I’m not the best of dog owners. Fletch gets an extraordinary amount of love, fuss and balls thrown for him (we’re lucky to have a big garden) …but he doesn’t get out and about anywhere near as much as he should do. He’s not the best behaved of animals (my fault) and he’s been very viciously attacked a few times (not my fault), and I’ll admit that I’m lazy and unmotivated when it comes to taking him out. But I’m also wrecked with guilt over it and I’m vowing to make an immediate change.
More Than have created a Bucket List for dogs…it seems silly at first but when you consider that most pet owners get into the rut of morning and evening walks with weekends at the park, it’s nice to think that they’re encouraging people like me to enrich the lives of their pets. Some of the items on the list are utterly banal and others are just ridiculous, but there’s the odd one in there that might inspire people to do more with their pets…and enrich their own lives at the same time!
This is their list (I’ve scored through Fletch’s achievements and added my comments in italics)
- Sit on front of a roaring fire – put the word ‘gas’ in the middle of ‘roaring fire’ and Fletch has achieved this…but I think that’s cheating
Swim in the sea Go mad in the snow Do the ‘Beethoven shake’ and soak everyone around you– any dog that’s ever jumped in a puddle or had a bath has done this… Dig up a flower bed– Fletch once disappeared for ages at my sister-in-law’s house…when we found him he was happily chewing on the 50 year old lavendar plant that he’d dug out of her flower bed. He also likes digging holes around any big branches that fall off our trees…it seems that if they’re too big to move he tries to bury them instead…it’s amazing fun! Apparently… Have your own spot on the sofa– since my dad moved out, Fletch has his own armchair…spoilt! Go on a run/cycle ride with your owner– I used to take Fletch out on ‘runs’ with me when I felt like I could handle him pulling me. He loves it, but he can’t quite get the hang of staying at a constant speed and not stopping to sniff every damn thing along the way. Taking him for a cycle ride would be the act of a crazy person
- Attend a family picnic – food…on the floor…hmmm, this would be incredible fun for Fletch, but not so much fun for me
- Help your owner bag a date – I very much doubt that dogs would worry about this kind of thing!
Cheer your owner up when they are down– Fletch knows when I’m sad…and I’m sure that most other dogs are sensitive to their people
- Visit a different continent – I’d love to take Fletch to France…I think this one warrants a blog post all to itself *pending*
Roll in a really stinky, muddy puddle– show me a dog that doesn’t do this, given the opportunity
- Ruin a pair of slippers or shoes – I’d really prefer it if fletch DIDN’T do this in his lifetime
Sleep in your owner’s bed– not only does he sleep in my bed, but he stays there even after I’ve gone to work! It’s quite unfair! Wake your owner up with a big wet, stinky kiss– every morning and every time I fall asleep on the sofa Chase a cat in a dream
- Learn another language (so you can at least say ‘sit’ in two languages) – Okay, so now I want to teach him French…but I’m fairly sure it’d just confuse him even more than he already is
- Join in a football game in the park – no, no, no…I can barely stand his embarrassing antics as it is, without him stealing (and bursting) someone’s football
- Meet a famous dog (such as Pudsey) – Fletch is (far too) happy to meet ANY dog, let alone a ‘famous’ one…but it’d be cool to say “You know that dog that won Britain’s Got Talent? Yeah? Well my dog tried to hump that dog!”…
Try your paws at dancing– not a huge leap of imagination to see how they got from Pudsey to this…I haven’t started teaching my dog a dance routine (and wouldn’t) but he gets terribly agitated when my sister and I dance around the house and he’s always jumping up us and yapping. To me, that counts as joining in Learn to speak English (or at least convince your owner that you can howl words)– Fletch might not understand everything I say, and he definitely doesn’t act like he understands me most of the time, but it’s amazing what random stuff he does seem to be paying attention to Get filthy within 30 seconds of a bath– every dog…
- Howl along to your favourite song
- Ride in an open top car – I’m NOT hiring a car…
- Learn to skateboard – not all dogs are willing to jump on a skateboard, and it’d be pretty easy for them to get hurt
- Have a personalised Christmas stocking – he’d only shred it…
Show the postman who’s boss– Fletch shows EVERYONE who rings the doorbell that he’s boss…he even barks when a doorbell rings on the TV Try to follow a squirrel up a tree– up a tree, into a hedge, into the road…he’ll chase those squirrels everywhere, which is why he always stays on his lead!
