Daft dog names

Daft dog names

“Come along Simon.” This is Leila Mum, she’s a girl dog. “Hello Simon. You’re lovely aren’t you?” Leila, Mum, her name’s Leila. Mum and Leila (Simon) are now super buddies. The intuition thing in dogs is astounding isn’t it? When I took Leila to meet Mum she instinctively went right up to her wheelchair and sat by her side looking up. Bearing in mind that she was on the end of a long lead, she could have approached any of the dozen residents, but no, she made a beeline for Mum who was completely enchanted by this golden little animal staring up at her. Mum was a little confused to see me on the other end of the lead though. “Oh Sonia darling, have you seen this gorgeous little dog?” Yes, Mum she’s my dog and I wanted you to meet her. “But you don’t have a dog”. I do now, Mum. This is Leila. “Did you borrow her from someone?” No, Mum she’s mine and she lives with us in London. “Ah – hello Simon” – and so it went on. They’re both totally besotted with each other, but I think some of it was down to Mum giving her all the cheese sandwiches on her own plate and borrowing sandwiches from some of the other residents – some happy to relinquish them and some definitely not. It was a little, well … let’s say, “fragrant” on the car journey home as Leila probably had one cheddar cheesie too many, but she was a happy little soul with her paws on the window frame staring out at all the passing traffic on the M25 home, farting like a trouper every time we hit a bump.

This first meeting with Mum and Leila made me think back to all the times I’ve walked dogs in the past. We never officially owned one before and I can remember being told that Nan and Pop’s dog jumped on a bus in Gray’s Inn Road never to be seen until weeks later when he appeared on their doorstep. Amazing thing, dog instinct, isn’t it? Mum used to run up to owners in parks, grab their dogs’ leads and run back to me with the dog to walk. She’d call them by any name she fancied back then too, despite the owners correcting her and looking a bit scared by this crazy lady who’d hijacked their prize pooch. I can remember always handing the lead back to grateful owners and mumbling things about Mum not meaning to upset them and how lovely their dog was. She always gave them sweets too, which I’m sure wasn’t good for them. One tiny dog got all stuck up with sticky toffee, dribbling profusely and whimpering with a muffled bark as his little jaws couldn’t dislodge the stuff. The owner said something about it rotting her dog’s teeth, but Mum told her to shut up and buy him some false dogteeth or put a muzzle on him. I can remember thinking that was a bit unfair as the dog was happily going along with his owner until Mum turned up and changed everything.

I think this little picture says it all – after the cheese sandwiches, a walk on the beach and half an hour away from the care home, Leila made a bee-line again for Mum when we got back and jumped up onto the chair beside her. Mum leant over to pet her and Leila rested her furry little face in Mum’s palm for well over a minute. Both calm. Both peaceful. Both connected. Bearing in mind that Mum’s attention span is limited and she doesn’t really hold a conversation for longer than a minute or so, she told Leila all about the recent bus trip she’d made (she told me they haven’t been out on a bus for months), recalled her breakfast (as far as I knew, she’d not had anything) and told Leila all about the time when I was about five and I got my fingers nibbled by a horse who lived in the fields that are now Brent Cross Shopping Centre. “Yes, Simon, Sonia howled the house down and I felt awful because I’d told her to hold some grass out for the horsey and he bit her fingers when getting the grass. Yes, he did. And she’s always been scared of horses ever since. She’s a scardie cat isn’t she? Do you like cats?” I was amazed as this story suddenly brought back a distant memory that I’ve completely forgotten about. Mum – that’s amazing, I’ve completely forgotten that story. “What story?” The story about the horse and me getting my fingers nibbled. “Sonia darling, I think you’re losing your marbles – what horse?”

I’m pretty sure that Leila will now be my conduit to other stories. Leila will just sit there and listen, whilst Mum’s memory unlocks stories that only a dog can understand.

Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon

Leila has arrived and it’s like we’ve had her forever. She’s a Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix and we adore her, more than we ever thought we’d love an animal. Mum’s doggie dream has finally come true as she has always wanted me to have one for some reason. She wasn’t that interested in whether or not I had children, but a dog? Yes. She’s been borrowing dogs ever since I can remember. I’m suddenly re-living all the times when owners “lent” me their precious pooches rather than risk upsetting this crazy lady who’d appeared from nowhere and snatched the lead out of their hands. We had a dog in our flat once and I’m sure Mum only picked him up and took him home, because he didn’t have a collar and looked lost. A few hours later a lady knocked on the door and created merry Hell as she’d found out where the crazy redhead lady lived who’d nicked her beloved pet. I didn’t like the way she was yelling at Mum, so I started yelling at her to shut up because my Mum was kind and looked after animals and people who were lonely. Then she started yelling at me and the dog started howling like a mini wolf. He didn’t want to come out from under the bed and I don’t blame him. All those humans screaming like banshees! Our next pet was a tortoise called JOEY and I believe that Mum got him from the rag and bone man who’d found him wandering in the middle of the road. He was pretty boring though and kept trying to escape from our back garden – Joey, not the rag and bone man. I’d make him the perfect house, feed him, talk to him, but as soon as my back was turned he was off! I asked Mum why he kept running away, despite all the love and care I lavished on him and she said “he’s probably a boy tortoise, that’s what boys do”. No neurosis started there then! Then I asked if we could have our own dog, not a borrowed one and she admitted that she’d never really wanted one full-time as two children was quite enough poo for her, thank you very much.

It’s odd, because since then she’s always had a combative relationship with animals in my life, especially when she saw me lavishing affection on them. I inherited a wonderful old black and white moggie from a friend of the family who’d passed away and Mum hated her – the cat, not the family friend. They used to have boxing matches. Minnie would lash out at Mum, Mum would pat her back and on it would go until I had to intervene as referee. It once ended up with the cat spitting, weeing on the sofa and me telling Mum not to be so childish. Mum then patted me and told me to get a dog instead as dogs didn’t scratch. I tried reasoning with her that if she STROKED the cat, it wouldn’t scratch, but it fell on deaf ears. Our following chat went something like this:
“Oh get a dog, Sonia darling. You’d love to have a dog, wouldn’t you?” But what about the poo, Mum? You’ve always worried about the poo aspect. “Oh yes, the poo. Can’t you get a dog that poos in the loo? I saw that on “That’s Life”. I think you’d need to train a dog for a long time to do that Mum and besides, my work is far too unpredictable to have a dog anyway. “At least you’d have something to chase off burglars – stupid cats can’t do that”.

Mum’s heard about Leila and wants her to come and visit everyone at her care home. She thinks that Leila will calm some of the other residents down and Mum says she always has too many sausages, so Leila could have them. Bless her wonderful heart – always thinking of others.
“I’ll have to ask the staff if it’s ok to bring a dog to the care home.”
“It’s MY home and I want to meet her. Can I?”

Well that’s sorted then! I’ll tell you how we get on with the residents – fingers crossed there are no poos in strange places – and I’m talking about the dog, not the residents.

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