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Getting back to basics

By Scott Hunt – The Dog Grumbler

 

WELL, that was festive.

December came and we were barred from our favourite beaches for the hottest part of the day.

Schools emptied and the city and shopping centres filled with kids just as we got into a panic about the Christmas shopping we hadn’t finished – and don’t talk to me about parking.

The fridge was so full we had to unpack and re-pack it every time we wanted to eat.

The lawn turned into jungle just when all the relatives were coming round.

It was too hot on Christmas Day and too wet soon after.

For our canine companions, the “silly season” was just as silly, but for different reasons; they watched us stay home and mow the grass instead of going to work.

They got turkey and ham and pavlova leftovers. The house smelled of pine trees but they couldn’t leave messages for passing sniffers.

People got up later, stayed up later and threw out twice as much on garbage night.

People behaved as though they were happy then celebrated when it was all over.

They finally slumped exhausted and watched cricket and yachts on television if only because there was nothing else on and nothing open.

And to cap it all off, we stayed up way after bedtime on New Year’s Eve and acted as though it was no big deal when the sky exploded at midnight. Go figure.

Spare a thought for those in the family to whom none of this makes sense.

While many of us dread the return of routine and drudgery, to a creature whose world is synchronised with our day-to-day routines, nothing about the festive season adds up and much of it is alarming or, at worst, terrifying.

Show your dog that everything is OK. Get back to normal daily routines and you will notice signs of relief.

And if you got a pup for Christmas, keep in mind the trauma it has just endured. It has been taken from its mother and littermates and transplanted into a world of strangers and strange, frightening events.

You may have lots to do before all returns to normal but more than ever, your new pup needs rules, routine and consistency, and it needs to be socialised – starting right now.

Perhaps it’s one of the lucky ones; perhaps it will not be a toy, status symbol, fashion accessory or weapon.

And if you give a child a dog as a Christmas present, consider this: if there really is a heaven, you’d better have a very clear conscience about the rest of your life when you knock on the door because all the dogs will be there.