The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Monday, 16 September 2013

It's a Dog Owners life...

As I lay in bed, not enjoying the fact that Paul is up following yet another 5.30am wake up call from Sherlock, I wondered what happened to the life I had pre-dog.

Bracing myself for another day in the office with my new fur covered assistant, I could hear Paul downstairs urging Sherlock to let go of his foot for the sixth time in as many minutes.

Soon after, it was just me... and him.

Sherlock greeted me in his usual way, tail wagging furiously with a mouth full of as many stuffed toys as he could possibly fit in, all the while making a muffled woofy sound. It was clear he was excited, by his suddenly apparent boy-bits making an unwelcome and frankly all too frequent appearance.
...Just a little off putting over breakfast.

The two off us head off to work - myself wondering how many emails and answer phone messages will be waiting for me, Sherlock wondering how long it will take him to annoy me enough, that I finally give in and give him his pigs ear.
Never did I think that my life would rely so heavily on various bits of dead animal skidding around my feet.

I unlock the office door and crunch my way over what can only be described as a forest floor. Through the carpet of mud, leaves and bits of tree still covering the floor from yesterdays antics - Sherlock does his usual and heads straight for the shelf where I keep the office dustpan and brush - not that it even resembles that anymore; the brush has half the bristles it used to and the dustpan is bent and full of holes...

As I fire up the computer and flick the kettle on for the first of my caffeine hits, my eyes fill with the dust and mud particles that are catapulted in to the air as Sherlock throws both himself and the dustpan around the floor.

Oh... It's going to be one of those days is it?

I fling open the patio doors and Sherlock heads straight outdoors to see what dangerous things he can dig up and eat. But on the plus side, at least that keeps him occupied while I try to do the best job I can of sweeping the floor with the half eaten dustpan and brush.

Within minutes, he presents me with a piece of barbed wire, which is not only dangerous for him as I try to remove it from his mouth, but also for my poor hands.
After a long and tedious wrestling match, he finally lets go and his mouth is thankfully fine - unlike my poor hand, which now has three small but painful puncture wounds from the barbed wire.

I wonder how on earth he finds these things in an area I have gone over with a fine tooth comb to ensure it is a safe place for a delinquent puppy to burn off some of that relentless energy...
The mind boggles.

Then the phone rings. A customer.
It's always a challenge to concentrate on what someone is saying on the phone whilst trying to sound suitably proficient, all the time I have a 25kg Labrador dangling from my shoelaces. I suppose I just have to be thankful he is not humping my leg - though I am in no doubt that this will be the next phase of puppy ownership I have to look forward to.

The only way to prize him off my shoelace is to point my leg, complete with dog hanging from shoe, out of the patio door and then pull my leg back in slowly as I shut the door on my lace. Then I just pull continuously for several minutes until he finally bores. This seems to work quite well and I am becoming quite the pro at this nifty manoeuvre.

Sherlock tilts his head sideways and looks at me with those butter wouldn't melt eyes through the glass. For some strange reason I find myself opening the door and inviting him back inside. So now with both legs on my desk, one on either side of my keyboard, I begin answering the first of the twenty-eight emails I have to get through. I wonder, at what point did it become necessary in my job description to become a contortionist...?
Still, I am grateful that the person I am emailing can't see me at this moment - or what I ate for breakfast.

One email responded to - twenty-seven to go...
Somehow I find my mind wandering. I wonder why new puppy owners aren't entitled to maternity leave. After all, all human babies do is sleep and eat. They can't even move. Puppy's spend their first months unwittingly trying to kill themselves and driving their owners to drink! Maternity leave should be mandatory for puppy owners!

Sherlock settles down on his bed and finally I am able to put my legs on the floor instead of wrapped around my ears. I'm comfortable and all is calm... for now.  

The phone rings again. 
Now, I'm honestly not sure which is worse; trying to have a sensible conversation on the phone with dog hanging from shoe? Or trying to have a sensible conversation on the phone with head hanging out of window, whilst trying desperately to escape the eye-watering smell that Sherlock has just released in to my office.
He snores peacefully away while I am gagging into my sleeve...

Eventually, he awakes and decides that I am now a giant chew toy. At this point no part of me is safe. Apparently I am raising a crocodile, not a puppy. Finally I give in and shove a pigs ear in to his mouth. Off he trots with a satisfied look on his face.

I look at the clock... 9.37am. Joy.

Only five and a half hours of this to go before I finally get to go home and kick off my shoes, remembering of course that I have only seconds to pick them up and hang them on the puppy proof high level shoe rack before they get eaten.

Then I will make my self a nice cup of tea and sit on my once red sofa - which is now covered in rust coloured fur. I will bury my feet in to my once cream carpet, which is now a colour I can't even describe and I will spend some time trying to remember when I didn't smell of dog, my clothes weren't covered in paw prints and my socks weren't covered in dog slobber.

Overwhelmed by it all, I wonder again what happened to my life pre dog...  But then I look in to those beautiful puppy eyes...

...Do I really care?

Then I nuzzle up to his soft furry cheek and he seems to sense that now would not be the best time to chew my ear...

...What a good boy he is :0)


  1. Sandra...I understand completely....I'm not sure when the demands for attention let 4 year old golden....manages a good quarter of my time for grooming, walking, feeding, playing, rubbing and dare i admit it ?, conversation every day....BUT he makes my days OH So much more tolerable every day :)

  2. wonderful post and i can so relate. i remember posting that i was being held prisoner by two, at the time, 10 pound puppies. it's really a challenge but you're handling it all masterfully. and i agree, new puppy moms should be given maternity leave! great idea. i love your post and description of your morning. hang in, sherlock should be well behaved and calm in a year or two. a good portion of my day is still spent seeing to the boys needs and tim was so against having their little chestnuts removed so there is always some serious humping going on. the boy bits are constantly making an appearance. but in the end, the love and company is invaluable and sooo sweet. good luck my friend. thanks for the great post!

