Anyone for Dog?

Our daughters, those three who still live at home, want a dog, demand a dog, desire a dog in that order and we their parents are under pressure to oblige, though so far we have managed to resist. It began the day a couple of walkers chased a stray dog that had wandered away from his home around the corner into our backyard.

The girls then took care of this dog, a silky terrier whose name turns out to be Matty. They calmed his trembling form and took him inside, fed him cat food and generally nursed and petted him until we were able to take him down to the vet to attend to his wounds if any, and to locate his owners. I hoped he would have a microchip in his ear and that a simple x-ray would locate his identity. As it turned out the minute we walked into the vet’s, the receptionist told us that she believed she had already located Matty’s owner who had rung earlier that morning to report her missing dog and to inquire whether anyone had brought one in.

So we drove Matty home and talked to his heavily pregnant owner, Lucille who was so pleased to have her dog returned that she gave my daughter, the one who came with me to the vet, a large box of chocolates.

My daughters, at least the two youngest, were disappointed they could not keep Matty and even though Lucille had said they could borrow him at any time, even for a sleep over, the girls decided they must have their own terrier, or Jack Russell, or Beagle whatever. It had to be a small dog to match our small back yard. It had to be a non-yappy dog. And they will take care of it.

I write in the present tense, the story is not over yet. We neither have the dog nor have we finally totally and adamantly said ‘no’ to a dog. We, my husband and I, are waiting till the school holidays are over by which time interest might drop off.

If we had a dog I would probably soon love it. But I would also worry about it. It would add to my store of concerns. Our cats, I am sure, would not love a new dog, under any circumstances and much as my daughters would no doubt love the dog from the onset, I fear that their interest would last only as long as they were at home. The two older ones will leave home soon and the youngest will no doubt become preoccupied during her final two years at school. I shall be left to care for the dog, just as I cared for the multiple rabbits and guinea pigs and such like from the past.

Cats need little by way of care. They tend to fend for themselves but even they require regular attention, feeding, trips to the vet, protection from stray cats etc.

I do not want a dog, but keep posted. It may well be that in very little time, we will have one whether we, my husband and I, want it or not. Such is the power of persuasion, two power point presentations later and the persuasive force of at least two adolescent daughters with a little help from someone’s boyfriend, and lo and behold you have a siege of parents that is likely to end in adolescent victory.


I feel cheated when I cannot complete a freefall (a time spent writing freely writing whatever it is that comes into my head, a technique I learned from the wonderful Barbara Turner Vesselago – go on, Google her – I should provide the link here I know but I do not have the time) on holidays and weekends.

So for this day and tomorrow I shall suffer the frustration of missing out on my favorite morning activity. It is like early morning music practice, the glide of my hands over the keys. I cannot correct errors as I go and as a consequence the sequence of my thoughts are almost as first produced, the thoughts that spring to mind as I sit here contemplating what next to write.

But the thoughts that spring into my mind must surely be different from the thoughts that spring to mind in ordinary states of quietude, when I am mulling over events and feelings.

When I write I receive my thoughts slowly, to allow enough time for my fingers to keep up and somehow therefore I think I must censor them. I must censor these thoughts in so far as I want them to fit into a logical pattern of sentences and meaning. When I daydream I suspect I do not bother with such neat constructions, I just let my thoughts take me where ever they want to go. And because I know the thoughts will not enter the light of day, unless I’m rehearsing a speech or something I want to share with someone else, then I know they will remain safe with me. I need not polish them too heartily. But when I write I check myself, however lightly. Like now, behind these written thoughts there are others unwritten, like the order to myself to get rid of those adverbs, ‘lightly’ and ‘heartily’. There’s no room for adverbs here. While in daily thought and when speaking there’s plenty of room for adverbs. I do not try to abolish them.

This line of thought is drying up, my cup of coffee is nearly drained and I have so many jobs to do that soon I will stop this freefall, get dressed and go into the crowds at the Camberwell market to buy the odd Easter egg for an Easter egg hunt tomorrow, to buy wine for tonight’s dinner to celebrate my brother’s birthday tomorrow and to buy ingredients for the dessert we are to provide. My daughters will make it, a type of crème brulee, chosen to accommodate my sister in law’s celiacs, a condition that means she cannot tolerate gluten. Therefore no cakes, unless they’re flour free.

I wish I could stay at home and send the others on without me. I wish I could be like one of my writing companions who takes herself off for days on end to write. An independent means, a husband who supports her, children grown, she has the space I lack. So I must make do with the little scraps of time I can find between my commitment to my work, to my children to my husband, house and home and play away on this clickety clack computer in the morning spaces in between.