Pups and poo: ideal breeding ground for love


A DAD'S LIFE:We have a fresh batch of mewling balls of cuteness, writes ADAM BROPHY

THE POOR auld dog is in love. Her beau is a shih-tzu who lives about a hundred yards down the hill. He’s the local hood, loves lying in the middle of the road, eyeing you disdainfully as you drive up, refusing to move and allow you by until his owner hollers at him to shift it. Then, slowly, he ambles to the side, occasionally taking his time to cock a leg on a tyre.

Our poor pet is smitten. She is as pretty and naive as he is all attitude. She pants around him, batting eyelashes. He walks the hill like it’s his. She’s his girl and he knows it. If he could, he’d sit on my wall, challenge me to move him along, he’d have the pouch of Old Holborn out and be tweaking his collar.

Last autumn, under cover of darkness, she slipped away for a canine rendezvous. Mickey, the James Deane mutt’s owner, accompanied her back up from her dalliance. “Looks like ye’ll be having puppies for Christmas,” he said. And we did.

When they were born, the da came around for a sniff, but at that time she wanted nothing to do with him and banished him out of the garden with a snarl. He acted nonchalant but I could tell his feathers were ruffled. We want to feel important around babies, us boys, but really we know when proceedings reach a certain stage we’ve served our purpose.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe now she’d kick this young fella, this shoulder-rolling swagger hound to touch. Maybe hook up with another dachshund, settle down into respectability. Have pedigree pups, the sort that would get into the right schools, not sniff glue and set fire to warehouses.

Within weeks, up to my ankles in pup poo, I had resolved that the promise of sleek purebred pups was not enough to put up with the relentless binning of sodden newspaper and the stench of faeces from the utility room. We would have her snipped and that would be that. No more local pimp boyfriend, no more nothing, just peace and quiet and clean utility room floors.

Of course, the pups grew up, got fluffy like the da and long like the ma, and charmed the hearts of all around them. A 10-minute walk on the beach became an odyssey of poking children and cooing mothers.

The pups grew and found owners and we decided not to snip, but to bide our time and maybe a few years down the track we would allow her some quality time with Saturday Night Fever dog and rekindle her love. Next time around we would keep one of the super splendid friendly fluffballs for ourselves and spread the love among the many who had put in requests after seeing the first batch.

We thought we could manipulate this West Side Story romance for our own benefit. We figured without the intensity and determination of young love. Once her poor kids were out of the way our brazen hussy was free once more to chase down Studly from the hill.

We sussed her plan. When the time came we put her under lock and key, gave her a strict talking to about morals and responsibility. She looked us straight in the eye and nodded. We trusted her; she seemed to have grown up, put the perils of youth to her back.

One day our bedroom window stood open. Although she had been under house arrest for the duration of her potential parenting season, she sensed an opportunity and slipped away at the first sign of blue skies. We realised her absence almost immediately, but still too late.

The two were locked in a Shakespearean embrace as I ran hollering down the drive with a bucket of water to cool their ardour. Their passions dampened, I prised them apart. Literally. They were stuck. On each other.

And so, nine weeks later I have a fresh batch of mewling balls of cuteness who will take their time to realise the bathroom is outside. I’ve renewed acquaintance with the rubber gloves and bucket. For this to happen once could be considered carelessness, twice, well . . .

The kids (mine) squeak and exclaim. We are keeping one this time. The ma throws her puppy eyes at me as if to say, “What could I do? I was young and in love.” Vet for you next week my girl.

I look at my girls and think, for the first time, I’ll be able to handle them as teens. No bother.