In the week before I gave up the grog, a decision was made that would affect me and my family for years to come.
My sister-in-law is an RSPCA carer, and one night she and my wife were cruising the web looking at various RSPCA sites. No worries. I was busy reading, while emptying a fine bottle of port, and enjoying the odd intermittent beer… and quite possibly, fistfuls of salty snacks.
Just another peaceful night at home.
Then they came across a picture of a bonny wee dog. A dog called Bella who was looking for a home.
Even in my alcoholic haze I detected trouble. Leaping to my feet I launched into a well rehearsed speech; a speech that has become known in our house as ‘Daddy’s Dog Talk’. It basically goes like this:
“You’ve already got a dog! A dog that all of you promised me would be walked and fed and groomed and washed without a murmur of complaint or moaning! That dog there!” I say, pointing to a small whining form, sitting on the darkened deck, staring mournfully through the flyscreen. “The dog that we ‘had to have’ that sits at home waiting for ME to walk him! Alone! Without any help! How do I get the choice to say NO! Did I lose some sort of bet here? I’ll stand naked in the main street before I let you get another bloody dog for me to walk! And that goes for guinea pigs, goldfish, birds, and pet rocks. If any of you bring another animal into this house, I will personally kill it in front of you!”
This is usually silences the mob. NOTE: I would never kill an animal (well apart from the odd legally sized fish or mudcrab).
But the night wore on, and as the bottom of the port bottle appeared, so too did the arrival of Greg the Magnanimous, the benevolent and kindly dictator from the Kingdom of Late Evenings.
My wife had been patiently awaiting his arrival. Beaming my ‘All is Well with the World’ smile, I watched as she bought up the photo of the little pup. Turning to me, she said, “She’s such a sweet looking little thing, and she’ll be able to keep Harry company during the day. You won’t have to walk him as much because he’ll be too tired out from playing all day with his new companion.”
Greg the Magnanimous put his arm around her shoulders and said, “Whatever makes you happy darls!” The King had spoken.
The next day we went to look at the little bitch. Greg the Magnanimous was in the land of Far, Far Away, and now it was up to Greg – Lord of the Idiots, to pay the bill. Well, she was a nice little dog, but I had an ace up my sleeve, “What if Harry doesn’t like her?” I asked, “We can’t take her home if she’s going to be attacked all day. It wouldn’t be fair.”
My wife made sympathetic noises. On the way over, I had secretly roughed up Harry and whispered furtively into his furry little ears “Kill boy! Kill on sight!”
And it worked! As soon as he walked through the door of the carers’ house, Bella attacked him 🙂 Of course I pretended to be devastated…
But then disaster struck. The little buggers started getting along. I watched them frolic about the yard with a sinking heart. And I knew right then that Greg (aka: Sir Easy Touch), was going to be walking two dogs every bloody day.
So, during my first week off the drink I was given a daily reminder of the dangers of booze. Every day I had to endure the sight of a delighted little dog racing through the bush, bounding over logs and generally having a great time, and it made me think…
I wonder if the family are going to hold me to my promise of standing naked in the main street?