Hi guys, I thought it was about time I introduced myself properly, being a well brought up sort of chap. It’s really not my style this sort of casual ‘Hi’ as a greeting, I’d like to shake your hand with a good old fashioned ‘How do you do?’ but of course social distancing and all that means it’s out of the question. So I’ve resorted to paper. If I can’t meet you in person the least I can do is present myself formally! Gosh I sound like a stuck-up old man, I’m not, I promise, but I do like to do things the right way. Actually no, scrub all of that – I like to do things MY WAY!
So I’ll take you back to the beginning, or at least as far back as I can remember. I’ve never been anywhere else, and from the moment I opened my eyes and starting seeing little bits of life around me I’ve been in this house, safe and warm with my mummy and my human family. I was one of seven puppies, and apparently I was number two to be born. I’m on the far right in the picture below….you can see my Pixel!
We lived in a wonderful warm cosy space and over the weeks I managed to wriggle and worm myself into everyone’s hearts to take pole position in the contest of who would remain.
I don’t remember much about my first outing, it was to the vets, but I sure as hell remember my second. We, that’s my brothers and sisters and I, were all bundled into two boxes and put in the back of the car. Along the short journey one of us vomited, it wasn’t me I hasten to add, but the smell irritated me so much so that when we arrived at our destination I was already in a very bad mood.
We were taken into a room that smelled of that bleach stuff, the exact smell from home when they cleaned out our puppy pen. It should have been comforting to have a scent I recognised but it wasn’t, instead it invoked a certain panic in me, I just knew this wasn’t going to be a fun trip. One by one we were picked out of the box and then as each of my siblings was returned, they had tears in their eyes and their white fur was tinged with red, blood. This was NOT good. Sometimes there was a cry and a whimper and then it was my turn. “Stiff upper lip, I won’t cry” I told myself, tense as a board. “Ouch, bloody hell what was that”. “Y.. O.. U.. C.. H..” I screamed, what has happened, that hurt soooo much. Within minutes I was back in the box with the others, feeling stunned and angry. They just hurt me. The ride home was a bit of a blur, but boy was I glad to see our little puppy pen once more and the family reassuringly in the kitchen, everything just as it should be.
Life then continued much the same as normal, we were outside for plenty of hours during the day, the garden was the very best place to play, there were crunchy leaves to catch and best of all all sorts of things growing at perfect height ready to pull and chew and tear at. I got told off more times than I can remember for biting into something that I was not allowed to. It seemed everything was out of bounds, “NO” was a word I heard far too often.
Slowly one by one our numbers dwindled, Mum was with us less and less and I missed her, she snapped at us if we tried to drink some milk and seemed to be in a permanent bad mood. Life was changing I could sense it, but on the upside I seemed to be cuddled far more than I used to be, I was frequently in the kitchen, running around everyone’s feet and getting in the way. I quickly learnt that doing a wee in the middle of the floor was not a good idea, the screeches that followed and the ‘clean up’ operation was huge, anyone would think I’d vomited all over the floor instead of just a perfect little puddle. But no, it took plenty of wiping up and cleaning. I realised it was much better to hold it in and only do it when I went outside, for some strange reason I could pee wherever I wanted out there, right on the grass in front of everyone and I got praised and patted and told I was brilliant. I’ll never understand these humans but if that’s what worked for them then I was happy enough to go along with it. Anything to keep my place as top dog.
Before long I was the only puppy left. The others had all disappeared, one by one a stranger came to the house and took them away, my siblings all gone. I missed them terribly but I got Mummy all to myself and so long as I didn’t try to drink any milk she was back to her old self, the snarls had been replaced by smiles. She even wanted to play with me round and round the garden, in fact it was all pretty damn good.
I didn’t enjoy sleeping on my own in the kitchen too much but they made me a really special wool pillow which they all cooed over, so it must have been ok and boy it was comfy.
