The ‘Stare of the Dog’ this time brings a cautionary tale for all Labrador owners (and other dogs too I suspect) living in the misguided belief that their pampered pooch is to be trusted with an access all areas pass about the home. For Dudley, like many a woofer would be in the demolition business if he were to join a building trade.
In taking receipt of the adorable though not yet house-trained pup we were under no illusions. Behind the cute, hairy brown exterior lies a reckless vandal with minimal regard for personal space or property and we knew from the outset there would always be days when the house would take a battering. The extent of this onslaught would always be the worrying factor as we braced ourselves for the hurricane.
Inside a week, he’d managed to chew right through the rubber seal at the bottom of the back door, offering us an early glimpse of his handy work. Of this particular incident, I was not too worried mind given he’s the one who sleeps in a bed not two foot from the offending door with its now shredded seal. Good luck Dud I say, Manchester’s not the driest spot in the UK now is it. I’ll lend you a pan to do the bailing out shall I?
Then there was the rather ungrateful way in which he dispatched of the day bed we bought him at great expense. Yes. You read correctly. A day bed. Designed to bring an ‘air’ (pun intended) of respectability and cleanliness to Dudley’s lounge residence, we hit up TK Max for all our £25 could justify in the latest canine comfort. Initially the bed was met with good-natured intentions from Dudley and for a few precious months only suffered the ignominy of the odd dry hump or two. Then came the destruction, one hunk of green fluff at a time.
Passing through puppyhood and into adolescence, the main targets for his frustrations seemed always to be the walls and floor of the back kitchen where he’s usually confined when wet and dirty. Seizing on a small tear in the Lino one day and aggravating it further, slowly but surely our entire floor disappeared like an unraveling woollen jumper. Add to this the numerous sets of very obvious paw marks on the freshly painted walls at waist height and the scratches on the plaster-board walls and I think visitors to the house started to suspect me of being a ‘Josef Fritzl’ type.
As my father often says, a lazy man makes more work for himself and on many an occasion last summer I would carelessly dump the seat covers to the patio chairs on top of the washing machine instead of stowing them safely in the garage. What an error. With the washing machine sitting closer to Dudley’s bed than the tooth fairy, it was but a matter of time before he struck. I’d attempt to describe what happened when he did but then what words could better this picture?
Other targets for Dudley’s flexing jaw muscles have included my reading glasses and a pretty pricey bike light. On both occasions, what made the business so frustrating was that I was in the room with him, hearing the noises, blissfully unaware and assuming he was chewing his own toys. Where the glasses were concerned, I had it coming to me I suppose. Apparently I requisitioned my uncle’s sunglasses from his car as a kid and left them casually lying behind a wheel when he drove off.
With his own toys Dudley’s very unpredictable too. Many of his favourites have lasted longer than a Pink Floyd track whilst others are put to the sword in minutes. Last Christmas he was given a delightful toy robin, decked out with red breast and wearing more tweed than Cheltenham Races. I think this particular bird lasted less time than the roast turkey and I remember feeling somewhat sorry for the wee fella as he was eviscerated before my very eyes on our kitchen floor. To give him his due, he is however mustard with the hoover and is currently charging around upstairs with the extension pipe to our long suffering ‘Henry’. In fact I just got whacked across the legs with the thing.
I wouldn’t want people running away with the idea that Dudley is a complete menace about the house because he’s not. He does however have an appetite for Destruction.