Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bella Goes South

         Some people don’t own a dog because they say it restricts their social life. In a way they may be right! When we go on holiday, we book Bella into the local boarding kennels, and when we go away for a day, i.e. over her wee-walk hours, we have to ask a very kind neighbour to take her out. (Look back over other blogs to see why we can’t leave her out in the garden – which of course would be the best choice when going away for a day!)

     Sometimes however she can come along for the ride. Bella travels very well i.e. she doesn’t get excited in the car, doesn’t clamber over the seats, doesn’t whine and doesn’t want the window open when it’s snowing outside! Ok so it wasn’t snowing in Surrey yesterday! UK law requires dogs to be restrained in cars – I suppose it makes sense for those dogs who do get out of control, are misbehaved, disobedient etc. - so Bella is harnessed in - a clip which attaches very simply to one of the fastened seatbelts and gives the dog the freedom to move a little but the same restraint on a sudden jolt.
(Ok, so not Bella, and not the sort of thing she'd do!)

      So yesterday as we drove past the turn-off to the boarding kennels, Bella was still sitting on the back seat, suddenly wondering where we were going! It took about an hour on the motorway before she eventually gave in and lay down comfortably!
('Bridge over River Thames' ('Dartford Crossing'/'Queen Elizabeth Bridge' - on a sunny day!)
       Two and a half hours later we arrived Down South and walking from the car to Auntie Elaine’s house was really exciting! So many new smells! So much to see! So much not to miss!! New cats?!

     I’m sure the kitchen under-floor heating helped her relax more quickly than normal, and after smelling around slept quite happily under our feet, waking up only to take her favourite treats from Auntie Elaine’s hand – a show of trust. (Thanks for your patience Elaine!)  She slept through discussions about how awkward she could be and how good she was being and fortunately slept through Graham’s comments that he thought she was ‘odd’ – however you want to take that!

     A neighbour popped in with her alien looking black pug snuffling and grunting, and happily Bella behaved and greeted the little black thing reasonably politely, while the little black thing subserviently sniffed Bella’s backside – quite the polite thing to do in doggy etiquette!  Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately – Elaine’s tiny lounge is not big enough even for a little black pug to go wild in, but at least it could dash under the low coffee table, while Bella had to leopard crawl and couldn’t get out the other side, so simply lay down and just watched!  We decided not to take her with us when Elaine and I walked down to the little art gallery since two excitable little fluffy, jumpy, attention seeking dogs lived there so the men baby-sat and Bella got the gallery gossip from the smells left on me!

     After lunch – with Bella sleeping under the table and creeping unnoticed towards Graham!! – we walked up the road to check out the bonfire preparations. Once again, far too much smelly gossip to catch up with in such a short time! Bella pulled ahead, stopped behind, criss-crossed and generally didn’t listen to a word I said, but I think I stayed calm and by the time we’d reached the ankle-deep straw pathway to the bonfire field (straw? Fireworks? Wonder if that was a good idea!!) she was quite happy to stand and look around, like us. Although she might have wondered what Tower Bridge was doing in the middle of a field, no water underneath, and a huge pile of trees packed behind it. “London bridge is burning down….” !  (Watch it! Link to Puttenham bonfire 2012!!)

      Her excitement grew along another muddy, gossip-soaked path and in the next field she got to greet an almost-out-of-control black lab. After the nose hug, it was obvious they both wanted it to go a little further so we humans curtailed the meeting and continued past the hops and back to the house.

     Rather than dirty a towel cleaning her paws so Elaine’s light coloured carpets wouldn’t end up patterned carpets, we decided to make our way home. This time it didn’t take her long to lie down in the car and 2½ hours later she was so very glad to be back in her own custom-chewed bed, almost to the point of not wanting to go out for the bedtime wee!

The trip south exhausted her!