It’s any old Wednesday in March. Dad is still working from home. I got up at the back of 10, had a good sleep but was woken once with the smell of vampire dogs, I got mum and dad up encase they got in the house. I woke them with soft growls so not to alert the vampire dogs I was on to them. Mum and dad checked the house we were safe. This morning I woke up curled in a ball in the middle of the bed all cosy wrapped up in the duvet. I have the whole bed to myself because mum is away to work and dad is downstairs working on the computer. I know dad is in because the TV is speaking. When dad is out it’s the radio that sings. My life is full of rituals.
Every morning my first ritual is the “out of bed go down stairs ritual”. Big stretch and jump off the bed onto the carpet. Another stretch big yawn time to face the world. Patter patter patter patter patter down stairs like a white torpedo into the living room.
Dad is sitting on the couch with his computer on his lap wearing his reading glasses held together with tape. I nudged his leg with my nose he put his computer aside took off his glasses and we went through our good morning ritual.
He says “good morning poppy!” I fold my ears back and wag my tail between my legs. He claps my head and gives me a wee scratch on my head and chin, I shift my bum towards his leg and he scratches my lower back and bum. I look at him cock my head he says ok and we go to the kitchen. I nudge the dog flap with my nose, its open, good. I here dad getting my harness and lead, I better have some breakfast and a drink, we might not make it back.
This is time for the harness ritual dad comes to me with harness, I back away. He comes to me with harness again, I sniff the straps and back a way. He says “Poppy Osprey you get in here right now!”, I put my head in the harness, he puts on lead and I go to top of stairs.
Dad has his own rituals, once the harness is on he puts on his jacket then he checks all of his pockets. He then goes to back door to get poo bags. He starts to walk down stares turns back and gets his pipe. He then checks his pockets again. He walks down to the 5th step comes back up and gets keys. He walks down the stairs changes his shoes puts the door on the latch “belts and braces” he mutters opens the door and says “come on Poppy”.
I shoot down the stairs into the vestibule and jump at the main door handle. Dad picks up my lead opens the door and I drag him to the outside world.
Morning walks always follow the same path. Out the gate look right down the street turn left and go Chrissie’s house next door and have a pee on the pavement or road, I like to mix it up. Sniff the wall and the hedges past the cars and vans that are bumped up on the pavement until Pebbles the greyhound’s house and cross the road. Sniff the gate at number 15, check over my shoulder sniff the lamp post on to Bernhard the miniature schnauzer gate, sniff both sides of the gate look over my shoulder. What dad just doesn’t get from here to the top of the street is sent heaven, almost every inch is full of messages from all the dogs in the neighbourhood. I’m a Westie it’s my job to sniff…..everything! We go past Rosie the greyhound’s house to my poo spot check over my shoulder good to go.
As dad is doing the bagging we meet the hippy neighbour that looks like a Viking. He has a collie I can smell her, but I have never met her. He works from home too. He supplies shops in South Africa with British clothing brands. Their winter follows ours, so when Britain is selling its winter stock cheaply as summer is coming South Africa needs winter stock so buy at full price.
I see a dog I have never met before coming down the street. Time to get invisible. I lie down flat and wait to pounce. Somehow this dog can see me, dad says it’s because I’m bright white. Why did you give me a bath last night dad? We cross our street to the corner then cross to the shops at Langside Place, dad puts the poo bag in the bin and we cross the zebra crossings back to the block past my big boyfriend Ziggy’s House. I look into the path, no Ziggy. I’m not too keen on this part of the morning walk so we move toot suite to the corner. I use to pull dad down this hill but since his injury we move at a slower pace. We get to our bin lane,look over my shoulder, check the lane for evidence of vampire dogs and down to the corner. At the corner I always look across to the school, no vampire dogs. Final sniff at the last lamppost look over my shoulder and back to my gate.
The walk always ends the same, I go up the first three steps. Turn and look at dad as he shuts the gate and takes my lead off. He flicks his fingers and I do a four legged jump up into the garden. Dad likes it when I do this, sometimes I jump down again so we can do it again just to cheer dad up. Next get a clap from dad, check the front garden, and go to door get harness off upstairs for breakfast.
