There are times when I truly curse having a dog. The most recent occasion was some time between Christmas and new year, when I was taking The Mewls for a trot around the block. Now when I say ‘trot’, don’t be deceived into thinking that this is a short, joyful little blast. The block in question is actually about 6 blocks and stretches into a good mile and a half. It’s usually my night time walk when it’s just not practical to drag dog plus child to the park.
On this day I’d decided that a walk round the block would be less of a faff than going to the park. I had full-blown sinusitis (if you’ve not had it, imagine putting your head in a vice then blowing your nose and you’re about there) and had foolishly thought I could manage a walk with The Mewls and the pram. Fool I was because a walk with the two of them is never exactly easy, so why I thought I could manage it when my head felt like it was about to fall off and my chest was close to exploding, in one last heaving cacophonous phlegmy mass, is anyone’s guess.
Walking with The Mewls is a challenge because unless she’s freestyling in the park, she does what I have come to term The Moonwalk. That is, she basically walks backwards. The Moonwalk starts in the living room and doesn’t end until we hit green grass, or well, just grass.
For The Mewls is a pug and earns her name by her pugnacious resistance to any kind of walk. Our familiar little dance occurs twice daily and usually involves me chasing her to the front door, shunting her rump as I go, and repeatedly explaining to her that ‘no, the dining room is not the front door’ and ‘no, the stairs aren’t either.’
The Mewls is not like other dogs. She does not beg lovingly for walks with her tongue lolling by her feet, like a doting Labrador, or scratch at the letter box to get out, like an over-eager spaniel. No, The Mewls responds to walks much like a cat would: with confusion and a good degree of horror. She never fails to make me feel guilty for imposing such wanton and barbaric cruelty on her poor, beleaguered little limbs. Ah, The Mewls.
Back to the day in question. The Mewls had moonwalked almost all the way round the block. She had taken every opportunity to stop for long, intense sniffs of hedges and lampposts and had enjoyed every last second of her long, drawn-out poo.
This had all been to the rather unmelodious accompaniment of my toddler’s unforgiving moans; moans that failed to be soothed by any of my usual tricks. Well, my one trick of an endless assortment of snacks.
My nose was throbbing, my head was banging and my chest was about to cave in.
So less than an 8th of a mile from home I decided to give up. I stopped walking and laid my head on my hands, wondering how long it would be before I could give the two of them to a passer by and then crawl into a hedge to resume the last good sleep I’d had on January 5th 2013 (the day before my daughter was born).
It was the simple knowledge of my imminent arrest that stopped me from doing such a thing and enabled me to finally get my legs back in motion and stumble home for the last 500 metres or so.
It was a dark, miserable day, after which I crawled into bed for a week and left The Mewls to the devices of my rather more well, patient and long-suffering partner.
The Mewls is a wonderful dog. She’s cuddly and impossibly good-natured and soft. She’s great with children and other dogs. She’s basically a living breathing ball of love. But, if you’re looking for a dog to take on long, lolloping walks, don’t get a pug.