I am the proud owner slash parent of one canine and feline (for those who don’t know, that’s a dog and a cat), but whenever I need to travel I have to leave them with someone. This time I’ve been forced to separate them from each other and have them babysat individually: my cat Moira is with a friend and my dog Smiley is with my grandmother.
And now, approximately a week into our exchange programme at Bournemouth University, I’m missing them terribly. I do know that they’re fine because I keep getting messages about them, but it somehow doesn’t quite do it.
On our first Sunday here, I decided I’d go for a walk on the beach in the morning, just to appreciate the sunrise (and the biting cold wind). Along with the cold breeze (if you could call it that) there were amazing views of the seagulls out for their daily rituals and the dog owners also out for what I think was a weekly ritual morning jaunt cum special outing.
A little later in the day, I met up with my friends. As we roamed around Bournemouth town centre, they became extremely exasperated with me because my attention was on each and every canine I saw; from a Great Dane or an Alaskan husky to a Westie or Scottie.
After a point I just could not hold back my itchy fingers anymore and abandoning them (in body as well), I approached a sweet couple who were enjoying an ice cream. The Labrador with them was only too happy to get sudden attention and TLC (tender loving care) – once I had asked permission of course – and enjoyed receiving it as much as I enjoyed giving it.
Through the course of the day, I continued to make sudden exits from the group to go and lavish my attention on some poor unsuspecting canine. I would spot a dog as we were exiting a store or waiting for someone to catch up, and I’d just squeak the word “doggie” and dash off to pet it, leaving my friends then to search for me. As I scratched the ears and jaw and rubbed the back of the dog, I’d make small talk with the owner about what I was doing in Bournemouth. Then after a few minutes I’d say thank you and walk away smiling to join my now exasperated group members.
I was happy for a bit that day, but I do still miss my dog.