I feel a bit like I imagine reluctant fathers do. I love and adore Skye, but I also resent him just a little bit. He’s hard work; he’s sweeter than sugar, but that doesn’t stop him from being hard work. The world – our world – totally revolves around him. If the Sett was a television programme he’d be the guest star that totally upstages everyone the moment he appears. Has he widdled? Is he chewing something? Is it time to feed him? Would he like to play? Is he asleep? Is that poo a bit runny and has he got fleas? Seemingly there is no let up. And I’m worried that we’re not really very good parents.
TA has no such doubts. Each morning he puts on his knapsack (the Skyemobile) and walks a little bit further towards the West End with me. Today he introduced Skye to the smells of Borough Market before letting me go on to work alone. And here I sit, drinking my fifth cup of coffee, totally exhausted from the disturbed sleep and constant running after him. TA – as he promised – does the lion’s share: he takes care of the soiled newspaper, he gets up in the night when the pupster widdles, he arranges the vet visits. However, when TA gets up I wake. Every night this week I’ve had disturbing anxiety dreams about the pup. I’m supremely conscious that this is another mouth to feed and another set of responsibilities to shoulder. Skye is not yet responding to training – in fact, now that he knows he’s safe with us, if anything his behaviour is getting worse. More little accidents, more whining.
It’s fascinating the way he reacts differently to the two of us. TA is definitely a brother in paws. They wrestle and Skye chews on his fingers. I seem to have inadvertently acquired a higher status. I am den mother. I get shown a lot of belly and given a large number of licks. This means that already it is more difficult for TA to set rules and have them obeyed and now, against my wishes, his bed has been moved from the kitchen to next to ours. I feel like I have no control.
I tell TA, only half joking, if Skye doesn’t shape up and if TA can’t control him, I’m going to send that dog to the soap factory. And yet here I sit, sipping coffee, staring longingly at my second monitor and feeling homesick for the smell of pupster and the feeling of his fur. I've become a reluctant puppyfather.