  3. OH!! i forgot! your drawing is completely perfect and charming! who could get angry at that mush!!

  4. You are such a good writer Sandra!! Love your drawing as well. As far as Sherlock's antics I can just say that I'm so glad we got a Bull Mastiff (we had never owned a dog before) and I'm pretty sure if I gotten Sherlock or Leslie's puppy I may not have survived:)) Sherlock is adorable and in another 5 years he'll probably be a perfectly calm puppy:))) In the mean time I hope your laces and all your 2000 parts survive your "crocodile".

  5. HA Ha.. this is wonderful you should write a book.. oh Sandra. I do so empathize.. I understand so completely. This am Sadie sat in my lap/on my chest as she tried to chew a 3 foot stick from the yard, while I was trying to read... They eat everything... Love your drawing.. so adorable.Kiss Sherwood for me and love to you, Diana

  6. oh Sandra, your post made my morning ... I know all too well the joys of having animals living like they own you .. Cats and dogs have been my downfall all my life.. Or should I say my joy! I can't live in a house without them.. Remember my Angie? oh but she was a love.
    How I miss that little furry girl..
    Sherlock could probably use some serious training ,, he is out of control LOL... well he's in control when it comes to you...After he does all his 'bad stuff' you then reward him with his pigs ear... I am laughing when I write this... I think I may have to come there and train you both ..... love and hugs, BJ

  7. Lol, I remember those heady days puppyhood. The joy, the fun, the frustration and the stink and pigs ears. Unfortunately my fur puppy grew up and has gone to doggy heaven so I'm dogless again. My white sofas are white there is no tumble weed of fur rolling down the hallway and the house smells gooooood. However, I recently inherited an old cat who likes to sit on my office chair with me. So I precariously perch half my bum on the chair while Miss quietly dozes away.... Winter is coming and I'm thinking plastic covers for my sofas might be handy.. :)

  8. Sandra, what a gorgeous, sensitive drawing! Wow! And he is even smiling in the photo. Yep, I guess that makes up for all the rest : )

  9. Ah Sandra, I could relate to this entirely! Life as we know it BD (before dogs) is but a distant memory! Although we're well past those heady, exhausting days of puppyhood with our two, they still seem to take up most of my time! Very often Steve and I will be reminiscing about something spontaneous we used to do like long weekends or even just heading off for a long pub lunch and it'll end with 'and then we got the dogs' as the defining reason why those things no longer happen without pre-plannibg requiring military precision! I loved your tale of taking Sherlock to work-hilarious images you brought to mind! You're so right though-no matter how much they drive you to distraction there really is nothing like the unconditional love and joy that a dog brings to your life!

  10. Hello Sandra, I am charmed and amused by your beautiful portrait of Sherloc and by his photograph, so much fun! Ciao!

  11. Sandra, I laughed and laughed!!! Your post about Sherlock is brilliant! I think you and Sherlock touch on every single one of puppy-hood's "endearing" behaviours. You deserve an award for getting through a work day with him. The picture at the end of the post is priceless! It's hard to believe the beautiful drawing at the top of your post and his photo are the same dog. :) :)
    Kathryn XX

  12. sandra :D fantastic dwg ...great smile below too're lucky you can take your "shadow" to work !!!

  13. Thank you so much everyone for your lovely comments. As always, where possible I have responded to each of you personally by email. Hopefully you have all received them :0)

  14. I enjoyes so much your so well written story of your adventures with Sherlock! Your drawing is fantastic an the photo priceless! :)

  15. Thoroughly enjoyed reading of your trials and tribulations with Sherlock! And love the very sensitive drawing of that little mischief maker!

  16. Hilarious.. But I felt sad about the brushes.. Okay they can be bought again. But still half chewed brushes.. :)
    By the way the reason I landed on the blog is because of the sketch. I just LOVED it. Sherlock really seems a good boy here..

  17. Beautiful drawing!
    Love the last photo, very original. Now where's the one of him dangling off your shoelaces?

  18. that is hilarious... I think the day with Sherlock would make a great kids book... some of those illustrations would be fabulous... you had me giggling all the way through... hope the weekend means you can get some time off from puppy duty and get back to some painting... sounds like you need a little shot of sanity to get you through next week...xx
    PS and the drawing is incredible... amazingly gorgeous...xx

  19. OMGosh, Sandra! WRITE a book!!!!....I swear I'll be the first one on line to buy it! Such a funny post and to see his little devlish face!!! I LOVE HIM! Have patience Mom, he'll get through this...YOU I'm not sure...LOL and of course, I love the drawing of Sherlock!!!

  20. now u can follow me at

  21. LOL!!!! I am literally LOL'ing reading this blog post~!! You really are such a great WRITER!! I loved this post so much Sandra. :) It is oh so true too!!! I agree with all the previous comments you really should do a children's book with your story and illustrations of this silly pup. Gosh it's a good thing dogs hit adulthood quickly isn't it?? Although ti feels like forever. ;) And I love the drawing, but I already told you that.

  22. You can add writing to your talents. I recognised puppy very well. Sherlock sounds like a normal, fun loving one! The sketch is gorgeous, btw. Fab eyes!

  23. You are as talented a writer as you are a visual artist! And, skimming over the first 22 comments just now, I see I am not the only one to have picked up on this ;D. Good luck with your new furry baby and thank you for being such a steadfast friend of my blog!

  24. I had a good laugh Sandra but please, next time, more photo's!!! I now had to see it in mind in front of me. Hillarious what a great story and lovely dog:) xx


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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