The first sign that something was going on was the curious behaviour of Cookie. She spent the whole day just following the boss around and panting like she’d just been on a long run. I decided to try and play with her, but she didn’t want anything to do with me and instead half-heartedly chewed a ball for a few minutes before returning to her previous state. I gave up the effort as a lost cause and went to see if I could snaffle the bone Boulmer had been chewing all morning. Sadly, this was another lost cause.
The second sign was the even more curious behaviour of the boss and Georgie. Not only had they not been offended by Cookie’s constant presence, they actually welcomed it! I thought she was being quite rude. Very odd! They also moved a huge box into the sitting room and put Cookie’s bed into it. This was unfair as I didn’t get an exciting new box and wasn’t even allowed to share it despite the fact that it was plenty big enough for the pair of us.
Even more of a puzzle was their behaviour later that evening.
Our normal ritual has been in place for many years, only changing slightly with the additions of new dogs. Considering this, I feel it was perfectly justified of me to be pretty miffed when, instead of saying goodnight, turning off all the lights and going upstairs, the boss said goodnight, shut me in the kitchen and stayed downstairs, with Cookie and Georgie, in the sitting room. I waited to see whether I would be let in to join them, but it didn’t happen! Eventually I gave up and tried to fall asleep in my box. I didn’t sleep much as they were inconsiderately noisy, talking and shuffling around when I was really tired.
I was rudely awakened not much later by the lights all being switched on and Georgie rushing around the kitchen grabbing things, clearly stressed. She didn’t even stop to greet me. She disappeared back into the sitting room where all sorts of strange noises were coming from. I kept hearing Cookie whimpering and whining. I had a little whine too but they didn’t let me in, so I went to sleep.
A bit later on, the boss came to let me out and I headed into the sitting room where it was wonderfully warm with the fire blazing and everything was quiet. Cookie blinked at me over the edge of her massive bed and I headed for the hearth, stretched out and fell asleep.
When I woke up a couple of hours later I saw that the boss was holding something furry and wriggling. I had a good sniff and it suddenly dawned on me that it was a puppy! I hadn’t heard a thing; I must be getting old! I jumped up to give it a good sniff and a lick and spotted lots more of them in the big bed. I stuck my head over the edge and Cookie erupted into a snarling flurry of teeth. I apologised as best I could, realising that she was feeling a little protective as it was all so new and exciting. Later on she realised that I only wanted to look and was far less upset by me, although I still kept my distance.
The next few weeks were a blur of people visiting and cooing over the puppies, accompanied by constant little squeals and yips. I needed some love too so every now and then pushed in a bit. I don’t think they minded.
I had been used to walking past the box and seeing lots of little furry creatures sleeping in a huddle, and then later on all peering up at me in fascination as I walked by. What I hadn’t been expecting was waking up one morning to find a couple of those same small furry creatures pressed up against me in my bed! I had gotten so used to the pups being in the big box that I got quite a shock when they started to tumble out over the edge and spread out all over the floor.
Once the boss noticed that the pups would no longer stay where they were put, they were moved downstairs and I was back to being the only dog allowed to sleep upstairs in the kitchen.
Cookie was much happier about me being with them once they were dashing about. I reckon it gave her a break from being mobbed. I didn’t mind at all, they were actually quite fun to play with, except when one pup tried to suckle me. I know I wanted to get closer but I wasn’t having that! This was unacceptable, so I took it upon myself to help Cookie teach them proper manners.
The daily pattern was that the pups flooded out every morning to bounce all over us and then swamped Cookie with their demands for milk. Once she’d fed them she escaped and so I stayed around to play and stop them being too rowdy until they all fell asleep in a pile and then the pattern repeated itself.
I began to notice that day by day there were fewer and fewer of them pouring out each morning until one day there was only one. She soon got used to being without the others and we all played together and became a proper pack again. Walking with her was fun as she was so small she’d bounce through the grass and I could only spot her occasionally when the ears were flying upwards. Then one day, in the middle of the night, the boss took her away too and we were finally back to normal.
I can’t say I won’t miss them, and I’m sure Cookie will, but I’ve done my bit to keep them in order at least whilst they were here, and now I can lie on the grass in the sun without being woken up and jumped on by a pack of wild beasts.