Indie the whippet puppy has arrived, and nothing is the same for any of us any more. It’s always the same when you introduce a new animal into a household – things get shaken up and stirred around, and though they may be a vast improvement at the end of the process they will not be what they were. I don’t think I’ve ever brought an animal in, no matter how well chosen and longed for, without a moment’s panicky thought of WHAT DID I DO THAT FOR?
Well imagine. On Saturday we had a particularly ordered household (as long as we can keep the peacock out). Darcy and Guinness are two calm and obedient middle aged Labradors, and you don’t get easier than that. Scarab, who painted the town red as a stripy kitten, is now an upright senior citizen. None of them has chewed, or scratched or done something regrettable in a corner for many years. And into this haven of tranquillity I have introduced a cheerful 8 week old puppy.
The fun started on Sunday. Indie travelled beautifully home in the car, took a moment to assess his new quarters and then plunged into the round of introductions. He met Scarab, who was gentle and forgiving to a little black and white chap who chased his tail. He met Darcy, who was kind, and allowed Indie to walk right underneath him. He met Guinness, who told him to back off. She would never bite him, but nor does she allow liberties. So of course he is drawn to her like an iron filing to a magnet, trying to furtle quietly into her basket without her noticing. And if he makes it, he licks her paws. She notices that every time and tells him off – then as soon as her back is turned he tries to eel back into her basket again.
The puppy cage is a life saver, warm and safe and full of toys, but Indie does his singing practice while he’s in it (he’s a high soprano). The Labradors have vacated their normal sleeping places and formed a protest group in the furthest reaches of the sitting room, where they stick their fingers in their ears and sign anti puppy petitions.
And yet, and yet – Indie’s fab! He’s confident, and very loving with a dash of quiet thoughtfulness which is most attractive. I’ve spent the last 24 hours watching him like a hawk and whizzing him outside after sleeps and meals, and we haven’t had an accident yet. So Indie’s here, he’s gorgeous, and the entire household is shaken by its ears. And did I mention that he’s hopping with fleas?