Well, yesterday our world was turned around by the arrival of this little fella. Having baby-sat a similar model last week, and then having to deal with the family fallout/mourning after he had left us, I decided to take the plunge and get one myself. I have always had big dogs; German Shepherds, Labradors etc, but the rest of the family wanted something small and fluffy and so I managed to locate Archie, a Shiatsu/West Highland Terrier cross, who was looking for a new home. The reason given for his release into my incapable hands was that he could be snappy around children. Fine by me. We don’t let anything under five foot in our house because I can also be snappy around them too; it’s why I became a teacher.

Now young Archibald, or Itchy Balls as the least mature member of the family (me) has christened him, was hit by a car when he was young which has caused physical and psychological problems for him. His back leg was only just saved and consequently he has a bit of a Heather Mills McCartney gait, and understandably he is a bit nervous and jumpy due to the accident. When he arrived he looked to have made himself at home quite easily and was given the run of the house. However it soon became apparent that he is a serial itcher/chewer which at present I put down to anxiety, given this is the first time he has been away from his previous owner, and he is of course having to deal with me which most humans find difficult.

Overnight he was restless but finally settled and got a good four or five hours sleep. When I made my way downstairs in the morning, I did so in trepidation, fearing that he may have left me some sort of homecoming gift, but he hadn’t. Today he has been itchy and chewy still, but to a lesser degree and he seems to have become less nervous around the rest of the family. His first morning walk with us saw him happily jogging along until he seemed to decide that he didn’t want to go any further, and stubbornly refused to move in the direction I was pulling him. So back we went. I thought maybe the traffic was worrying him as he was quite jumpy, so I put him in the car and drove him to the local park. Once we got there I thought it might be an idea to let him off his lead. There were no other beings in sight, just as I like it, so I unclipped him from his lead and he suddenly seemed joyous at his new found freedom. He bounded down the park path stopping only to sniff at  few benches/bins/stray twigs before once more suddenly deciding he’d had enough. As I was calling him, he looked disdainfully at me, had a little sniff of the air and did a volte-face, trotting determinedly towards the car. which happened to be parked on the other side of the road. I did something that doesn’t come naturally to me, I panicked. I did so for two reasons, I didn’t want any harm to befall my new charge, and I also realised that this would mean a spectacle for any spectators, because they were about to witness a middle aged man running in sandals. Anyway, Archie, the little fucker, decided he wasn’t going to stop for me, so the spectacle was made even more ridiculous as I dispensed with my footwear and charged after him barefoot with sandals in hand. I caught him, clipped him back on his lead, and he simply looked at me as if to say “What was the panic for you fool?”

When I got him home I gave him water (guzzled) and food (untouched) before going out to the shops to get some tobacco (for me not him…I haven’t asked him if he smokes yet) because I envisaged this being a stressful day.

On my return he was nowhere to be seen, but he had kindly deposited a Matterhorn of shit on the rug in the middle of the living room… which is quite obviously why he was nowhere to be seen. After taking 30 minutes cleaning up the Matterhorn and it’s lesser Alps, washing the rug, putting it on the line, and telling Archie he was naughty, I made some breakfast. A couple of hours later the rain started to come down so I got the mostly dry rug off the line and put it back down in the living room. Archie walked in, took one look, and pissed all over it. He obviously doesn’t like it. Neither do I if I’m honest.


As you can see from the pictures, Archie is a flamboyant looking little dude, but his previous owner failed to tell me that he was also the Laurence Llewelyn Bowen of the dog interior design world.


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