Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dog-imposed eremeticism, Freyfaxi, flowers

Skipped yesterday, I suppose you might say the strain is beginning to tell now. Partly that of daily posting, partly of dog hosting. Poor Bram, at just over a year old, after three homes and two refuges, he doesn't know he's only here for a few days, that his mum will come and get him on Friday, (or indeed what Friday means) and restore him to a two-dog household so all the onus of doggy responsibility is not on him, that no one means him any ill, that when Tom bends down to scratch his leg across the room he is not intending to do whatever nasty thing it was someone* used to do when they bent down, or that I am not the one and only resource he has left in the world so that I must be stuck to for dear life and guarded from all comers, or at least from Tom.

Poor us that we really can't find a way to communicate this to him firmly but comfortingly, and he's a big, young dog with impressive gnashers so we begin to fear that unpredictable reaction prompted by fear and misunderstandings could deteriorate into actual aggression, which we're not prepared to cope with. A single false move seems to undo days of apparent progress, and it would take months and experienced patience and even possibly the intervention of an expensive dog psychologist to properly remedy the situation, none of which we have, but in fact we've realised it wouldn't really be what we would want to spend precious time and money doing anyway. When E entrusted him to us, with typically robust optimism, she suggested that it might help to get us over our reluctance to get another dog, but I'm afraid it has had the opposite effect, and made us wonder whether we really want to take on such a thing again at all. It seems to me a terrible thing to rescue a dog from a refuge then find you simply can't integrate its peculiarities, problems and general hitherto unseen baggage into your life and so have to take it back again, but I can see how it happens. And this week has made us miss Mol more than ever, and appreciate how marvellously balanced the triangle of the relationship we had with her was, with never any sense of preference or jealousy or hierarchy needing to be expressed at all. Plus she never ate poo, or other disgusting things, or indeed farted so as to strip the paint from the walls (another downside of being the object of his devoted, closer-than-a-brother, attachment). But then she had awful health problems from overbreeding, so it seems like you can't win.

However, E is besotted with Bram, is not a worrier and has plenty of time and space to devote to bringing him round, and no man in her life nor any plan to have one, which is just as well, as I think Bram would put the kibosh on them if she had, and if it came to an 'it's me or the dog' ultimatum with E it would be the dog every time. He came to us as she had to go to Paris to fetch a passport, a plan already arranged and paid for before she got him, his big 'brother' Moos was already booked into the kennels with the dog of the friend she was going with, and she thought he'd be better at home with us. In fact though, if she goes away again after a while, I think he'd be OK in the kennels, which are a ruggedly female-run establishment owned by a terrifyingly competent and bossy British woman, he's not too bothered by the presence of other dogs and he loves his meals and walks which he would have there.

Anyway, deciding the best thing was to get a bit of space between Bram and himself, Tom decided to make a virtue out of expediency and pretend he was going into a monastery for the day, ensconcing himself upstairs in his study with books and computer and monastic sort of music**. Except of course he gets Bovril and tea and biscuits and wine and chocolate brought to him by his wife, whom he also gets to sleep with at the end of the day, so it wasn't very monastic at all really. Unless you believe the people who told Henry VIII why he should set about the Dissolution, which by and large I suppose I do. He rather enjoyed himself anyway, and still came down for meals, when he and Bram mostly managed to ignore each other very deliberately.

Iceland mostly all planned and bookings made, rather a hectic time for us, what with plunging into hot springs, chasing the aurora, slithering around the Golden Circle (diamond geysers!) and bouncing about on Icelandic horses which are not to be called ponies. One of the few sagas I read at university in its entirety in the original Old Norse was Hrafnkel's Saga, where the horse is the agent of much mischief, I recall. I rather wonder whether we shouldn't have stuck to mooching about Reykjavik, eating and drinking and looking at museums of archaeology which I'm sure could easily have taken up three days. Should we invest in ice walkers, I wonder? What are ice walkers, I wonder, and can one buy them in Decathlon? These questions and more will doubtless be answered.

Here are some spring flowers to brighten up these sad November days.

* presumably a man since I and any other woman he meets seem to be able to move as and how we will without a negative reaction.

** which only differs from how he spends his time normally by the upstairs element, and perhaps the Gregorian chant.


Zhoen said...

Poor Bram, as I've mentioned before. When men are bad, they really do a lot of harm, putting a great onus on the majority of men.

Eleanor seems to have a wariness of men as well, although she's working through it.

Hopefully, if you do want a new dog-friend, you will find one who trusts and loves Tom, too.

Ellena said...

It feels so good to read how much care and love you and Tom put into making the life of Bram comfortable.
Please tell Tom that the well for Moselito's home away from home and 3 additional residences constructed for his friends here in the rocky
mountains North of Montreal have been found by dowsers.

Lesley said...

Iceland! How wonderful. I look forward to those photographs.

Roderick Robinson said...

Congratulations! A 131-word sentence. Embarked on, I suppose, in the belief that you'd finish it. And you did. I take strength from your optimism and have acted accordingly in my latest post.

Very shortly we shall be taking a trip in the opposite direction to yours. Into troubled mainland Europe; driving through even more troubled Belgium towards the Christmas market in Köln (note the Germanic version of the name; we'll be trying to make ourselves less conspicuous of course). It's a family tradition and I suppose it can also be regarded as our tiny reaction against the activities of bad men (though I hate getting tangled up in the sort of cant messages that appear in Daily Mail headlines).

Tom's decision seems the more dignified. I hope he will be (or has been) sustained by the metaphorical rather than the mechanical implications of the verb "to illuminate"; that rather than spending the day painting a multi-coloured version of capital L (Guess whose initial!) he has simply glowed up there in his eyrie, transferring light and enlightenment to his personal bringer of Bovril. Not that you're in need of such embellishment; I for one profit from your ability to glow.

And now I'm getting soppy.

Avus said...

Lucy and Tom: I admire your selflessness in looking after a troubled dog like Bram. I am sure that he would have been quite happy to have been in kennels, though. He has not been long enough with his new owner to have formed an attachment and it would have only been "back in the stirrer again" for him.
My daughter in Oz was at first worried about coming home to visit when she had to put her Blue Heeler into kennels. But the kennel owner said, after the first day, he settled down perfectly and rather liked the company of the other dogs.
It's a bit like leaving a young child for their first day at nursery. They forget to cry after the parent disappears. It is the parent who feels guilty all day!

Anonymous said...

This is something which would worry me if I took on another dog in future, especially as the one we have at the moment is rather challenging to live with. He's just about okay with us and if everything stays the same but if there's anything different going on, or other people around, he can't cope.

Beautiful spring flowers, a bit of colour is much needed at this time of year!