Monday, July 12, 2010

Tavern thoughts

P1010695To paraphrase the BBC Dickensian parody Bleak Expectations, today was cruelly kippered by the car dealer. I called him yesterday to a) confirm delivery first thing today; and b) confirm he had received my new phone  number and delivery address instructions. That done, I expected to be able to meet friends for lunch and get on with other business.

After sitting around for a few hours, I called him at 11am to find that the car hadn’t been collected from its MOT on Friday and so wouldn’t be delivered till later that afternoon and I would get a call when the driver departed. Somehow this didn’t occur to him on Sunday.

Around 4pm, I was feeling rather like I’d been had, when all of a sudden the doorbell rang. The driver had arrived with the car, but had not been told of the updated phone number or of the delivery directions. D’oh.

For our final dinner in London, I took Munson up to the Ealing Park Tavern again and met Chris in the courtyard over another summery jug of Pimm’s. Two ladies stopped to admire Munson, one saying that she was being given “a dog like that – is he an Akita?”

I told her that the northern breeds were all quite different in character and temperament, and that she would have a lot of work ahead of her. If you’ve got a particular breed in mind, then knowing what they look like and something of their requirements would be helpful. I’m painfully aware that so many malamutes and their cousins end up in pounds as their providers fail to provide them with the exercise, discipline and general attention they need, so I’m getting much more pointed in my remarks to people who don’t seem up to the challenge. Only a few weeks ago I spoke to a guy whose brother had a malamute that was now howling and chewing the furniture. I asked how much exercise he gave the dog. “He used to walk him an hour every day after work but he got bored by that and went to the pub instead.” “How do you think the dog feels locked up all day? What do you think the reason might be for this?”

The two women kept turning around to our table to coo at Munson: “He’s so well behaved. Did he have special training?”

“Yes, he went to puppy school and intermediate obedience classes … but he was also intensively socialised with people and dogs for his first few months, and he gets one-two hours of real off-leash exercise every day. You do all that and then you get this” – I waved towards Munson who sits and drops under the direction of a single finger.

I think it all went sailing over their heads.


  1. Shudder - Amazing how often I have the same conversation about Siberian Huskies and the need to burn their abundance of energy. I actually worry sometimes that having well behaved Sibes could be bad because people think that it is "natural." It is natural - if you run and socialize them every day the way they are meant to be.

  2. I agree with you about people not knowing how much attention dogs need. I know it well because I've volunteered for a kennel that takes strays and unwanted dogs, and once we had an Akita who had ripped out a heater from a wall.
    This apply to any breed, I've lost track of how many "boisterous" labradors or border collies we've had!

  3. Well done!

    BTW, thanks for making me sit here drooling for a Pimms!