Sunday, 30 May 2010
I have a new Pooch - Harvey a mini Dachshund
They say you're either a cat or a dog person, well I am a dog person wanting one from the age of 9 but never actually getting one until I was 28
As a child I would fish for newts and frogs in swamps and keep them in empty large margarine tubs.
I would collect frog spawn and tadpoles in the hope that the tadpoles would magically turn into tiny perfect frogs. They never did.
At the age of about 7 I went to the Blackpool Illuminations with my family and was fascinated with the Mexican Jumping Beans they sold on the pear.
A man had a load of them "jumping" in a tray strapped around his neck as he tilted the tray back and forth to make the beans "jump"
I bought two and was curious how they moved like that.
My Mum told me that little mexican fleas lived inside the plastic pill type encasements and it was these jumping fleas that made the beans move in the manner they did.
She also added that I wasn't to open the pills or the fleas would jump away and I wouldn't get them back.
It took 3 days before curiosity and fear of them starving got the better of me and I took them both to the privacy of my bedroom and carefully twisted the 2 halves of the plastic shell open holding them in a cardboard box so the fleas couldn't jump away.
The disappointment I felt was tangible as a tiny metal ball bearing dropped out and into the cardboard
box bouncing twice and rolling into the corner.
Of course, I know now that there are actually real Mexican Jumping Beans but they weren't sold in "Sunny Blackpool" that's for sure!
After that, I had a cold water fish tank of 8 Gold fish.
Once a year a fairground attraction would come to the local town of Blackburn and you could very easily win goldfish in bags on the "hook a duck" fair ground game.
After winning 2 and releasing them into my big tank within a week they developed some kind of fungus that grew on their bodies. Once that fungus grew over the gills they died.
Each morning I would run downstairs to see if the treatment we had put in the water was having an effect only to find one morning a dying fish swimming at the surface of the water, upside down and gasping for oxygen.
I was crying and scared so I fished it out of the water and gently laid it down on the table and tried to scrape the fungus off with a dinner knife. Obviously, it died.
In my teens, I sneaked into the biology lab at school and stuck my hand into the cage full of wild mice which where there for "experiments"
Rummaging around blindly and being nipped and bitten by over 10 wild mice I grabbed the soft warm body of one and pulled it out to inspect it just long enough to discover my new pet was black, then I gently put him in my satchel and ran home.
The excitement I felt running home that day was wonderful and I decided to call him Mickey, as in Mickey mouse (lol)
At last, I had a real warm furry pet I could call my own and I placed him in a shoe box with tissue paper for a bed and fed him a lump of cheese before I slid the box under my bed so my parents wouldn't find him.
I would take him out when the house was empty and one night I let him explore the window sill as I made myself a sandwich. When I came back he had chewed a huge hole in the curtains so I re arranged them hoping my Mum wouldn't notice and kept him hidden in my room for days.
My Mum did notice and I just played dumb when she asked me why there was a 3 inch hole in the bottom of her curtains.
The shit hit the fan one night when my parents returned home from a night out.
I had let Mickey out as usual in their absence and he ran up and down the chair arm, my Dads chair arm.
I watched Dad as he sat there chatting slightly merry with ale, absent mindedly rolling mouse shit between his forefinger and thumb.
I tried to distract him to dust the poo pellets away but needless to say he eventually picked one up to examine it as he went over to turn the main light on and then declared:
"This is bloody mouse shit!"
They knew instantly it was down to me and after 20 minutes of giving me the opportunity to confess, he went to my room and dragged out the shoe box with the now 3 mice I had accumulated over the weeks.
They didn't make me get rid of them, instead they told me they had to live outside in proper wooden mice houses and the rules were I had to clean their boxes out and be responsible in feeding them etc.
I think they thought if I was forced to do all of the work that came with owning any pet, I would soon get bored.
Long story short, they bred and bred fast and we had little bundles of pink piglet like baby mice appearing almost every month.
The whole affair got out of hand so I then had to use my spending money to share the rent on a local garage and kept them there along with my friends rabbits.
Those same rabbits bit me tearing a huge 2 inch of flesh off my hand which still leaves a scar today.
I have also been bitten by a wild horse and chased by a herd of cows which had me cornered behind some barbed wire throwing stones at them and shouting "shoooo!" so I could get home. It took hours!
To this day I don't like walking in the middle of an open field full of cows or horses. They can sense your fear!
At 28 I got my first dog, a Basset hound called Bessie from a rescue centre.
Three years later we got another Basset called Boris, again from a rescue centre.
Bessie lived to be 17 years old but Boris was only with us for three years.
He had been found dumped in a hole up the moors in Leeds. A walker had heard him barking from the bottom of a 6 foot pit and rang the RSPCA.
He was 1 week away from death and nothing but ribs and huge paws.
He had never been loved or lived in a house and we suspected he had been used by a breeder as a stud dog. He only had one testicle too which was probably why the breeder dumped him.
Due to the crappy standard of health he had, he was a troubled dog with constant rashes on his tummy and he never managed to put much weight on. He was always a "ribby" hound.
One day I woke up and found his tummy was all swollen up like a balloon. The swelling did go pretty quick but then his back legs started to fail possibly due to the pressure from his swollen stomach on a nerve in his spine.
We rang the vets who came out to see him and gave him an injection and advised us if he didn't get up and walk in the next 24 hours he would never walk and we would need to put him to sleep.
He wasn't in any pain but because he couldn't walk he would whine and whimper when he needed to urinate, all we could do was lay a blanket under him and assure him it was OK to "let it go" and he did, soaking the blanket on which he lead.
I couldn't bear to watch him suffering and went to bed hoping he would be OK in the morning, my then partner stayed up with him all night and slept beside him.
By morning there was no change so we had to carry him on a bed sheet to the vets to have him put to sleep.
I won't go into the whole affair but after leaving him snoring on the floor in the vets (who had given him a shot of Valium to calm him) we just sat in the car outside both crying our hearts out in grief.
It wasn't fair. He only had 3 good years out of his short life.
So, lol lets lift the mood a little eh? I have a new pooch and I adore him. He's like my baby and unlike previous dogs I have owned, he's small enough to cuddle on the sofa and he gets spoilt rotten with love.
It's been 2 years since I had a dog and I didn't miss the extra house work and cleaning the poo up out of the yard, but there's something missing in my life when I don't have a dog. My dogs are my family I suppose.
I have always been more maternal to animals than babies and even as a child I had no interest in baby dolls preferring the more womanly dolls like Cindy or Pippa.
I have no maternal instinct for babies at all in fact if I am honest, I don't feel comfortable around them.
I don't "get" them.
But show me a cute mutt and I am on my knees all "cooing and kissing" lol