turned up in the kitchen the other morning to get some breakfast.  Look at this wagging tail.  I remind myself he’d probably have greeted a burglar with equal joy …. but still.

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Brian’s so pleased to see everyone in the morning.

He’s charmed us all.  But he’s not going to get away with simply being charming.  Right from day one, training began.  No leaping up on furniture.  No leaping up at people.  No shoe-savaging.  He learned immediately to ‘sit’ on command, and Alex’s first party trick was to teach him to shake a paw.  We’re all busy keeping him entertained in these slightly restrictive weeks when he can’t go out and about because he hasn’t had all his jabs yet.  But everyday pleasures are enough for this young chap.  There’s a garden to explore.  Rotting leaves and springy grass. Rustling dried-up autumn plants.  Tantalising glimpses of birds.  Misty-moisty autumn smells.  And there’s a whole tick-box in the training manual to worry about.  Checklist: he must meet a baby (no), children of various ages (tick), the elderly (tick), someone in glasses (tick), someone bearded (no), someone in uniform (no), and so on, and so on.

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Project Exhaust-a-pup bears fruit.

Dog-training proper starts next week.  And then before long he’ll be a dog-teenager.  And then an adult, prepared to offer many years of companionship and pleasure to Ellie & Co. and who knows?  Maybe to us too.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Life of Brian”

  1. Brian is a great name. We brought home our dog over five years ago. My wife is NOT a dog person. i don’t know what possessed her – but, she wrote the check. When she is out of town, Ivy sleeps on the bed nuzzled up to my leg. When my wife is home, Ivy sleeps elsewhere, but will sneak in every so often. Ivy is a wonderful dog and I pickup the poop and feed her and she belongs to the family. We are her pack. Sounds like your daughter made a great choice and you’ve converted, sort of. Enjoy.

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  2. Oh, you are such a softie!! Just one experience with a cute puppy turned you into a dog person! But he IS super cute and I suspect he’ll win the hearts of most everyone he meets, especially if he is well trained–no bad dogs, just bad owners! Your family sounds like the best of owners!

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  3. Always good to welcome another one to the dog owning fraternity. The family are right to lay such stress on socialising. Like children, well behaved dogs are much more acceptable. Even our less than perfectly behaved puppy reacts with disdain when we pass other dogs in the street which snarl and snap. The four of us are having a midweek weekend in Reims next week and at least two of us are really looking forward to it!

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  4. ha! you were very tolerant of Mortimer I have to say. But you are absolutely right about training. I was always a cat person, mainly because they are less needy and most dogs I knew were always ‘there’ and I can’t bear drooling. But from day one Andrew insisted that Morts was never at the table when we ate, never scrounged and did as he was told. The plus sides far out weigh the negatives – I have to walk twice a day and work cannot get in the way of this and it does us all so much good. We were new to the village and we certainly wouldn’t have as many friends now if we just had a cat. Now if he could only vacuum up his own dog hair he’d be perfect!

    I expect more photographs of Brian in the future!!!

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  5. We’ve never had a dog for similar reasons to yourself..we’ve had quite a lot of cats which I like very much. Our children and all the other members of our family have dogs and we often look after them…what I hate is dog shit and the fact that they seem to do so much of it. Cats hide theirs and are quietly affectionate! We have a friend, who lives nearby, with a beautiful fully grown Dalmatian, that goes by the name of Domino. Domino’s greeting is akin to be met by the All Black front row….just being friendly:)

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    1. Yup, I’m a ‘cat lady’. My daughter and co. are determined that Brian will never bowl anyone over, in a physical sense. Can’t vouch for the absence of dog shit, though.

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  6. Not surprised you’re a convert – Brian seems charming. Our sweet girl is named Ivy just like Clay’s and greets every day, returning person, walk or meal with the same enthusiasm as her first time.

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