On Sunday, two King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Ivy, arrived at our house, to the delight of my youngest and the horror of my eldest! My little girl has always loved dogs and never misses an opportunity to ask a passing owner if she may stroke his or her pet. While five years ago my response to the suggestion of dog ownership would have been, 'over my dead body', repeated interactions with all sorts of breeds and friendly owners, and a little dog-sitting in Yorkshire, has mellowed me. I love my cat dearly, but he does not love me and he is aloof and stand-offish. That's fine, he's a cat, but there is something about my arrival causing a tail to wag that warms my heart. So I am beginning to consider the issue and we are having a trial run. Even if we decide against, having dogs for a week occasionally is better for my daughter than never having dogs.
Lexie and Ivy are high maintenance! It's not the practical needs that worry me, feeding twice and day, letting in the garden to do their business and walking round the block, it's the emotional need. They look up at me, their eyes pools of earnest desire, wagging their tails in unison, and I have no idea what they want. The door is open and they can go play, I have fed them, I have exercised them, I have tickled their ears. I am failing them in some way. When their owner left on Sunday, she reminded me not to feel guilty about how much activity or attention they got. 'In the kennels,' she told me, 'they would be in a concrete cell and have three lots of twenty minutes exercise.' I am doing much better than that. They have had the run of the garden, three children to play with, the sofa to sit on (yes, really, I am such a softie!) and two walks a day - even in the pouring rain. But I can't quite escape the feeling that I am a disappointment!
Perhaps I need to find my affirmation from another source!