The Mutt’s Nuts: Part III

Good things come in 3’s, right? A BTL sandwich, Alvin, Simon and Theodore, 3 French Hens… And now we have the final instalment of Frank’s Nutts: the trilogy. And what a journey its been. There have been tears (mostly from me) dramatic action sequences (courtesy of Frank) and not to mention a plot line with more predictability than an Eastenders Christmas special.

Here’s the tally so far and bear in mind we’re only on Day 5 post op….

Monies spent on Elizabethan Collars: £36 (3 units)

Rolls of parcel tape used: 2

Visits to the Vets: 3

Scarred calves: 4

Wrecked hall walls: 2

Other dog walkers’ sniggers at Frank’s ‘accessorised’ collar: 2

Tipped over pushchair whilst toddler was in it: 1

Intense feelings of dislike when the Vet told me Frank’s got to wear the collar until next Friday: OFF THE SCALE.

Ok, so you get the message. Its been a tough few days. Why did no one tell us it was going to be this hard? It’s like having a newborn baby again. Everyone’s all smiles and encouragement but really they’re thinking ‘those 2 don’t have a fricking clue what they’ve let themselves in for. Lets catch up with them in a year’s time when they’ve got the hang of it.’

I can only hope Frank eases up on his assault and settles into wearing the collar (who am I trying to kid?) If he breaks this third collar, my husband suggested we create one ourselves using a baby swimming ring. I suggested that if he busts it we take him out to the A3 and leave him there. 

Next week does not bode well – a whole 5 days to get through before the collar comes off. Thank god for wine. And chocolate. 



Frank: Pretending to be asleep, all the while planning his next attack on the collar




The Mutt’s Nuts: Part II

Ok, all our good intentions have gone out the window. Frank’s balls are off. Him running off for miles across the park to sniff a female dog’s genitals and the nightly romancing of his vet bed just got too much. I made the appointment, bullied my husband into agreeing and the deed was carried out yesterday.

And boy do we know about it. It’s not that he’s groggy and feeling a bit sorry for himself – the issue is that he’s now got a weapon of mass destruction attached to his head which gives him the spacial awareness of a boiled owl.  Legs, door frames, corners of tables, even my neck all bear the scars of this bloody ‘elizabethan collar’ and the worst thing is, this is only day one.

We didn’t even make it to 9am with the first collar. After approximately 7 minutes’ frenzied cavorting in the garden he managed somehow to split it, making him look like an excitable swiss army knife. A visit to the vet and £12 later we had a new collar and a new tip: masking tape  – apparently this stops the collar splitting. We dont have any masking tape, so we’ve had to use parcel tape.

Here is a picture of my husband Frank-proofing Frank


Five minutes later, the job was done.


Frank looking suitably unimpressed here.

I’m worried about tomorrow. Will the parcel tape do the job? Will we have to move onto something more industrial? Will there be any paint left on the door frames in a week’s time? And more importantly, how will Frank recover any park cred now he’s been out in his ‘derelict’ head gear?!

The mutt’s nuts

I’m going to cut to the chase here. This post is about Frank’s balls. Now he’s 6 months old, opening gambits from other dog walkers have moved on from the rather jocular, ‘how many shoes have you got left?’, to a more serious, ‘oh, he’s a boy, are you getting him done?’

Answering this question correctly depends on which side of the ball- loping-off-fence the inquirer falls. There are those who believe that castration leaves your dog emasculated, timid and open to bullying. These people believe your dog will get laughed out the park not only because he looks like a lampshade. See exhibit a)

Picture 16

Sorry, that is an actual lampshade.

A 'space collar'. Cool name but no park cred.

A ‘space collar’. Cool name but no park cred.

That’s what I mean.

But, will also be made to suffer a number of jibes about their frizzy, Kevin Keegan-esque curls which apparently, after the op, replace their once lovely glossy coat.