After breakfast dad is usually back on the laptop. I come in give him a nudge get a clap. When he has his glasses on he is working so I cross the living room use my seat to jump onto the window sill and guard the street. Dad calls the window sill Poppy’s TV. It is a quiet day so I jump down and go for a snooze on the carpet as dad works on his computer. After a while I decide dad has been working too much. So I jump on the couch and paw and lick dad. He eventually has to stop because he can’t work when I’m licking his glasses! Lunch Time.
At lunch time dad plays draggies on the rug with me. How draggies works is: I face dad on rug, I put my front paws flat in front of me and stick my bum in the air. This lets dad know I want to play. I then play snap it him, if he snaps back then its playtime!
I go get hedgy the long draught excluder, hedgy is more than twice the length on me! I drag hedgy to dad and bite hedgy on the neck. Dad grabs hedgy by the tale and pulls me round and round in circles on the rug. I keep my front paws up off the rug leaving my back legs trailing behind, it’s the bestis game in the world ever! FACT!
When dad has his lunch I try to get a bite but because I have itchies dad doesn’t give me any anymore. Instead dad always has a mini bite on his plate and if I’m good I get it at the end. Ha, if I’m good!
After lunch I go to the window and wait for grandpa to come dad works on his computer. Grampa is at the gate, grampa comes up the stairs, grampa opens the door and I jump off the window ledge to meet him in the stairs, Earsys back tail wagging hiya Grampa! Not seen you since yesterday! “Hiya Poppy let’s get you ready where’s your lead?” Grampa gets the lead and sits on the other couch. I know when grampa comes he always has something for me. “what you looking for Poppy?” I give grampa my paw to shake, Grampa knows how to speak Poppy and gets something out of his pocket. What is it grampa? Mini bite? Jumbone? Grampa throes a chopped bit of carrot on to the rug. Carrot yum, the best bit about carrots is you can play with them before you munch them.
Grampa gets the lead and we play the lead game, I always let grampa put it on after the third go. The afternoon walk with grampa was the normal afternoon walk, short lead out of the gate and turn right. When we get to the corner we turn right again and up the hill to the main road. We use to go the quiet way but grampa gets annoyed when I sniff every blade of grass, he says having to drag me down that street damaged his shoulder so we don’t go that way anymore. At the bottom of the main road is the River Run. It’s a path that goes beside the White Cart River. Grampa lets me off lead and I get to play ball. We have to be careful of The White Cart because it eats balls, it’s eaten too many of my balls. At the end of the path I jump up onto a wall and wait for grandpa. I make it easy for him to put on lead. From there we go by the school up the hill past Betsy our motorhome and back to the house. Grandpa doesn’t do the back to the house ritual.
When we get back dad plays with me after he gets grandpa a coffee. Then it’s time to snooze. When grampa goes I jump up on the window sill and say goodbye to him. I watch him go up the road till he is out of sight jump down on to the rug and go for a nap. Today the TV played the bad advert. As soon as I heard the music I woke with a start. I saw the two wee girls on their tricycle. I was ready grrrrrrrrrr they got there ice cream and then……….Aoooooooolllll grrrrrrrrrrrruuufff gruff wwwwoof woof woof woof woof …. the bad TV brought the dog with the sun glasses into my living room, AGAIN! grrrrruf.. I charged the dog barked at it and lunged at it, woof grrrrrrrooof, soon it was running away. The only dog in this living room is me! Chasing the dog away took it out of me, better have a wee rest.
