Dog’s dinner

June 25, 2008

Little clouds were being chased across the sky by a bossy wind, the odd aeroplane swished silently over us and we noshed away on a delicious picnic, under our favourite tree in Brockwell Park on Sunday.

When we first moved here, I was somehow under the misapprension that it was called Broccoli Park, not Brockwell, and once the error was corrected by a hooting friend, some of the charm of the place was destroyed forever. But it’s still our favourite picnic spot, partly as it’s downhill all the way and you can stop in at the little Herne Hill Sainsbury’s en route to get all sorts of stuff that the children crave, which are normally on the banned substances list. They have discovered that I am softened up no end by the trek down the road carrying a picnic bag, rug, sandwiches, juice etc and, by the time they get me into the shop, I’m too knackered to remonstrate as they hurl apple and blackcurrant squash (yuck!), crisps (shudder) and biscuits (too, too yummy) into the basket.

This time, we’d picked up an enormous tub of humous and some crudites for dipping as well as the usual nasties, so I felt we were still on the wholesome end of the scale as we tucked in to the whole lot on our rug.

Just then, something big, beige and furry blocked out the light. It was a huge golden retriever, which had bounded over for a nice pat, I thought. How sweet. The children love animals and there were instant ‘ahhhhhhhhs’ – which then turned rapidly into ‘arghhhhhhs!’ as the dog ignored our attempts to stroke it and fell, instead, upon our picnic in complete ravening beast style. Within seconds it was tearing into our chicken sandwiches, hoovering up the salami and finally, outrage of outrages, sticking its vast hairy beige chops into our humous pot and scarfing up the lot!

By this stage, I had staggered to my feet and was shouting ‘off, off’ and being completely ignored by the beige eating machine, who had finished the crudities and was about to tear open the biscuits. The children, meanwhile, were whimpering as all their food disappeared into its slathering jaws. It turned its nose up at the apple and blackcurrant squash (even mad dogs have some standards, apparently) but everything else went – in moments. Then, as suddenly as it had bounded over, it raced away over the hill, wearing a Sainsbury’s bag round its neck, dragging the silver foil sandwich wrapper with it, and scattering the remains of our feast to the winds.

I looked down at the children, sitting in dog-slobbered debris, with their little bottom lips a-quiver. Right, I thought. The owner of this dog has it coming. It’s not the dog’s fault, of course – dogs are dogs, picnics are picnics and I know better than anyone that you can resist anything except temptation – but the owner should have kept a wild dog like that under control, on a lead, I fumed. It had snatched the bread out of my children’s very mouths!

I glared about crossly, scanning the horizon for signs of a mad sandy-coloured beast with a feckless human in tow. Finally, I spotted them – recognising the dog by its ‘I’ve eaten a hundred chicken sandwiches and a pot of humous’ bounce – and I strode off in martial mood, practicing terse complaints under my breath, like ‘you do realise your dog has eaten my children’s food. Can’t you keep an eye on it?’ My feisty moment lasted until I got within twenty foot of the owner, who’d sat down on a bench and was putting a complicated harness back on the dog. He then stood up, took hold of the harness, and picked up his white stick, which he’d propped against the bench for a moment. Then the two of them walked past me, the owner striding confidently with his trusty dog by his side – while the retriever stared right at me and gave a big, wide, doggy grin.

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  • Lindsay June 25, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I hope the children eventually cheered up. Hope blind man’s labrador was not sick on the floor when back home.

  • (Very) Lost in France June 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Oh dear DD, that reminds me of my blind English teacher. We thought we could take the mickey and eat our packed lunches during lessons but her guide dog could sniff out a sandwich at 50 paces. VLiF

  • The Dotterel June 26, 2008 at 3:22 am

    They know, you know (the dogs, that is!)

  • DulwichDivorcee June 26, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Hi Lindsay, thank you, yes, the children were fine once they realised it was a guide dog – they are more forgiving than me! Oh dear, I hope it wasn’t sick, poor blind man ….

  • DulwichDivorcee June 26, 2008 at 4:48 am

    VLIF, poor you, a fellow victim of guide dog hunger – hope it left you a few crumbs!

  • DulwichDivorcee June 26, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Hello Dotterel, you’ve got me very worried – what do they know? Who told them? Do you think it was Mr X (again!)? Not that I’m paranoid, you understand …..

  • MsCatCalls June 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I used to share an office with a man accompanied by a guide dog who was lethal at those little office party affairs when food was laid out on low tables … we would all dither about politely wondering who should snitch on the dog as it troffed …… oops too late , food all gone dog happy ….
    love the blog btw ..

  • DulwichDivorcee June 27, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Dear Ms Catcalls, lovely of you to drop by from your delicious blog. Do you think all guide dogs have this naughty teenage tearaway side to their dogsonalities? I’m beginning to think so ….A case of what the eye doesn’t see!

  • MsCatCalls June 27, 2008 at 2:04 am

    HI DD thanks for stopping by my blog , I must say the dog I shared an office with was splendid in other ways too , he would assess visitors to the office and make noises according to his views . Disconcerting for his companion , fun for me , the onlooker , as his opinions often tallied with mine . The barely audible mumbles were the best .

    Changing tack have you read ” Ask and it shall be given ” by Esther and Jerry Hicks , or similar title . I havent read the Secret , but the Hicks duo kept me afloat ( though not in the end financially !! ) on many a tricky day during my own marital trials . At the risk of incurring Mr Curtis comments . Of course he is right , but still , I recommend ….
    Hm this is turning into a guest blog .

  • rosiero June 27, 2008 at 5:15 am

    I had to laugh at the ending, though I am sorry for your children – it must have been upsetting for them. A dog-walking friend of mine has a dog who has food on its brain the whole time. It hoovers up any overspills from litter bins and even eats bits of bread thrown for the ducks or birds. It once came running back with an old leg of lamb bone!! My dog is prone to grazing on seaweed if on a beach, but so far, he has not munched anyone’s picnic.

  • DulwichDivorcee June 27, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Oh MsCatCalls, you are turning into a fountain of wisdom, have just spent a happy hour with the Hicks/Abrahams on YouTube and now surer than ever that the LV handbag is on its way ….thanks!

  • DulwichDivorcee June 27, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Hi dear Rosiero, your dog sounds so well-behaved and positively vegan in its ways, a credit to its owner! The girls were fine in the end, more horrid apple and blackcurrant squash (why do they make such things?)cheered them up in no time x

  • MsCatCalls June 27, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Oh it is on its way for sure , and if not , there is simply a fault in the way you are asking ?
    or perhaps whilst waiting you will discover there is a superior thing you desire even more ?
    Its all good anyway , as they say . And after all Common Sense does rule …..

    YouTube ? How does that work then ? I thought these people wrote books ? On bits of paper ? I am so out of touch , here in the north .

  • DulwichDivorcee July 3, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Hi Ms CC, this is the link to Esther and Jerry, just click and you should be transported into their world – faintly scary!