I could swear my dog is psychic

2008-04-03 00:00

Pooch is the kingpin of our diabolical doggy brigade, which lends itself to us experiencing high-voltage mayhem in an otherwise serene sanctuary. He’s our precious, besotted, idiotic Staffie with mascara-lined brown soppy eyes that have the ability to make me melt. He gets away with murder and does unthinkable things, like sneak into our bed in the middle of the night. We wake up in the dark hours hanging 10 on either side of the bed, while Pooch has centre stage with his four paws skyward, airing his balls to the nocturnal world.

He’s a couch potato, not a rabbit hunter. Jock of the Bushveld would totally disown him. When we watch a movie on the box he gets the best seat.

I am going away and Pooch has smelt a rat. Okay, well there are a few suitcases around and some boxes that he’s tripping over in the passage. That may be a bit of a giveaway, but heck, I could swear that he’s psychic. I mean I do talk to my dogs a lot and I’m particularly inclined to ask Pooch advice about deep existential stuff, like — “What do you think, Pooch?” He’ll tilt his head to one side and give a nonsensical response. And that completely satisfies my need for a profound opinion.

I haven’t told him a thing — not even a hint or a whisper of what I have up my sleeve. I haven’t consulted with him one iota. But he’s assimilated it via osmosis. He just knows.

Tonight when I had my bath he came and sat at the side of bath, climbed up and doggie-groaned at me, as though to ask if he could jump in too. And he hates water. He has also taken to climbing into my bedroom cupboard and sitting on all my shoes, making them squashed and misshapen.

And as I write this, he is sitting on my feet. It’s like having the FBI trailing my every move. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has tapped my phone and has a far better knowledge of English than I have given him credit for.

We do make our lives difficult by being animal lovers. Besides the dogs, we have seven resident guinea fowl, two geese, two muscovies and two mallards. It means that every time we go anywhere we need animal sitters. This requires a page of instructions of who to feed what to, in what containers and at what venues, as each pet has acquired an impressive CV of eccentricities.

Life would be dull without them, but gosh there’s a down-side to getting attached to them all, particularly to Pooch.

The other canines, Gypsey, Paddy-Stix and Scallywag, seem oblivious of what’s going on. But Pooch … mmmh?

I am going far away for a while and I can’t take Pooch with me. That makes for a bitter-sweet sort of poignancy about our time left together. But big, inordinately clumsy Staffies don’t fit into suitcases and aren’t allowed on aeroplanes. He has surmised all that and is seriously miffed.

• Eve Hemming is a local educationalist.

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