Conversely, the castration camp believe that leaving fido’s crown jewels in tact will in turn leave you with a boisterous, sex-obsessed, walking hormone. A kind of furry Captain Flashhart that will try to shag anything with a pulse. Actually , it doesn’t have to have a pulse. The more inanimate, the better – one friend’s dog enjoys giving her rabbit fur-lined boots some loving.

And so I’m left wavering somewhere in the middle. I’m considering just getting one off for now and seeing how he goes. Is that cruel? Half of me does buy the argument that a dog pulsing with testosterone would be more likely to hump the soft furnishings, but surely we can teach him not to do that. That’s what we do with teenage boys isn’t it? We don’t snip their balls off as soon as they start taking an unhealthy interest in womens’ gymnastics on TV or salivating over Girls Aloud. (Two activities my husband still enjoys). In extreme cases, I must admit I am for teenage castration. For example, Bieber – I don’t expect we’d have to watch him gyrating about a swimming pool if he’d been ‘done’. Similarly, the op could have saved Harry from One Direction a whole load of hassle with his Mum’s friends, but overall I think it’s a bad policy.

And so Frank, for now, will be spared the indignity of the head collar, the curly coat and the general derision of the other dogs in the park. Until, that is, he starts eyeing up my Uggs.





Great Expectations

There are some things in life which prove elusive – true love, the  elixir of youth, a solid grasp of the Matrix… (as my results of this quiz prove ). But none of these are quite so slippery as Frank getting his paws on an obedience rosette.

My husband took Frank to class this week and returned with the devastating news that four rosettes had been awarded, of which none had made it on to Frank’s collar. He dropped this bomb nonchantly as we were eating dinner that night and really didn’t seem to understand why I was so indignant at this injustice. And after outrage, came the questions. Oh, I had hundreds of them. And when I concluded the interrogation (which would have made Carrie from Homeland look like she’s on an even keel), by hissing ‘I bet that Shih Tzu bitch Lucy got one, didn’t she?’ He pointed out that maybe I was taking this all a little bit too seriously.

Nonsense. I just happen to think that Frank’s being treated overly harshly. We had one unfortunate incident with Sue (the trainer’s) fleecy gillet and she just wont let it go (a bit like Frank wouldn’t). And as for  ‘Labradoodle gate’  –  a  lucky escape for Dougal really  –  we’ve all agreed that it wasn’t actually Frank’s fault. There’s only one thing for it, short of a public enquiry into examination grades, and that’s to suck it up. I’ll leave it to Billy to summize: when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Lucy did get a rosette. Smug bitch.

Leader of the pack

Puppy obedience was a real eye opener this week.

Frank and I started off proceedings by practising our ‘weaves’ –  for the uninitiated, this is a bit like country dancing with your dog. One puppy with accompanying owner are required to  zig-zag around other stationary puppies and owners, while Sue (the trainer) repeatedly shouts ‘left foot first’. This apparently is the first rule of obedience training. Whenever you set out, you must start WITH THE LEFT FOOT. I’m not sure what happens if you start with the right. Maybe your dog’s head falls off.

As Frank and I tentatively snaked down the line of puppies and owners, its true to say our minds were on different things. I was concentrating on not chanting ‘left, right, left, right’ out loud and Frank was trying his best to ignore me and sabotage the whole exercise.  He was doing his most perturbing move, which in our house has been named the ‘demented kangaroo’. Its designed to cause maximum embarrassment  and gives the impression that you have no control over him whatsoever (this is 100% true). Just as Frank was really getting into his stride, Sue appeared.

‘Let me take him’, she said and after a few shaky weaves, one which involved a minor fracas with Lucy, a Shitzu cross and a bit more kangarooing, Frank was delivered back to me. Sue’s verdict was simple,  Frank was trying to be top dog. Apparently, dogs are either constantly trying to re-establish their position in the pack, or, raise their standing within it. And turns out what I had thought of as Frank’s cute behaviour at home: his paw on my hand when I give him a treat, sitting on my lap when I sit on the floor, having a tussle with the lead when we go for a walk is actually Frank asserting his dominance. According to Sue, in that little head of his, he believes that these sneaky manoeuvres will end up with him calling the shots around here.

