Walking the dog

We’ve got a dog. He’s only little. He looks like a cat.
We’ve had him some time. 12 years I think. He doesn’t go out much.
It honestly didn’t occur to us that this dog, that looks like a miniature Ewok,
had been telling us, for quite some time, that he wants to go out.

Please don’t be shocked. He’s a self-professed lap dog. He likes to snooze, has access to the garden and doesn’t particular like the company of other dogs.

We’ve been putting up with an issue that’s been getting worse. He started to mark his territory in the kitchen, then the house, then at my folks. It turned from marking to full on peeing. In 3 years this issue saw our dog get relegated to the kitchen whilst we tried to address the issue. Constant cleaning, bleaching, sterilising. Useless. We tried introducing him, under a watchful eye, to different parts of the house. All attempts seemed futile.

It became a twisted circle. He wasn’t allowed in the rest of the house because he pee’d and he started to pee because he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted. That’s certainly how it seemed. Having tried toys, distraction methods and even re-trying “puppy pads” I felt at a loss. We were stressed with him, and he was stressed with us. It was no life, no matter what we tried.

I put in a call to Battersea.

The chap that called back listened to my story. He asked questions about our dog. He asked questions about me. Without (too much) judgement he said it would probably be quite easy to re-home a dog like Elwood but he also picked up on the infrequency of his walks. He said that they had recently re-homed a dog who was having similar problems. A previously house trained dog with a good temperament yet had taken to constantly urinating in the home. The common anomaly being that neither this dog, nor ours was being walked enough.

But he’s a small lap dog. He has access to the garden.
In my heart, I knew this wasn’t enough.
It’s not nearly enough. It has to be every day. Will you try it?
I was mostly after advice. I’d been given some, so of course I’d try it.

The change in Elwood has been quite astonishing. Almost instant. Sure, we’ve had a few accidents along the way but on the whole the problem has dried up. He’s completely trusted in the living room and seems a lot happier as a result.

4 weeks ago I was asked whether I’d feel guilty if I had to re-home the dog. My answer was no. Things were at such a point that I knew it would be better for him and better for us. Now that I’ve seen this change in him, and so quickly, I do feel some guilt. The guilt of not realising what he needed from us all this time. Making assumptions early on and not deviating from them.

What’s worse is that I rather enjoy walking him. The cleaning up of shit, less so of course, but still it’s nice to have 20 mins at the end of the day to stretch my legs and reflect. To stop every 10 steps and sniff a lamp post. To think without the buzz of tech, the buzz of other people. To stop every 11 steps and mark a gate post. To breathe in the night air and know you’re doing something good. To stop every 12 steps and sniff another dogs pee..

I do wonder what on earth he’s getting from those urinated messages left behind by other creatures. Stopping every minute or 2 as he sniffs could get quite irritating, but I just let him snuffle away and muse to myself that he’s just reading his wee-mail.

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