Then one day I found myself in the car again, this time I was at least on someone’s lap and not in a box but I knew this was going to be bad. Once again we arrived at the bleach smelling place and I started to shiver. My tail went down and I sulked, eyes scanning everyone in case they came near me. Suddenly my name was called and I was carried into a special room. I stood hunched up on the table, as close as I could to the family as possible. The man in the white coat came towards me and tried to stick something in my ear, I growled, “Get off you, don’t come and touch me,”. But they just held me tighter and there “Wham, it happened again, that prick of pain!”. But this time it wasn’t so long or so bad, in fact it was almost ok, quite bearable. Another person came in wearing a white coat, a lady this time and started to approach me. Uh Oh, was that just for starters, was this the thing that was now going to really make me scream with pain? I tensed up nervously as she came towards me and I snapped at her. That was apparently not the right thing to do. She was going to give me a biscuit for being a good boy, but I heard her saying she couldn’t reward that sort of behaviour and so the biscuit was taken away. I was left salivating and feeling even more grumpy and sorry for myself.
Then I was home and suddenly everything changed, they attached a harness type thing to me and I got to go outside the big green gates. I went walking with the other dogs, Oh my goodness there was a whole other world out there. Strange and exciting smells, other dogs too and different animals; suddenly I realised there was so much more to life, this was soooo much fun. I no longer missed the others, I had mummy and then there’s Bentley; he’s a lot older and a bit slow, and occasionally a bit crotchety if I disturb him. But he’s one of us, a Jack Russell like me and he’s like a lovely grandad only he’s not my grandad, more’s the pity. I’m growing too, I’m bigger than my mum and I can even run faster than her.
The car is now exciting, we go to good places, and I’ve realised there’s no need to be scared. Or at least I had. Then about three weeks ago I was taken once more to that white bleach-smelling place. Only this time no one hurt me but no one stayed with me either. They just handed me over and they’d forgotten to give me breakfast before we left home, my tummy rumbled and I was hungry and I was trying very hard not to cry. I knew if I was good this time I’d get the biscuit and I needed that as they’d forgotten to feed me. So I didn’t growl or snarl, I was a big boy now, I was brave. Even when I felt that tiny prick from the needle, but then I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember them giving me something to nibble on. I don’t remember anything, except I was suddenly being given back to the family with this plastic thing around my head and really sore private parts that felt as if they were on fire.
This went on for a couple of days at home, just a little discomfort but I was fed and given something to numb the pain. The only problem was I couldn’t scratch that itch, I couldn’t do a damn thing with this Cone of Shame (as they called it) around my neck like a noose. For two weeks I had to suffer the indignity of going around looking like this. I banged into chair legs and if I hurried out of a door too quickly forgetting the extra width of the plastic thing around my head, the cone would hit the side of a door sending my head spinning around and stopping me in my tracks. I hated it, every minute of it, I know I looked so stupid, but like everything else it came to an end and suddenly I was free again, I raced up and down the garden with my Mummy loving the freedom. I didn’t feel any different, in fact I felt great. Then I heard talk once more of a trip to what I had now learned was something called the VET, a word I now dreaded with all my heart, nothing that contained that word was ever going to be good. I heard them discussing it together and then I saw them looking a bit worried. The Vet was closed. Why would they be worried, I was so happy, I wouldn’t be going. I ran around chasing my tail as happy as could be. But it seemed no one was going anywhere and I couldn’t work out why. The cars stayed in the garage, the children were at home, no one went to school, it was all very odd and why was the VET closed. What was going on.
The next morning, I was invited onto ‘his’ lap as they sat outside in the sunshine. Hmmmm, I smelt a rat straight away, when ‘she’ came outside with her glasses on looking serious and carrying a glass containing something shiny and silver. Then she lifted them out of the water and they were scissors. “NO” I screamed and wriggled trying to get free, THIS WAS BAD FOR SURE. I’d rather be at the VET’s. No way was ‘she’ one of those white coated people. What were they going to do to me next. Before I knew it I was on my back held tight and firm against the chest of ‘him’. But their words were gentle, reassuring even and amazingly I managed to relax a bit, I rather like sleeping upside down with all four legs in the air and this seemed rather comfy. I felt a slight pull and saw ‘her’ holding a little piece of black string in the air for all to see with a smile on her face. Then another pull and the same thing and then again, three times in all. Then I was given several treats, not just one but a handful and that was that, everyone was happy, I was free, It wasn’t bad at all.