…and a new hutch for Pippa!
The former resulted in a non-verbal argument with the Aged Relic…
Jumble, who turned fourteen in July, is coming with me when I move – as is Pippa, the Lad’s Californian rabbit.
I could see that the former’s hard plastic bed was becoming uncomfortable for a hound of advanced years and multiple arthritis spots – and the latter’s hutch was in a parlous state of disrepair; in fact, every time it is moved to a new patch of grass, the slats on the right hand side fall out, and it’s a devil of a job to get the damn things back again – especially as Pippa, an escapologist par excellence (and a fine figure of several rabbits to boot), spends the whole time trying to muscle her way out!
Things came to a head two days ago: The slats clattered grass-wards, as per; Pippa’s brown nose made a determined effort to force its way through, her white body following at a rate of knots; I cut a finger trying to force the slats back (without causing the rest of the house to fall about, and on, the rabbit) – and, several moments of intensive swearing later, had to admit defeat: Those ruddy slats were not going back, no matter what I tried.
So wedging the afflicted side with an old fire gate (like you do), and shutting the inquisitive one in for the nonce, I high-tailed it to The Range in Weston-super-Mare, hoping to all the gods that Pippa wouldn’t have burrowed out and started a new colony in Burnham-on-Sea when I got back!
By a wonder, the hutch (a jolly nice two-floored effort, with cosy cover which I bought separately) was on special offer – so I got it.
The old hutch is fine – as long as you don’t move it, or breathe too heavily when near it! – and I am hoping that I can coax it into remaining in its current decrepitude until the move. But at least I have now got a flat-pack ready to put together (not my forte: The things we do for our beloved pets, eh?), if the slats on the other side ricochet out like a mouthful of rotten teeth – and Bunny heads for the hedge!
Yesterday, fired up by this little adventure – and well aware that Jumble needed extra comfort in his twilight years (or, more probably, months) – I zoomed to Cadbury Garden Centre, in Yatton, and saw there a truly splendid soft bed, of Danish ancestry, which, I felt sure, would cushion the canine’s old bones far more satisfactorily than his present torture-chamber of a sleeping pad.
Full of excitement, I showed Jumble. He backed away in horror, and gave me a look as if to say, ‘You have got to be joking!’ To say that he was not keen is to indulge in considerable understatement. He growled at this bed. He put his paws down and refused to get in it. He looked at it as if it were a vet come to put him down. When I tried to encourage him to get up close and personal with it (by hiding his other one in the garage, basically!), he muttered swear words under his breath at me, and may even have shown me a tooth or twenty!
I am not sure whether he thought it was some form of punishment for something he didn’t remember doing, or what, but he was not having any of it!
In retrospect, I think he was scared of it, bless him. He is doddery on his feet at times, and has cataracts in both eyes – and, because of the giving nature of the bed, I suspect he felt unsafe.
We had a stand-off during dinner. The old bed went back; the new one was put up on the sideboard – and Jumble was reduced to giving it filthy looks, as if it were a sub-standard badger which he’d tried to roll in.
In the end, forcible separation was the only way: The plastic bed was banished and the new rammed into Jumble’s space under the kitchen table.
He spent the next hour pacing up and down the kitchen, claws clacking against the stone tiles, whining from time to time just to make his point of view (roughly, that I was an Inquisitor far to the Right of Torquemada) abundantly clear.
I went out for the evening, to support a close friend of mine who was hosting the local Open Mic – and was, I confess, a trifle anxious as to what I would find upon my return. Would the dog have ‘killed’ his new sleeping quarters (which, I hasten to add, cost me an arm, a leg and half a liver!)? Would he have decided to sleep on the tiles? Would I be confronted by long-suffering looks and puddles upon the floor?
Well, stap me vitals! There he was, all cuddled up and cosy in his new bed, happy as the proverbial Larry!
He looked at me. I looked at him. We both knew that a fraught moment had passed. We both knew that the struggle of the previous evening was one of those things, like occasional unearthed rats, best left buried!
God alone knows how Pippa will react to her new plush des.res! She’ll probably, as Dr Spooner apocryphally had it, leave the area on the next town drain!