Three weeks with Punky
Punky lives in London, England. He is a 5-year-old Yorkiepoo. He is small and very cute and attracts much attention from the city folk as he travels from place to place around London. When I visit London I rent a flat from his “grandfather.” His “grandmother,” who is my dear friend and traveling companion, Frances, joines me at the flat, and we pal around together for most of my stay.
This time, Punky was part of the equation. His “mother” owner had just had her first baby and needed a vacation from Punky who is a rather demanding sort of small dog. So the lucky little guy ended up with two old lady grandmothers in a flat with a balcony in a lovely section of the city.
London is great for its public transportation. There are busses, both single and double-decker, underground trains (the tube), regular trains, and lots of private taxies. All are very accepting of dogs on leashes. Punky’s favorite thing to do in life is to go out…anywhere. He watches us very closely as we dress, knowing that a door will open and planning to be the first one out of that door. It is when our shoes go on that he really goes mad, knowing that departure is imminent. He begins to bark or yap as it gets closer to the door opening. That yap can drive one nuts. His whole body quivers with expectation. Frances takes him on 2 walks a day but he could happily go on 4 or 5 more. He yaps while his leash is being snapped on and then grabs it and shakes it while growling. The door opens and he dashes out and down the stairs clutching the leash in his mouth and growling all the way to the front door of the apartment building.
Once out, he barks for joy for a while and then rushes off down the sidewalk marking any interesting territory where another dog has been before. That’s a lot of of area to cover in London. Then he sniffs and sniffs as he waddles along. He rarely pulls as he is not in a hurry. His next great joy is to have a ball thrown for him which he runs after but does not bring back directly to you but drops it nearby and then whines for you to get it and throw it again. Ball throwing can become irritating as he never tires of it nor does he make it easy on his dog walker.
When we go out and leave him behind, which we do fairly often, he knows that the door will open and wants to be first in line and so begins his barking. We keep a supply of “snackies” available and just before we open the door we lob them into his bed and rush out the door. As much as he longs to accompany us, the stomach rules and he rushes to his basket for the treats and we dash out the door thus eliminating the irritating barking. It has worked every time but he is a fast eater of treats and so we have to be well prepared to leave immediately or it won’t work.
He is a proper “little man” when we take him places with us. He rushes up and down the tube station stairs, enters elevators and hops on escalators with ease. On busses and trains he hops on laps and sits fairly quietly always alert and quivering slightly with expectancy. He does not bark.
As we 3 have been together for almost 3 weeks he has gotten used to both of us. Frances comes first in his world here, but he often refuses to move if I haven’t joined the group and he knows that I am coming. He is generous with his licks and kisses; equally. He hops from chair to chair to greet us happily in the morning. If I get up in the middle of the night he comes out of his bed to check on what is happening and then goes back to his own bed. He often goes to bed earlier than we do and will just get up and go into the bedroom and wait for his basket to be brought in so he can go to sleep. He comes from a healthful, organic and vegetarian home and loves fresh vegetables. His favorites are steamed green beans, broccoli and carrots but he will eat other ones. He gets rice and chicken just for him.
Today he is getting ready to return home as I will be leaving the flat for the US and Frances will be going back to her work and can’t keep him. So this morning we took our furry little friend with his curls into the pet parlour for his summer trim and nail trimming. Out came a different dog. His curls are gone, his little tufts of hair on his nose are no longer there. His ears appear larger and I could see his eyes clearly. He looked cute but more like a large rat. I know that he will feel much more comfortable as the warm days of summer appear in a London of variable weather but right now I miss that furry little guy. People still stop to fuss over him. One little girl from Saudi Arabia who sat across from us on the underground train leaned over to touch him, it was her first time to touch a dog. She had to ask permission from her mother first.
I will miss Punky. He has given a new dimension to my visit to London. He has found a place in my heart. Frances says that his barking “makes her mental” but he is so affectionate and part of her extended family and everyone reaches out to take care of him when necessary. Perhaps he will return to his grandfather’s flat soon. But for now he will return to his home and the new baby, Frances back to work and me back to home.