The chat is on already about holidays for this year and already the main thrust of the conversation is: Do we, or do we not, take the Hound.
Honestly, I’m undecided. I can see and appreciate both schools of thought (whining baxter versus no whining baxter), although to be honest-er still, I’m veering towards a big, fat no – especially after the recent Paddy’s Day excursion. Hail glorious, my back end.
“We can put on his green collar.”
“No, there’s his green doggy hat that we bought for him last year.”
It’s difficult not to be caught up in the swell of excitement generated when the Little Humans talk about taking Waffle away for the day and which is why, I eventually acquiesced to the Paddy’s Day excursion.
What was initially planned as a day out into one of our local towns to take in the parade, morphed into a day out at the Donegal seaside, a walk on the beach, a parade if possible and definitely some fried food.
“He’ll love the beach!”
“We can bring his ball and throw it into the sea.”
The issue with bringing Waffle – or any dog – anywhere for a day out, is that you have to make certain allowances. First, you have to figure in the spectre of travel-sickness, which invariably means bringing a towel, cleaning products and even withholding his breakfast. Second, any trip to the beach means ‘sand everywhere’ at the best of times, but with a dog it’s exponentially worse. That means, a second towel and a consequent deep clean for the car (and dog) upon the return home.
Then, there’s the cast-iron reality that come Paddy’s Day, we wouldn’t be able to bring the Hound into any fancy restaurant for lunch, or more to the point, any pub for a pint of Guinness.
“He could sleep under the table.”
“I could pretend I’m blind and he could be my guide dog.”
In the end, it was eventually agreed that His Hairyness could come with and I was repeatedly pleaded with not to be annoyed if he a). whines. b). barks at people. And c). be’s an arse.
It was also agreed that to counter the fact that we couldn’t take Waffle into any restaurant or pub (and no-one was going to pretend to be blind), we would enjoy a carry-out courtesy of a chipper.
Personally, I wasn’t sure how that would work; four people trying to eat their chips in the car with a hairy mess jumping round the place, flinging sand everywhere and whining his head off. However, I kept my own counsel.
Steeling myself for the journey as the family busied with prep for the trip (two towels, cleaning products, a flask of tea, custard creams and a small tub of doggy nuts for hound-related snacking), I resolved not to lose the head if and when the whining commenced.
Anyone who has been reading this garbled mess from time to time will already know but in the off-chance someone is reading this for the first time, I will explain.
Being a sensitive soul, aul Waff likes to whine. He does this when he is scared, excited, happy, anxious and even when he is sleeping.
Therefore, knowing that there would be a load of emotions on the go for a trip to the seaside, I was steeling myself like never before. I resolved to recognise and deal with any personal annoyance generated by the whining. I resolved to wrap it around me like a cloak. I resolved to delve deep into my boundless well of patience. I resolved to channel the spirit of Job (he of the whale’s mouth fame).
In the end, we made it as far as Pettigo before I snapped – although to my credit I had had to listen to a full half hour of constant whining before the well went dry, the cloak fell away in tatters and Job told me with a sigh that he had had enough.
I went from, “Gone be quiet wee Waff,” to “Please, Waffle, there’s nothing to be whining about,” and eventually I lost the rag and through gritted teeth I said, “Shut your fuppen face, dawg.”
Admonitions of this nature never work, I am sad to say. Waffle refrains from shutting his mouth, the Little Humans are annoyed and then I am bound by an ever-tightening girdle of guilt as a result of the snapping.
Miraculously, Herself then had a brainwave: Stick Waffle in the footwell and hope he clams up – and it worked! While there was still the odd whine rising out of the passenger side footwell, for the most part this tack worked like blinkers on a horse. Waffle couldn’t see anything, so there was nothing to whine about. Result!
My rising bonhomie lasted as long as it took for the Paddy’s Day day-trippers to arrive at Rossnowlagh beach.
While the strand wasn’t as chocked full of people as it would ordinarily be on a sunny day in July, there was a decent contingent of walkers strolling along, some with dogs, some without.
For his part, Waffle was perfectly behaved until the blinkers came off, he exited the car and noticed that there were other dogs in the vicinity. And then he was off, like the hairiest greyhound in existence.
One of my own pet hates is when a slobbering mutt arrives into my personal space and the owner suggests, “Don’t worry about him, he’s just a big softie.” I find this a tad presumptuous and also, patronising. I want to say but never do, “I don’t let my own dog sniff my butt so please take your bag of hairy hormones and put a lead on it.”
I therefore tend to keep a close eye on Waffle when we’re in a public setting.
In this case, on Paddy’s Day on Rossnowlagh beach and with what seemed liked hundreds of butts great and small for Waffle to sniff, there was no amount of shouting or whistling that would make the wee fecker come back to his so-called master.
“I’m gonna effin kill that baxter,” I thought but didn’t say. Opening my mouth, I smiled and once again through gritted teeth said, “It’s a grand day, isn’t it.”
… to be continued.
‘I resolved to recognise and deal with any personal annoyance generated by the whining. I resolved to wrap it around me like a cloak. I resolved to delve deep into my boundless well of patience. I resolved to channel the spirit of Job (he of the whale’s mouth fame)’
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