Thanks a lot Sue, when I look at my sweet pup now, all I can see is a canine Stewie Griffin. I’m worried about leaving my laptop alone in the same room as him, not because he’ll chew it, but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s going to try to arrange my assignation through it. (Although I do take comfort from the thought its going to be pretty tricky opening the thing with no opposable thumbs.) Nevertheless, Frank if you somehow have managed to work it out and you’re reading this (maybe on my iphone, oh God) I want you to know that I’m one step ahead of you. I’m on to you pal and remember, only I know where the liver treats are hidden. Mwah, ha, ha, ha.

Doggy style

So, in the park this week I saw a sausage dog in a parka.

And this got me thinking. If dog owners dress their dogs up in coats, what else do they dress them up in? A brief look on the internet proved that my question should have been what don’t they dress them up in…And it seems that this time of year – Halloween – is peak time for dog fancy-dressers. Especially in America. In fact, I’m not sure where I’ve been for the last few years (clearly living in a box) but the fact that New York has a huge, annual Halloween Dog Parade seems to have passed me by. New Yorkers go wild dressing their dogs up in all sorts of ghoulish (and just plain weird) garb. Its fascinating to watch, but a bit like a karaoke bar, should be observed from a safe distance.

And so, because I’m feeling a little lazy this week, I thought I’d bring you a few of my favourite dog halloween costumes. …


This is a brilliant. Maybe because my parents have a Golden Retriever I’ve got a real soft spot for these dogs, but whatever who couldn’t resist giving these lovelies a treat?


Scary Mary Pug


I love the expression on this dog’s face, in that tiny brain, he really is Superman.

And, er, that’s it. Told you I was feeling lazy.


I’m spending an awful lot of time in our local park these days. When I’m not running after Frank, apologising to people on his behalf, or picking up his steaming *hit (apart from once when I pretended to – it was in the long grass and really runny – don’t judge me), I find myself chatting to other park goers. And after a lengthy research period of approximately 4 weeks, I feel well-informed enough to make some sweeping generalisations about ‘park types’, specifically dog owner park types. So here goes.

1.The Sensibles. My first group are the kind of people you’d feel comfortable leaving your 6-month old baby with to go and retrieve a forgotten debit card  – a car journey away – to pay for a new set of tyres. (I am forever indebted to the kind folk at Kwikfit for their childcare abilites).  Their dogs (the Sensibles, not the men at Kwikfit) have  predictably ‘doggy’ names: Sooty, Taffy, Flint, Sandy and are easily identifiable breeds: Spaniels, Labs, Collies.

2.The Comedians. These guys are usually young couples, or blokes. And they’re not your usual boring dog owners, oh no, they have a sense of humour…. So there’s Arnie the Dachshund, Clay the Boxer and my personal favourite, Daniel the Spaniel.

3.Humanisers. These are dogs that could double as pretend mates, if ever you felt the need to brag about your social circle. Someone: so who’s coming to your party then? you: well, loads of people… Ted, Sophie, Hannah, Frank, Derek, Sid and Hector (admittedly, you’d have to be pretty posh to pull Hector off) . This group tends to polarise opinion, as some people have a problem in calling your dog what you could feasibly call your child (well I say people, I’m actually referring to  one friend, who wants a whippet called RENOIR, so I’m not sure she’s any authority on this)

4.Losers of senses. Or just losers for short. These people have just clearly lost their mind when it comes to their dog. This could be a temporary lobotomy when they chose its name – resulting in Giggles, Fuzzy Bear and Binkey. Or it could be  a momentary lapse in concentration at Pets at Home, which ends up in the purchase of a doggy tank top. What makes this group so special is that this loss of control is temporary, they are decent guys and what’s happened to them since owning a dog is a lesson in life for us all. Bad things happen to good people; we’ve all got the propensity to be losers.