As we continue to embrace National Pet Month like it was Lassie at the end of a particularly heroic episode, Sarah Millican offers an account of the day she became a dog mam – and the almost-month which has passed since.
I’ve got a cake in the oven. Nothing new there, but this time it isn’t for me. And I don’t even want any of it. That’s because it’s liver cake for our future dog. And possibly the single most upsetting experience I’ve ever had in a kitchen.
The liver broke my blender, causing it to smoke and when I picked it up to put it in the porch, there were little bits of plastic that had sheared off. I then tackled the liver with my hand blender and pretended I was in The Walking Dead so that I didn’t cry.
I’m baking liver cake so the house smells nice when our future dog arrives. You know, like how when you’re trying to sell your house you bake bread and flush the toilet.
I’ve never had a dog. Well, that isn’t strictly true. When I was little, we had a Yorkshire terrier for a few weeks who was really vicious. I went to my friend’s for a sleepover and when I came back there was no dog, no bed, no bowl, no lead. Like I’d imagined I’d had a dog.
“So today, I get my lead filled. And with the most adorable little sausage. We wanted a rescue dog as we wanted to give a dog another chance. And a garden. And lots of cuddles.”
That’s when I learnt about death and inbreeding. No ‘gone to live on a farm’ for me. No ‘keeping an old man company’. Just parents who treated us fairly and didn’t want us savaged by a scary little bugger.
And then of course there was Waffles, my imaginary dog. It was just me pulling a length of pink wool around the house, but he never bit me and his parents weren’t also his siblings.
So today, I get my lead filled. And with the most adorable little sausage. We wanted a rescue dog as we wanted to give a dog another chance. And a garden. And lots of cuddles.
Our little dog has been in kennels for a year and then his owner died so he came to the dogs’ home. Now, he has three beds to choose from and so many squeaky toys, I’ve topped up on migraine tablets.
I’ve heard they like cheese so I’ve got over my cheese ickiness (I used to grate cheese for my mam’s sandwiches when I was a teenager with a freezer bag on my hand. This meant the sandwich sometimes had bits of grated plastic in it too. After a little training, I can now hold cheese like it’s a bit of ham.)
We’ve never had a dog, and cats (of which we have two: Chief Brody and Lieutenant Ripley) are more independent and less needy. My husband said, “You’re quite needy so we need a needy pet”. He’s right. There are only so many cats you can get to see if they’ll sit on your knee before you have so many cats avoiding your lap that it looks like there’s some sort of force field around you.
So this morning is the last time we are dogless.
It’s the last time our house is quiet. The last time I don’t have to pick up poos (to be fair I have picked up a small poo in the past. Who did it shall remain nameless but I live with him and it wasn’t me and it was for an experiment he was doing called “pooing in the dark”). The last time I get a lie-in. It’s also the last time I watch telly alone. The last time I don’t do any exercise. The last time I walk into an empty house ungreeted. The last time I have spare meat. The last time I have an empty lead.
Welcome to our lives, you adorable little sausage.
We are three weeks into a dogful life and my, things are different. For one, my sense of smell has changed. I started by asking a friend: “If we bath him, will he smell less, well, like that?” only to be told, “NO” and that I’ll “get used to it”.
I went through a middle phase where I kissed his head while holding my breath and this morning I woke up to find him on my pillow, his arse to my face. And I loved it.
(By the way, I don’t have kids: is this smell the same as the new baby smell parents always seem to go on about? If it is, I GET IT.)
I have also become less house proud. Normally, I’m not over the top but I like the house to be tidy and relatively clean. Lived in. But by nice people. Now three rooms have immovable wee stains and one has had a poo in it. I’m not telling you which in case you come round.
A friend stayed last week and I said, without any apology: “Please let me know if you find a poo. I won’t think it’s you, I promise.”
I have hairy leggings. On the outside now, too. My husband said, “We’re just going to have to accept that this is our life now.” And what a life.
I’m so much fitter, even just in this short space of time. I am always greeted like I’m the best person ever, even when I don’t have hot dog in my pocket. I pull on any clothes to take him for a walk – sometimes pyjamas, shoes and a hat. And no-one cares. I have a picture on my phone of the dog’s winkie fully extended (to show my husband, as he was out). And there’s finally someone in the house with worse farts than me.
I’m about to try to make some fish treats as both the blender and I are too broken by the last liver cake experience. My lead is full. And my priorities are in the right order.7311 Views
Sarah Millican is a comedian, writer, reformed workaholic, feminist, cat and dog mam, wife and lover of food.