Tuesday, June 21, 2022


I have never lived with a dog and I have never wanted a dog.  Dave, however, is different. He has done both. And since our cat Chione died he has been angling to get a dog. I have resisted, but since getting to know one or two dogs and liking them, I reneged and said that if he wiped it’s feet when it came in from a muddy walk, he could have a dog.

Dave’s response was that he does not wipe his own feet so why would he wipe the dog’s? He frequently gets mud on the carpet. I hate housework, so anything that makes more when it’s unnecessary, is very annoying. He never even thinks about wiping his feet, and it’s always puzzled me. Having lived with him for more than 50 years, I finally solved the puzzle one recent Sunday when I was sitting in Quaker Meeting and my mind was wandering. I was brought up on a farm and when you came in the house you either wiped your feet or took off your wellies. Dave was brought up in a shop. To get into his house he had to walk through the shop. Who wipes their feet when they’re walking from a city street into a shop?

[I need to interrupt the story here to tell you that this seemingly unspiritual thought in Meeting did lead on to spoken ministry. Having felt bewildered and enraged by his barbarous threshold behaviour for all of our married life I could now see an explanation. The ministry was that everyone has their story, and we should find out what it is in order to understand their behaviour, rather than making damning judgments because they do things that baffle or annoy us.]

Back to the dog. A friend with an adorable dog recently came to see us and asked Dave if he would like to have the dog to stay while she went on holiday. She knew my objection, winked at me and nudged Dave and said ‘You could prove to Sue that you can wipe his feet.’

Photo by Michelle

He asked if I’d mind Snoopy coming to stay and I knew how much he’d enjoy it, so I said OK.

And I have to tell you that Snoopy is the best advert for dog-kind that I have ever come across. He is quiet, obedient and affectionate. And Dave has also been impeccably behaved, washing the dog’s feet after the only muddy walk they had. But the weather has been dry, and it’s summer. What would it be like in the winter?

Is Dave going to go to this trouble then?

Snoopy has now gone, and he’s not there to make a fuss of me when I go downstairs for my first mug of tea in the morning, or when I come home from a bike ride. I can certainly see why people like dogs, but I think my objection boils down to this: having had family living with us for so much of our married life and now it’s just Dave and me (which I like), I don’t want to go back to being responsible for a dependent’s welfare. 

But Snoopy is a sweetheart, and I wouldn't be surprised if he came to stay again.

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