It was never going to be an easy Christmas with a 15 year old dog with dementia, a 9 month old puppy the size of a small pony and a 4 year old German Shepherd who is rapidly losing weight but continues to run about like a maniac. I discovered less than a week before Christmas that my aunt, an retired Matron of a maternity home with a deep love of Milton and hospital corners, was coming to stay and that not only were my sister and brother in law and their son and his girlfriend coming for the day but that the girlfriend’s two brothers (age 14 and 20)were also coming and finally that both my sister and the girlfriend were bringing their dogs -an 18month old springer spaniel and a 6 month old male Shih Tzu.
The day my aunt was to arrive I needed to clean the kitchen floor before going to pick her up as the dogs had trampled mud all over it. Despite the three dogs getting in the way I managed to get it clean and shining with minutes to spare before I had to go to pick her up at the station, as I pulled on my jacket the old dog had an “accident” necessitating cleaning and disinfecting said floor and spraying air freshener all around, then I jumped into the car and drove off to meet her taking the puppy with me. Why take a 9 month old GSD puppy to a station? Because she could then meet my aunt from the confines of her car harness instead of jumping up to greet her at the door. I gave my aunt strict instructions to ignore skye unless she was sitting quietly in her seat but obviously something was lost in translation as she proceeded to tell Skye “I’m taking no notice of you unless you are a good wee girl” whilst wagging a finger (enclosed in very tasty looking woolly gloves) under the puppy’s nose. Skye viewed this speech in my aunt’s lilting Scottish accent as attention and lovely melodious attention at that and was determined to get more of it so behaved appallingly all the way home showing off her full repetoire of howls, barks and whines. Inside the house it was little better, Skye was fascinated by my aunt and wanted to sit beside her (or on her knee) or run after her as she walked around the house. As my aunt is very slight and increasingly frail, much of my time was spent holding Skye back and preventing her knocking my aunt over.
Christmas Day dawned, wet and grey and the dogs were overexcited by the change of routine and the visitors arriving. All five dogs played happily together outside and churned the garden into a mudbath while I tried to cook two different meals (three vegetarians and six meat eaters) on a cooker that was for some reason struggling to maintain its temperature, control the amount of rushing in and out of large dogs chasing smaller ones (and small male dog chasing all the females with amorous intentions), be sociable to the guests and exchange presents. Despite it all we had a lovely day, there was plenty of food, and laughter and everyone got on well,even the old dog had fun watching the younger ones playing together.
I hope your Christmas was a little less chaotic but just as much fun.