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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