Gibson a true Golden Retriever is über gregarious; never happier than when the house is full to bursting and there is an inexhaustible supply of hands to be stroked by; to throw balls for him and quite possibly to let the occasional sausage drop from a barbecue …. hmmmm…
Young Ghetto is another matter. He likes his routine above all else, and is perfectly happy to bark at passers by from under our gate, to growl over the wall at our neighbour’s chickens and to act his role as my personal body guard. He is loving and affectionate with us, but well, let’s say he doesn’t really see the point of having too many people around.
When new guests arrive in our cottage, the dogs both tumble out of the house and down the drive to investigate. They bark and jump and sniff and generally make themselves as attractive as they know how. Gibson will immediately go and fetch a ball or a stick, just in case, while Ghetto rushes around counting how many people descend from the car.
As the car is unpacked, there is every chance that Ghetto will jump into the trunk just to check it out. Once he has completed his full inspection he throws me a look as if to say, ‘nothing very interesting here, I’m off to do something else’, and he’ll invariably head indoors or down the garden where there is a very intriguing hole that requires regular surveillance.
But things came to a height a couple of weeks ago when my youngest son had a birthday celebration here. About fifteen friends; music; barbecue, some dancing, a lovely evening.
I didn’t see Gibson all night, he was in seventh heaven, entertaining the troops and probably eating all the wrong things. By around 9.30 pm Ghetto however had had enough.
I was upstairs at my desk in the landing and I heard him stomp into the house talking to himself about ‘too much noise, too many people’, which went something like ” grrreuuhhchr, chrcrgreeuhhchr” … you get the picture.
He threw me a dark glance “I can’t believe you let this happen”, walked past my desk, pushed my bedroom door open, and established camp on the foot of my bed. Within a few seconds he was sleeping, but every time there was a yell from the garden, which of course happens quite often when you get a bunch of over-excited teenagers together, or whenever someone let themselves into the house to use the powder room, I could here a growl and a grumble come from the bed.
Once or twice a group of lively young girls popped indoors, and straight away he grumbled, sighed, dropped off the bed and stomped to the top of the stairs where he barked a bit, as if to say “can’t you keep it down, some people are trying to sleep here!” then stomped as hard as he could, (which isn’t easy when you only weigh 6 kilos) back to my bed.
The next morning Gibson was hung over and lay on his cushion for a while, mumbling something about “I shouldn’t have eaten that last sausage”, while Ghetto was up early, chasing around the party scene in case any scraps had been left for him.
By lunchtime all the guests had disappeared and our routine settled back down … until the next interruption that is …. country life is definitely what you make it!