Dad took his glasses of and put his computer to the side, I get up and run over to him. He gets up. He will be going o he kitchen he is going to let me out the back! Dad opens the big silver cold cupboard and gets a bottle of white and puts it on the shelf. I make a whine look at dad then the door. Dad moves to the kettle, mmm I know, I jump at dad with my front paws wine and go to dog flap and nudge it with my nose. “Poppy it’s open”, dad comes over opens the flap and says “its open go” I bark and bark I hold the step in my teeth and shake it. “Poppy it’s open go”, I nudge the flap have a sniff whine and look at dad. He just does not get it. Dad I want you to open the big door move the barrier and watch me patrol the garden so you know I have done it properly. Eventually he gets the keys, I’m so excited I bark my special high pitch barks, dad shouts “enough! Poppy enough!”, he points to a mat, I sit and whine on the mat, I bark at him , dad hurry hurry. He opens the door I see it opening I have got to go, “Poppy Stay” he says in his stern voice, the one he uses when I’m in trouble. I start to shake I have got to get out there. Slowly the barrier moves, I can’t help myself I have got to get to the garden I bolt forward, dad makes me go all the way back and tells me to sit. Dad Let Me Out! I whimper and whine. After an age he flicks his fingers and says “Poppy Go!” I’m off my claws scrambling for grip, every forward lunge countered with the kitchen rug being catapulted in the opposite direction. Like a white missile I zoom past dad patter patter patter patter down the metal stairs, leap to the ground, a flash of white across the green, one corner of the garden, its safe, whoosh gown the concrete path, check, its ok, flash across the grass again, up the wooden stairs at the bottom of the garden check the decking, sniff the whole area, back to the fence and warn the world I’m back, gruff gruff ruff ruff ruff ruff auwooool au au au auwoooooooool. Time to do a proper inspection of the surrounds. Vampire dogs were here but they are long gone. All is good back up the stairs to my step and survey my domain.
It’s quiet, everything is well with the world back through the flap, into the living room curl up and snooze to day time TV. Half asleep I hear the sound of mini’s engine coming down the street, that only means one thing, Mums home. I jump onto the window sill and see her getting out of mini, I wait till she opens the front door jump off and go down the stairs to meet her, lots and lots of kisses for mum, I let her get up stairs and give her some more kisses.
I stick to mum like a shadow as she tries to get out of her work wear. Back in the living room over to mum for pets. I’m now happy the pack is together. Dad puts his computer away and puts the lights on in the living room. Mum gets her computer and does e-mails. I jump up on the couch and lay beside her and half watch TV.
Dinner time comes, I go to the kitchen. Being a smart Westie I know that when pasta gets made cheese gets grated. When cheese gets grated some of it hits the floor. I stick like glue to whoever is at the worktop, I have to be carefull because mum and dad sometimes don’t know I’m there, you would think they would learn. My persistence pays off cheese!!!!!!
Mum changes my water and puts down my dinner yum. I finished before mum and dad even got theirs, dad went to the tin and brought out some yummy tasty goodness, denti stick. I love denti stick. He put denti stick into Kong. I can smell it I follow him through to living room. I will do anything for a denti stick and I want one now. I sat nice, gave dad one paw then the next, lay down and rolled over before dad could even say shake. What could he do he had to give it to me.
After dinner I watched tv on my cushion in front of the fire, mum closed the curtains because she didn’t want me to see the vampire dogs. I get up every so often when mum and dad go to the kitchen look at them look at the dog flap until mum says “it’s time for lockdown Poppy, all done” this means the dog flap gets locked and my step gets moved to block it off. Back through to living room, I jump up on the couch and curl up on mums cushion. When mum comes back she tells me to move reluctantly I get up and move over to dad. It’s not fair, mum has the bestis seat she should share.
When mum goes to bed it time for my night time patrol. Dad gets harness and lead puts on his coat, we are off. I bound down the stairs jump at the door, Dad gets a good grip of the lead and I pull him to the gate, Vampire Dogs are near! Out on the street I scan the road to the school. I can’t see them. I catch their sent, it stinks. I pull dad up the street nose to the ground claws scraping in the tarmac. Sniff, sniff, sniff Not here, they went this way onwards. I leave a few markers and follow the trail. At the top of the street the trail goes cold. We go round the block to get behind them. Coming down the hill they have passed by the bin lane, down to the corner I know they are there. I scan the street but they are being sly old vampire dogs. Dad pulls me back to the house. I check the garden and go up the stairs.
After dad gets his coat off he says “Bedtime”. Bedtime is good all the sniffing and hunting has made me tired. He starts to go up the wooden hill I follow. The best bit about bed time is it’s also supper time. I jump onto the bed and mum always gives me three cheesy nibbles, YUM. Mum switches the light off and curl up on the duvet and drift off to sleeps, sometimes to dreams.