When you can’t keep your tiny dog under control!


El Comandante was a proper pain in the ass last weekend. We were traveling to London for Easter celebrations and a bit of downtime to write. I needed to check some facts as part of my next book is set in London so it seemed like a great idea to spend some time there.

Our dog is convinced it’s all about him, though. As soon as we got on the train, he jumped in one of the window seats, ready to watch the world go by. I tried to explain to him that that wasn’t his seat. I told him I was very sorry that I hadn’t been able to get him his usual due to my late booking but that I’d reserved another one especially for him. I always put my coat on his chair and he jumps on straight away but last week, he wasn’t having any of it. When I tried to remove him, he growled at me so I left him to it in the silent hope no one would arrive with that particular seat number. Buddy was a good boy, as usual. He lay down under the table and fell straight into a blissful sleep.

Unfortunately, after the first stop, a man walked up to us. “Excuse me, ” he said. “I believe someone is sitting in my seat.” He stared at the dog with a mixture of amusement and mild annoyance. El Comandante ignored the man, blatantly turning his back to him. I tried to negotiate with the passenger, selling the original isle chair I’d reserved for El Comandante. He was nice but politely declined. “I’d really like the window seat if you don’t mind,” he said.

And so it began. I lifted my dog of his seat. He doesn’t like to be picked up so he got grumpy and showed his teeth to both of us. When I put him in his own seat, he jumped off immediately, straight into the lap of the intruder who took his place. He sat down as if there was nothing strange about sitting there and continued staring out of the window with a smug look on his face. The man in question seemed rather taken aback by his action. I tried and I tried but nothing could keep El Comandante away from his window. After a while, I think the man sensed my desperation and lack of ability to keep my own tiny dog under control and moved to another seat.

Finally, El Comandante fell asleep. Until the food cart came by, selling bacon rolls, croissants and beverages. It was the bacon smell that woke him up and when I didn’t buy him one, he watched the cart roll away with the most hurtful expression I’ve ever seen and started howling like I was physically mistreating him. It was the most awful noise. Heads turned. I had no other choice but to buy him one. He took great care in consuming his meal, making sure none of the bread was swallowed. That, he spat out on the floor and Buddy, who’s already overweight, ate it, along with his own bacon roll.

A little later, a young boy entered the carriage. “Look mommy, it’s a doggy. Can we sit here?” El Comandante looked up and exposed his teeth immediately but the kid was super excited, even when I had to hold my dog back for fear of snapping at him. His mother looked worried. “Let’s go find another seat, she said. “I’m sure there’s lots of other places to sit in the train and the doggy looks tired.”

Upon arrival at St Pancras, I had another challenge to deal with. Buddy, our good boy, is terrified of changing surfaces. When exiting the carpeted train, he panics when the surface changes underneath his feet and will immediately go flat, frog style. I have to pick him up and drag both him and my suitcase along until we’re outside.

El Comandante had no sympathy for his brother’s nervousness.  He pulled the lead so hard that it slipped out of my hand and that gave him the perfect opportunity to run after the poodle he’d been eyeing up all journey. Within a split second, he was gone, leaving me to run after him with twelve kilos of dog in one hand and twenty kilos of luggage in the other. I only caught up with him outside the train station because the poodle had left in a taxi. He was looking lost and heartbroken next to the taxi stand, oblivious to the fact that I was furious and out of breath. Then he lifted his leg and casually pissed on someone’s bag.

When we arrived at the house two hours later, I was exhausted and quite ready to kill him. But there were two really big dogs there, running around, defending their territory. He looked lost and once again, I forgave him. I opened my arms and he jumped in, burying his face in my neck.



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