mummy is always tired

In Which We Celebrate Our Greedy Dog

We have a dog.  A long suffering (he’s only three) very patient, very passive black Labrador called Otis.  He is the best dog in the world.  Like most Labradors, Otis is driven by his stomach and the need to fill it…..all the time.  He thinks about food all day, literally from the moment he wakes up to the moment we switch off the lights downstairs and head off to bed.  He follows me to the kitchen on the off chance that some tiny morsel might come his way; the size of the prize is not important.  He withstands the fiercest prods, pats and pokes from our two small children with quiet dignity and selflessness.  Although I’m sure this is all a small price to pay for living in a house with two children who more than occasionally drop food on to the floor by accident (or on purpose as I have observed on occasion).

Having Otis is brilliant, he is my unofficial vacuum cleaner.  The children can throw as many half eaten mouthfuls on the floor as they please, I can always rely on Otis to silently work his way through the mess.  He is keenly tuned in to mealtimes, the trigger is seeing me bring out the highchair tray for my youngest.  Even before I have finished clipping it on, Otis has taken up his standard position as close to the front of the highchair as he can get.  He sits in what must be the most uncomfortable set up for a large dog, he is cramped underneath the table between the highchair and the central pedestal of the dining table but he is waiting……patiently……for food.  Sometimes, if we are having one of his favourites, he cannot control himself and he will start to drool rather unattractively on to my lovely new rug.  This is not so endearing and if this happens he gets told off and tail between his legs he mooches off to his bed, however, like all Labradors, he is an optimist and 10 seconds later he is back, standing guard underneath the table.  I have also caught my eldest and Otis sharing food – biscuits usually, perhaps not the most hygienic but it all adds to strengthening the immune system.

Otis has also proven his worth when it comes to clearing up less than delightful delicacies.  Please stop reading if you are eating.  Because, you see, part of being a Labrador is to have the ability to find EVERYTHING a gastronomic pleasure, this extends to masticated spat out food, snot laced biscuit remnants and on occasion – sick (milky or with lumps).  Most of the time I turn a blind eye, I am secretly overjoyed that I don’t have to deal with too much yucky stuff to clear up – this is especially true with the vomit.  When our children were very tiny, watching the avid licking up of milky spew wasn’t too bad,  Otis relished this, he would lie on the floor for hours, licking away at the carpet, eager not to let one ounce of regurgitated breast milk go to waste.   However as the girls have got older the milky sick stage has passed to be replaced with that bile ridden lumpy chunder we all dread.  It smells bad, it looks terrible and it’s nightmare to clean – where do you start?  Otis! Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I have often called upon his services to remove the offending partially digested contents of my childrens’ tummies.  Yum.

But we don’t just measure our dog’s worth by how much vomit he can eat, he provides endless entertainment.  He is the short horse that willingly if clumsily can be ridden around the kitchen, he is the funny shaped teddy bear that barks at unknown visitors, he is our hairy third child who does tricks for food (perhaps something we could train our human children to do).  Otis also provides us with everything we need to teach biology – more specifically –  his bottom does.  Our eldest has a keen fascination with what comes out of his rear end, we have a game called ‘find the poo’ which we like to play in the summer.  I hasten to add that it was our eldest that started this game and so far she has yet to tire of it.  Child number 1 is the poo spotter, child number 2 has yet to start playing this game and we, the adults have the grand task of picking up any identified poo.  Whilst I admit it’s not a conventional game it certainly gets us all outdoors.  This game was especially relevant when it came to teaching her the difference between wee-wees and poo-poos.

So there we have it, our lovely Otis is an essential and much loved member of our family – vacuum cleaner, sick mopper upper, biscuit sharing child entertainer, where would we be without him? Probably drowning in cookie crumbs, half eaten food and dried up vomit and I’m absolutely certain about one thing – my carpets wouldn’t still be cream.

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