- Be a ring bearer – do you want to utterly ruin your wedding? Yes? Then have my dog as a ring bearer
Go to work with your owner– okay if you’re self-employed, have a good dog or an understanding boss, but most workplaces aren’t the best environments for dogs Have your own Facebook/Twitter account– I thought it’d be funny to upload pictures and say ‘Woof!’ on a few people’s walls…the reality of it is a barely used account that is only really useful for when I want to tag my dog in pictures Bound through a forest– he bounds EVERYWHERE
- Have a personalised kennel – he doesn’t sleep outside, ergo he doesn’t need a kennel, personalised or otherwise
- Go on a boat and get your sea legs – a barge holiday would be fun. Trying…but fun!
Play Frisbee on the beach– Frisbees, no…balls, yes
- Receive your own birthday card – dogs do NOT care about cards
Steal someone’s lunch when they’re not looking– every time he gets the chance Create a diversion and steal another dog’s dinner– he steals the cat’s dinner at every possible opportunity
- Watch an entire episode of ‘The Washing Machine’
- Eat doggy ice cream – I had to Google this…it doesn’t seem easy to get hold of, but if I saw it in a pet store then I’d get it as a treat. I’m a bit sad like that…
Receive a doggy birthday cake– this is FAR more like something a dog would be interested in on its birthday…forget cards, it’s cake all the way!
- Run a doggy marathon – a sponsored walk with lots of other dogs might drive Fletch utterly bonkers (literally!) at first, but it’s something I’d like to do with him. As well as getting some exercise and having fun, it might be another step along the path of getting him to ignore other dogs
Rip stuffing out of a cushion– Fletch has only ever ripped up one cushion…unfortunately it was a sofa seat cushion *sigh* Unwrap birthday presents– he loves unwrapping presents…he also loves finding hidden presents before I’ve had a chance to wrap them Watch Lassie on TV– not Lassie, but he loves nature programs, and his favourite film is 101 Dalmations
- Be in a family portrait – this would be a lovely idea if I could get him to sit still
Have a stand off with your own reflection– he tries to tease his reflection by eating treats in front of it… Have a favourite local pub– our local pubs don’t allow dogs inside, but my friends and I visited a dog-friendly pub while on holiday, and Fletch made friends with EVERYONE Star in a YouTube video
- Sleep in a doggy boutique hotel – I’m lucky to have my family to help me look after Fletch when I’m staying away, but I don’t really like the idea of him being in a kennel or staying in a stranger’s home…I’m not sure what I’d do if I had to leave him with someone I didn’t know while I was away! Nevertheless, I’m not sure many dogs enjoy time away from their people so I’d say that missing out on this isn’t missing out on much
In his life, Fletch has also: met horses (he was keen when they were on the other side of a field, but not so keen when they were leaning over the gate and sniffing him!), been away on holiday with another dog (Fletch hoped it’d be a naughty weekend…but he was very VERY wrong), shared a bed with the love of his life (Sally, a golden retriever…unfortunately, she didn’t love him back, but she did tolerate him in her bed), raced a whippet (and lost), been herded by a sheepdog (despite doing a pretty rubbish impression of a sheep), gotten muddy paw prints in every room of the house, and on every bed (an aspiration of any self-respecting canine), drunk doggy beer, and climbed a castle (okay, so it was only the one at the top of the Lickey Hills, but it still counts!)…
…but one of the things he hasn’t done, is go out camping in Old Red…and I’ve never had the joy of living in a camper van with a dog…
So that’s one more thing for both of our lists!