I can quite see why moving house is up there in the top ten Big Stresses. We accept the anxieties of getting your electricity hooked up at the new house the day before you get cut off at the old house, and oh what a shame, you can’t do that last minute vacuum through as there isn’t any power. And the tensions caused in relationships when one partner asks what they can do to help, and when told, goes and does something completely different. But what put the cherry on top of our cake was the neurotic pooch.
Confused and whining he attached himself to my ankle, tripping me up as I struggled up the stairs with laden boxes. Although he clearly didn’t like the new house much, he refused to go outside. At any time.
When everything was done that had to be done, and we were falling asleep on our feet, the dog still refused to go out for a last pee. So we went to bed, leaving the sliding door open so he could choose his moment.
But we were no sooner asleep than we were awoken by little Einstein (who previously had always gone eagerly to his own bed in his own bedroom – i.e, the laundry) jumping up to whine in our faces. So I got up and took the little dog outside. He cowered by the sliding door while I stood in the yard freezing in my pyjamas, lifting one leg and going ‘ssssssssss’ in the hope that the dog might get the idea. But no luck, so I went back to bed.
At intervals during the night the patter of tiny paws were heard clickety-clicking their way up the passageway to the bedroom, where Einstein settled contentedly keeping us awake with the slurping sounds of him licking himself.
Eventually, tired and irritable, we all got up.
The second day was almost a repeat of the first, with the dog never out of sight. While boxes were being unpacked in the kitchen, he sidled over to his bed watching balefully out of one eye, just in case we should do a runner and leave him in this terrible place. When we needed to go out, we felt obliged to take him in the car with us, but he declined the invitation and ran up to the car then away from it several times before being lifted unceremoniously into the back.
That night we kept the bedroom door closed. But the whining and scratching forced Vaughn out of bed once again to give the little dog a bit of reassurance. This was repeated several times and reminded me why nature designs us to have our babies when we are young and can cope with broken nights.
By the third day, the dog was beginning to get the message and actually went outside for a big session, thankfully not on the tiny patch of artificial grass, which would shortly have to be removed. We decided it would be safe to leave him home alone for a short while. However, on our return, we found he had pulled the cords off all the downstairs vertical blinds. The high pitched noisy yelping that greeted us indicated only that the little dog was unrepentant and quite certain we were as pleased to see him as he was to see us.
The excitement drew the neighbours out to check we weren’t killing the creature. One lady said she had a dog like ours once. He lived for 28 years. Clearly she never moved house during that time.