Alfie is naughty. Make no bones about it. He’s a friendly, energetic and generally loyal Labrador when the mood takes him but he’s also particularly mischievous. Let’s not apportion blame here but I do distinctly remember chatting with the breeder when we bought him and being offered the supine runt of the litter, called Pick Me (bless) or Alfie who we were warned was particularly badly behaved. I was all for the former, Jill had her heart set on the latter and that is how we came by this permanently moulting, constantly demanding bundle of joy and dustbin for food.
As I say, let’s not apportion blame but the prosecution rests its case m’lud.
Now though, our undivided attention is about to disappear from his life. A new member of the pack will be arriving from hospital crying, throwing up and filling its nappy with alarming regularity and there’ll be less time for Alfie’s favoured ‘throw the ball into the kitchen, retrieve and repeat’ game that sometimes goes on for hours with very little evidence of fatigue (on his behalf, anyway).
It’s worrying to try and guess how he’ll react, he’s very difficult to predict; he once weed up the leg of a man who looked like Paul O’Grady. We know he’ll be jealous of the affection lavished on the newborn and we are aware that we need to keep him involved, to introduce the baby to him, to encourage him to feel protective of the child and this could well be fairly easy but for one problem.
Our friends visited recently with their one year old daughter and I was so proud of Alfie’s calmness and patience with her. She was intrigued by his paws and kept picking them up and squeezing them; somehow our cheeky hound just lay down and peacefully let her play. However, he clearly felt that deserved some kind of recompense and that came in a constant stream of licks, generally to her face. She, probably as part of some agreement they’d made between them, didn’t make a fuss over this unwanted attention but I was horrified. I know what he eats off the floor sometimes…I know where that tongue licks when he has a few minutes spare in his busy doggy schedule.
This is not a good thing.
It’s worth noting that, as I write this, Alfie has roused from a slumber, sauntered towards me, looked me in the eye and licked my hands. You know when your ears burn if someone talks about you? I think the canine version is similar if not more tongue based. Where’s Barbara Woodhouse when you need her?