Just realised I haven’t really mentioned the idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound much since he was a wee little puppy. The reason is –  I’ve been too stressed. The reason I have been too stressed is the idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound.

The story in short

The Bloke finds a wee little three-week old pup sitting in a puddle out in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (aaaahhh). Pup has probably been abandoned by drug sellers pretending to sell puppies on the Addis streets but who are, in fact, selling drugs (aaawwh). The Bloke rescues it and gives it a home (aaaaaahhh). Little pup thinks The Bloke is the best thing since sliced bread and grows into cutest little pup out, waggling around the Ethiopian house and specialising in being adorable (aaaahhh). Pictorial evidence below.

The Bloke gets the pup inoculated by the local vet, and for a month or so, The Bloke and pup are as happy as pigs in poo. Suddenly, pup gets nasty dog disease that you shouldn’t get if you have been inoculated. Turns out a local vet gave the pup an entrepreneurial version of his jabs which involved taking the money and raising the profit level by not really giving the jabs. By a complete miracle and the sterling efforts of a new vet, the pup survives. Lots of bills for another round of jabs and treatment.

A couple of months later, The Bloke comes on Skype looking a tad stressed. He has come to the decision it really would be best for the pup to come home to England. He has to raise his voice to tell me this because of the enthusiastic barking in the background and occasionally a blur of high velocity movement whistles past behind his chair. I ask how big the pup is now, since we already have a fat Labrador taking up gratuitous amounts of space. The Bloke vaguely waggles his hand around calf level but can’t seem to send me a picture of the pup standing next to him to confirm this. Lots of bills for international transport, rabies tests and customs clearance for a mongrel pup start flying in. Our pedigree Labrador is now looking like a bargain.

Pup arrives and stares down at old Blue the Labrador from above. Seems the Bloke’s calves have spontaneously stretched and and are now located in the middle of his thighs. Pup glares at me in distrust – jury is out – the feeling is mutual.

After he gets served his first bowl of western dog food, the pup decides I might be OK. He eats like a horse and grows like one. Blue, the fat Labrador, starts looking a wee bit teensy and slim-line. Hell pooch decides this move wasn’t such a bad thing at all when he works out there is more delicious food on the kitchen benches and you just need to reach up and help yourself.

Pup meets grass for the first time, quickly followed by joggers, bicycles and squirrels. Decides he really has done well in his choice of owners. He is less keen on the ‘lead’ thing though, so he eats that. There is a new zest for life on the common, and everyone seems to have picked up speed. I discover I have taken up sprinting and shouting as a regular twice daily work out without even knowing it. The postman loses a stone – along with his sense of humour.

Pup decides Blue, the Labrador, is definitely a new toy gifted to him and invests all his spare time trying to switch on Blue’s ‘play’ function by chewing his tail. Blue decides to exercise patience with the stupid mutt since he knows The Bloke will take this idiot away again eventually. The Bloke goes back to Ethiopia. The pup does not. Blue and the guinea pig book into therapy.

I frantically invest in expensive training kit, whistles, collars, toys, treats, harnesses and leads. Idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound misses the Bloke so he eats them to make his point. To cheer himself up, he redesigns our sofa cushions to match the design he did on The Bloke’s sofa in Ethiopia. He is very impressed with his work. Now our place looks nice and homely – scattered foam and ripped fabric is a look that keeps on giving.

The mongrel mutt decides he loves me quite a lot now. In a show of affection, he eats my slippers.

I misbehave. I gratuitously go out of the house to do some shopping and return an hour later. Of course, I had to be punished for this. My reading glasses now have large wads of electrical tape holding them together but I am slowly adjusting to looking at things from a slightly wonky angle.

The Bloke assures me the local vet in Addis gave the idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound the snip before he left. We go for walks on the Common and the idiot attempts to mount every other pedigree pooch that passes. He has a particular fancy for a Jack Russell – he can’t quite work out the angles, but gives it his best effort anyway.  In the evenings, I attempt to watch TV over the bobbing head of the idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound as he practises his technique on Blue. Blue hopes there is a treat in this for him. I begin to wonder about the entrepreneurial nature of that snip operation.

Squirrels are now an obsession. He stands under trees and shouts up at them to inform them that they had better watch out because he is a rufty, tufty streetwise dog, and in the ‘hood he grew up in, furry rats were DINNER. Turns out squirrels are faster and brighter than he is. They remind him loudly that he actually spent all of three weeks in the ‘hood while entertaining themselves by hurling nuts down at his head. Their aim is excellent and dodging missiles seems to be a lesson he skipped in his ‘hood days. A big conker nut bounces off the idiot dog’s skull. I cheer up a bit. 

The Common has got a lot quieter recently.  When we head out, I see people out of the corner of my eyes scurrying to hide behind bushes clutching their pedigree pooches. 

Feel obliged to give the Common walkers a day off and take the idiot-teenage-mongrel-hellhound for a country walk in a local reserve. He disappears for a good ten minutes. I do my best not to be thrilled to bits by this. He pitches up again and I bundle him into the car. When I get in myself, I’m engulfed in a rancid cloud of stink that has embraced the interior. I turn and look at the idiot hell hound and realise he has given himself a cow shit facial. Chunks of poo cling to his nose, whiskers and fur. He seems very pleased about this and attempts to lick my face. I’m too exhausted to be furious. I wonder if he knows something I don’t. Perhaps the turd of a large vegetarian beast has hidden powers of rejuvenation. I catch my knackered eyes in the rear vision mirror and seriously consider popping out and face planting in the cow field. If it works, I could start a business flogging cow pats. You never know – there’s always hope it might pay for the dog…

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