Someone said to me the other day that they hadn't seen much of my bad step-dog Bonnie on my blog recently - or Bob cat for that matter. Well, today I am going to remedy that by telling you the inspiration behind last week's story in The People's Friend, 'For Better For Worse'.
I've always been a 'cat person' and my sister a 'dog person'. I think it started the first year I found a cat calendar in my stocking on Christmas morning and my sister found a dog one. The same happened every year until I left home, so it's no surprise that when I eventually had a house of my own, I got a cat... and my sister a dog!
A new husband was a blessing, my step-children a blessing also - but a dog? I knew nothing about dogs - except that they were big, hairy and often smelly. When I visited my sister, I would ignore her dog and refer to it as 'the hound'. Now I was going to be expected to live with one. Would I cope? More to the point... would Bob cope?
'We'll have a trial,' I said, 'and if Bob is traumatized and leaves home then Bonnie will have to go.' Except that it wasn't as simple as that. When I told my colleague at work (who is a dog lover) what I had said, she warned me that the bond between a man and dog is a strong one. If Bonnie went, so might my future husband (although he insists this wouldn't have been the case). Also I felt sorry for Bon - she was, after all, the innocent party in all this. We would just have to try our hardest to make it work.
Bonnie started by coming on day visits and then for sleepovers. She wasn't allowed upstairs, so Bob had a safe place to escape to, and we kept her on the lead in the first instance until Bob got used to her. And, you know what? It worked. The fights and the stand-offs never happened. For the first few days Bob stayed upstairs and then he gradually came down. Now they play together like the best of friends and if Bob gets agitated by something (like the cat next door) Bonnie comes to find me to let me know!
So what about me? How am I getting on? Well, for a start, a lot of the scrapes Cindy the dog gets into in 'For Better for Worse' are inspired by ones that Bonnie also got into. One of them is shown in the video below (which I know some of you have seen before but I just had to show it!).
TIme for dog-divorce? Actually no. The truth is, after five years, it is me who walks her and me who worries about her. I moan about Bonnie but I know I'd be the one to miss her if she wasn't there. My story is a tribute to my furry family.
Hmm...I wonder what calendar I'll be getting in my Christmas stocking this year?