A dogging holiday

May 5, 2008

For the first time in years, I’ve taken time off work, with the express intention of doing pretty much nothing. I have no holiday to go on, no major tasks, and absolutely no goals. Except, that is, to look after one of these…

the hound!

This is Wilbur, my new pedigree Basset hound puppy.

Yes, Wilbur is my only reason for taking any time off work, and I think he’s the best reason anyone could imagine for any annual leave. Wilbur is—quite simply—the most beautiful, loving, yet utterly terrifying animal I’ve ever seen. The Wilbur Switch has two settings; Hyperactive, and Asleep. Right now—of course—he’s asleep.

When Clair and I first set out buying a puppy, we soon decided that a Basset was the dog for us. They’re loving, trusting, pretty docile, and—let’s face it—pretty easy on the eye. To get in touch with him, we first contacted the Basset Hound Club, who put us in touch with a couple of proper breeders. This, by the way, is the route which I’d advise anyone wishing to get a dog—any pedigree dog—to take; speak to someone who knows an awful lot more about things than you do, and take their advice. We found a breeder who we liked—and who liked us—and got on the list of people earmarked for one of their beautiful litter. Eight fraught weeks and a couple of hundred miles on the clock later, what we have ended up with is a dog which has been brought up in a loving family environment, surrounded by its littermates, constantly handled by children, and pretty much house trained. Added to that, he’s spectacularly smart, and the only animal I’ve ever seen who can tread on its own ears.

To say that I’m captivated by him is an understatement. This captivation, however, is not without its price. I’m so eager to do everything right for the hound that it can get a bit overwhelming. I’ve never exactly been one of life’s worriers, but now that there’s this little, beautiful, precious life depending entirely on my actions, it does rather divest me of my laissez-faire predisposition. Yes, he’s had a few accidents indoors, but those can be attributed to my inexperience in reading his signs as much as they can to The Hound’s bladder. He’s scratching a bit, but with so much skin, and so little dog, that’s natural, isn’t it? How do I know he’s content, and not just crazy and anxious? Am I feeding him enough? Am I feeding him too much? Does he really like processed cheese, or is he just being polite?

I’m sure that the anxiety will wear off in time. After all, this is Wilbur’s first time, too.

If I’m painting a negative picture, it’s only of my own paranoia. Owning a puppy is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. If we treat him right—which we’re trying to do—what we get in return is utterly unconditional love, and to watch this unwieldy, clumsy, yet extremely smart little beast grow up into a full-size dog. On half-size legs…


2 Responses to “A dogging holiday”

  1. Dec Says:

    You’ve reached your nadir.

  2. Pete Says:

    I think you need to create your own trilogy i.e. 12&3

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