Revealing fact of the week – despite what we all learnt at school, dog years are not exactly one seventh of human years. Apparently they start off much less than that, then level off. So after six months, they’re about the equivalent of a ten year old child, and after a year, they’re about 15 years old, then reach full adulthood after a couple of years. So now you know.
And that ‘after a year’ thing, is important to this week’s update of bringing up Luna, because, as of the fifth of January, we were celebrating her first birthday. This in itself was quite a big deal, as Mrs E was anxious to make sure that Christmas was well out of the way before we got to Luna’s big day. Something about it being important that she didn’t get her presents muddled up. Seriously.
So, Luna was given her morning walk, some birthday tripe, and unwrapped a couple of presents from Mrs E. She’s got quite good at this unwrapping game, partly through significant amounts of practice (she had her own slot on the advent calendar) and unwraps her presents using both feet and her mouth. That’s Luna, not Mrs E, in case there’s any confusion there. Anyway, Luna got to unwrap her main present (seriously), and out of the wrapping paper emerged a large green rubber tube.
“Brilliant!” said junior emu #4, excited beyond his twelve years, “It’s a d**do!”.
which was a cue for one of his parents to give him a Very Disapproving Look, and for the other to muffle her laughter into her sleeve. At this point, #2, keen as ever to hone his own parenting skills, helpfully stepped in:
“Yep, he’s right – it looks exactly like a d**do”
At which point, a reasonably grown up family discussion takes place, at which we all agreed that a) we would not be using that word for the rest of the day and that b) henceforth Luna’s new toy would be called ‘The D’. Note that the grown up discussion was taking place separately to my wife, who still appeared to be cackling into her elbow.
So, anyway, Me and Mrs E went to work for the day, leaving Luna in the care of four doting boys. After a couple of hours, the first text arrived from Junior Emu #1, displaying a matter of fact communication approach that will stand him well in his chosen career in the medical profession:
“Luna’s had a bleed”
Which was kind of what we were expecting, as you’ll know if you read the last blog. This update was followed by an update from #3, who sees the whole dog ageing story slightly differently:
“Luna’s been bleeding. Finally a woman!”
Frantic calls made back home to agree that our fifth charge had indeed joined the boys in confirmed adolescence. Fortunately Mrs E, with the kindness of a doting mother, had arranged for old towels and wet wipes to be available at all times, and had drilled in the instructions for Luna’s arrival into womanhood with a military precision. And so it was that, with both of us still at work, Luna was taken out for her second walk of the day with a full escort of all four boys, who I imagine took charge of a paw-point each, a bit like the secret service running alongside a presidential limousine. They all returned home to deliver a further update from #1:
“Luna walk fine. Not jumped by any dogs at the lake.”
Since when, the dog walks have all been taken in ever more remote areas, or under the cover of darkness (not too difficult in Norfolk at this time of the year). And, instead of the cheery ‘good morning’, fellow dog walkers are asked immediately what sex their dog is, and if it’s a boy, whether he’s been ‘done’. And if it’s a ‘whole’ boy, my wife’s eyes narrow as she imagines a future suitor, and, more importantly, what the children will look like. I imagine something similar happened in the McGee household, when young Debbee brought Paul Daniels home for tea for the first time.
Meanwhile, Luna seems to be pretty relaxed about the whole process of ‘putting it about’. Mrs E returned from a walk today to describe Luna’s behaviour as ‘cocquettish’, which has made me both proud and ashamed at the same time. Apart from a slightly wider gait on her back legs, there’s really nothing different about the way that our dog actually looks, from three out of four angles. But when you look at her from the back, she’s not only looking for trouble, but she’s also broadcasting her enthusiasm for it at a level that I’ve not seen since that last embarrassing trip to Amsterdam, when (honestly) I took a wrong turn and found a completely different category of window dressing.
Having spent many years now perhaps overcompensating with other people, so that I always look ‘above the neck’, and so I could never be accused of objectifying any woman or man, I now end up catching myself when eyeing up my own dog’s genitals. Consequently, I look at any dog who does the same with an air of disdain. Have they no manners? Mrs E takes a more practical approach, and tells me that she spent some time in the park yesterday standing with one leg behind Luna, effectively blocking the view for an enthusiastic black lab. “Nothing to see here”, she no doubt said, a bit like the fireman with the megaphone in front of the blazing firework factory.
Anyway, we have about another week of this to look forward to, at which point apparently our dog becomes as fertile as a rabbit on IVF being coached by Peter Stringfellow. By all accounts, enthusiastic dogs have been known to break down fences in order to get to, ahem, Luna’s back door.
So wish us luck. Or, if you’re in the market for a cute puppy in a few week’s time, wish that we don’t have the canine equivalent of Paul Daniels roaming our streets.