I tell you, trying to find a job would be easy if I was a computer programmer or an engineer (and that isn't someone who walks up to machinery and says, "what's this engine 'ere?") I would be earning shed loads of money and have my pick of several billion vacancies. Even with a slightly more varied CV now I see maybe one job a day that I could apply for without having to bullshit my way through an interview, if I was fortunate enough to get one. The six jobs I have applied for in the last four weeks have yielded ZERO interviews and ZERO replies, even a 'You're 'aving a larf ain't you, we ain't giving you a job, not while we have holes in our arses' would have made me believe that I at least exist and am not a figment of an over-active imagination.
I don't tend to talk about the dogs too much, which considering I love them so much is surprising. I suppose I figure that if I was to really explain to you about the four of them, you'd probably wonder why we still have three of them and the fourth one, well, perhaps if he had his vocal chords removed... The thing is I have the dogs' Tumblr account which posts pics of them, at various ages, and while I'm happy to wibble on about all kinds of shit that most of you are not interested in, I rarely talk about the dogs.
Marley is also like Megan in that she winces; especially if she thinks she's in trouble and therefore gives the impression that we beat her at the drop of a hat. There is nothing more embarrassing than a dog wincing and pulling away from you when you're talking to other dog owners. It looks like we're really cruel to her; the last time she got a wallop (and as all dog owners will tell you, a dog wallop tends to be less hard than play fighting) she was about 3 (she's 7 now) and that was for attacking a Belgian Bassett. Bobby is her bette noir; he's a lovely dog, but we reckon he insults Marley in doggy language because the only other dog(s) she has a problem with are English Setters (not Red or Gordon Setters. In fact she positively loved an old Gordon Setter who died a couple of years ago), but that's Marley to a tee - she is brilliant with old dogs; she loves puppies, but everything between, especially for the first 4 years of her life, was classed as a threat. I think she's got out of that now. In fact, there are two wonderful Bearded Collies that go for a walk at the same time as we do at the moment - Dumble and Frodo - Dumble is lovely and a bit like Murray in that he loves cuddles and fuss. Frodo wants to play, all the time (and he's a year older than Marley) and he's a bit too much in her face and Marl doesn't like confident dogs; they bother her and she slinks off and goes for a mooch whenever there's a dog about that she can't control or bully. Frodo just wants to play and can't understand why this girl dog wants to avoid him.
There you have it: four dogs and yet Marley is the one that gets the most written about her and that's because she has considerably more going on with her. She was also the dog we took from the shelter on a whim rather than as a calculated decision. I'm just glad that's she's turned out to be a good dog because we agonised for over a year about whether we should get rid of her. But, saying that, I am horrid. When we had Meg and Giff they were such mild-mannered well behaved dogs (to the point where they were a little snobbish) and only really associated with the people and dogs they knew and if either of them were attacked or hassled by another dog I would get mega-defensive and probably accuse the dog's owner of not being in control. I positively love watching Marley get beaten up. I mean, if she was really being beaten up I would step in and break it up, but she's just being bitch slapped down by bigger and more confident dogs than her. Now, if the other three were set on that would be a different story entirely...
|Meg & Giff|
But anyhow, I now can't believe that I wanted to get rid of Marley; we've never had a dog who has been so totally devoted to me. The wife's two - Murray and Lexy - both love their mum passionately; but Ness and especially Marley turn to me for everything. I've also always been 'Dad' to all the dogs - they know 'Dad' rather than 'Phil', but to Marley I'm 'Daddy'...
They all have loads of names; Lexy is 'Stinker' or 'Ginger Pudding'. Ness is 'Minx' or 'Minxy Minx', she's also 'Evil Dog' and 'Nessington' (don't ask). Murray is 'Pantomime Dog', 'Poof', 'Moz' or simply 'the boy' and Marley is 'Marley Moo' 'Captain Catshit' 'Vile shit-eating hound' and a bunch of other things including 'shitbag', 'retard' and 'you fucking useless dog...' All of them answer to the term 'sausage', but I don't think I've had a dog that didn't answer to 'sausage'. In fact, I call most dogs Sausage, even dogs I've never met before. I think dogs like being called Sausage...
Other facts about these hounds of the apocalypse include: Lexy was 24 hours away from being put down when we saw her. We had already decided she was coming home with us before we found out that she was literally going to be put to death if we didn't have her. She looks a little like a Staffy and the kennels were choc-a-bloc full of unwanted Staffies and she just got lumped in with these doomed doggies. She's also a strange dog; she doesn't play and she growls at everything; but while her growls are all the same, we worked out pretty quickly that its her way of expressing herself. She has a strange bark. She doesn't behave on the surface like a traditional dog, but scratch beneath it and talk to people who have Bassets or Rotties and you soon discover that she is just like the dogs she comes from (but she still doesn't know how to play, bless her).
Marl, Moz and Ness all love to shag her. There isn't an intact dog in the house, but shagging boils down to a dominance thing, either that or Lexy is the Karen Gillen of the dog world (I'd like to think that because she's a red head it's the latter reason. And remember Lexy rhymes with Sexy...)
Ness came from Battersea sight unseen. When we lost Gifford, we decided to rehome and we'd had no joy locally so I contacted Battersea Dogs and we arranged to have Ness (who was 10 weeks when we got her and was obviously born in the dogs' home) without seeing her first. We took Meg down to London - she hated it - met this tiny bundle of teeth - Meg hated her - and brought her home. Ness hates cars; she threw up about 40 times on the way home and was dehydrated and poorly for her first 24 hours in her new home.
Murray was arranged. He came from a dodgy estate in Wellingborough (where, we believe Marley was found) and Murray rhymes with Worry and that appears to be what he does best. He's almost the spitting image in personality to Megan (both Collies), but where Meg didn't like the sound of her own barks, Murray is a noisy little shit at times - normally when his mum gets home or when he's bored and being a Collie, he gets bored a lot.
There's tonnes more I could tell you about them and Meg & Giff, but these 'tails' can wait for another day!