The British Gas Plumber

“Must admit, I’m not a great dog lover, me. And you get them…they kind of come up to me and sniff me knees. You know what I mean? They sniff me knees, but once one dog’s sniffed me knees, other dogs can smell that dog on my overalls and they all want to sniff me knees. I got a cat at home. That probably doesn’t help either, as the dogs can probably smell the cat too.  So I tend to shoo em away, like. You know, shake me legs a bit. But one man got a bit uppity when I did that. He was like “My dog wouldn’t hurt anyone!”, but these days, you don’t really know that. A lot of dogs that shouldn’t hurt people do hurt them. So I try to keep away from them… Yeah.. Just the one sugar thank you.”

Stan, glaucoma and the car key

Stan became blind in one eye this week. Suddenly. Well pretty much overnight really. Some sort of inherited Jack Russell glaucoma. After a couple of days on emergency drops to try and rescue the damaged eye, but also reduce the pressure in his other eye, I took him back to the eye vet in a nearby town at lunchtime.

We arrived 10 minutes early, so I took him to a nearby park for a walk. He’s obsessive about having sticks thrown for him, so I wandered around a bit, chucking a stick for him.  There was only one other person on the other side of the park. Walking up and down, in a weird way, looking at the ground. Occasionally he or she seemed to be picking something up. They didn’t have a dog or anything, so it was a bit odd. We kept our distance.

Half an hour later, the vet recommended an injection to the back of the eye to deaden it, and Stan was led off, tail wagging, to surgery.

I went out to the car park, without a waggy tail. Only to find out I’d lost the car key.

“Fuckingshittosswank.” It was freezing and I couldn’t work out where it could be. I decided to retrace my steps to the park and started walking along slowly, scanning the grass carefully.

“What do you think she’s doing?” I heard a girl say. I turned round to see a couple with a dog, looking at me as if I was mad.  I started to explain but they walked carefully away from me.

Postscript: I eventually found the car key near the goal post. I shouted to the couple but they pretended they didn’t hear me.

PPS: Rich and LB have gone to collect Stan.

PPS: Stan is home, very cheerful and chirpy 🙂

Breakfast scrap

Family breakfast this morning to celebrate Rosie returning to Manchester. Regular readers will be relieved to know I’ve not blubbed (yet), unlike the first time.  LB is currently obsessed with scrap. This obsession began yesterday evening when his new carer, Kevin, took him bowling in his car.  His old car. LB got in the car, asked Kevin what kind of car it was – a Ford Focus – and why it wasn’t in the scrapyard. [Shudder] Within half an hour of getting back, a scrapyard was set up in his bedroom and the rest of evening, and a lot of the night, was spent dropping buses and lorries from some height. And talking about scrapyards.

So, back to breakfast, before the toast was even out of the toaster;

“What’s a scapyard, Mum?”
“You know what a scrapyard is, LB. Don’t ask me what it is.”
“What’s a scrapyard, Richy?”
“My friend’s sister’s hamster, Scrap, died,” interjected Tom.
“Awww,” we chorused.
“She’s got another one already.”
“Scrap 2?” asked Rosie.
“More Scrap?” I suggested.
“MINI SCRAP!” said LB, unusually animated for him.
“Mini scrap..” Richy chuckled.
“It’s called Squeak,” said Tom.
“What’s mini scrap, Richy?”

LB and Stan

Well this is a biggy. And will make all you dog lovers feel warm and fluffy.  Stan hasn’t featured much in this blog so far (though his paws play a starring role).  Stan is the treasured member of our family.  He is a little bit of a chunky, doting, loyal Jack Russell who likes nothing more than hanging out with us.

After a shaky start – he was Richy’s 40th birthday pressie without us realising how much Richy did not like JR dogs, but lets not dwell on that – he has become a central character. Everyone loves Stan.  Not least, LB.

LB has an unusual relationship with Stan. Though maybe typical for dudes like LB.  LB will confide in Stan, discuss his day with Stan and seek Stan out more than anyone else. If we ask LB about his day at school, or elsewhere, he will disclose nothing. If we say that “Stan wants to know…..”, LB settles down with him and retells his day in detail. Using the voice he always uses when interacting with Stan.  LB’s ‘Stan’s voice’ is a bit of a mystery given how good he is generally at impersonating people. It’s a sort of high pitched, slightly sing song voice, that has stayed the same for many years.

LB loves Stan without question. Stan, on his part, is remarkably tolerant of  LB. Patiently listening to his chatter, sitting with him when he plays with his football guys (with his carefully arranged Playmobile crowd), putting up with some awkward handling.  Funnily enough, LB doesn’t engage with Bess at all. He has got a ‘Bess voice’ when pushed (much squeakier and higher) but he has no real engagement with her. He is a one dog dude.

There are some (schmulzy) books written about how autistic kids’ lives have been transformed through their relationships with their pet dog.  I don’t subscribe to a rescue/cure discourse at all, but there is definitely something remarkable about LB’s relationship with Stan, and the window it offers us into his life.

His literal (intolerant?) side remains constant though. His two most consistent Stan related questions are;

“Mum, is Stan fat, Mum?”
“Has Stan got a small head, Mum?”

I’m ain’t saying anything.

Stan and the Peepy Thing

Since Stan was a pup, a peepy thing in our garden has driven him crazy at different times of the year.  He scrabbles to get out of the back door, charges the few metres to the end of the garden and barks furiously, looking up at the overhanging bushes and trees.

“Peep peep. Peep peep.”

RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF [I’ll get ya Peepy Thing!] RUFF RUFF RUFF!!!!”

“Peep peep. Peep peep. [You’ll never get me, short arse] Peep peep. Peep peep.”

RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF [I’ll get ya and I’ll eat you for my dinner!] RUFF RUFF!!!.”

“Peep peep. Peep peep. [Go away corgi features] Peep peep.”

It drives us mad too. The combination of peeping and barking is relentless.

PEEPY THING!” someone shouts, “Get Stan back in!”  And whoever is nearest (or doesn’t manage to successfully feign ‘ensconsed in very important task’), has to go and persuade Stan to forget about his vendetta and come back in doors.

I’ve noticed, recently, that the dynamics are changing between Stan and Peepy Thing.  He still scrabbles to get out the back door and charges to the end of the garden. But there is a note of pathos in his bark.

Ruff ruff ruff ruff.

“Peep peep. Peep peep. [Get lost loser dog!] Peep peep.”

“Ruff. Ruff. Ruff. [Do I really look like a corgi?] Ruff.”

“Peep peep. Peep peep. [Stop interrupting my peeping with your pathetic needy barking] Peep peep.”

It’s easier to persuade Stan back in now. And he usually goes and hides somewhere for a bit.

The cone of shame

Another photo-blog. This time, open day at the Dog’s Trust.  Quite interesting, as with the Museum of Weddingkind, when you start to think about what is going on here.  Anyway, it seemed the whole of the middle of England converged on the open day.  Ferret racing, dog competitions, burgers, ice creams, tombola’s, dog food and a tour of the available dogs was on offer.  I was struck by how many dogs were wearing cones. I wondered if it was a ploy to crank up the ‘ahh factor’. It was certainly working judging by the chorus of ‘ahhh’s’ at each new cage.  Funny how Brits go crazy for a wounded animal but treat so many people like shite.