Why menopausal women need guide dogs

Without the spaniel, she’d still be sitting on the train, panting like it’s fireworks night, her head between her legs,

Real Life

12 May 2016

Hello, Cydney spaniel here. She’s lying in a darkened room so I’m to tell you what happened. To cut a long and very shaggy dog story short, the car failed its MOT. And we had to use public transport.

I’ve been telling her that Volvo is shaking like no doggy’s business when she brakes, but will she listen? Turns out the suspension is shot to pieces.

So she leaves the car with a mechanic in the country, near where the horses are, and tells me we’re getting a ‘train’ home. My best mate, the gamekeeper, drives us to the station where we walk up and down a lot of steps.

There is a sign by the steps saying ‘Proud to be working with the RSPB to give nature a home at this station.’ This seems a bit silly to me. Has anyone asked nature if it wants to live at a train station?

Anyway, a huge screeching machine comes along and the middle of it opens and she picks me up and we get inside.

I admit it, I have one of those funny turns I get when the sky starts banging and lighting up. I climb on her lap and look out the window and at first it’s fine. I can see fields and woods. And then some weird stuff starts going past. She calls it Croydon.

Absolutely everyone stops and talks to me. ‘Ah, is it a puppy?’ they all say. I think about saying, ‘No, it’s not a puppy! It’s nearly five years old. Stop talking to me like I’m remedial! I’m not a Labrador you know!’ But in the end I decide it’s best to do my trademark body wiggle. People love this.

When we get home I’m exhausted. I eat a huge bowl of Lily’s Kitchen coronation chicken and curl up in my four-poster. (She scoffs a bag of crisps and falls asleep on the sofa as usual.) The next day, I can’t believe we have to do it again.

We get on and off so many trains this time I lose count. At a place called Clapham Junction there are pigeons, only you can’t chase them because they fly off the edge of the ground into the hole where the trains go. A lot of people come up to me. ‘Oh, is she a baby?’ I wiggle. It’s easier to humour them.

When we get to the country, the keeper picks us up. After we have visited the horses, he drops us back at the station. I am going to have to do some serious picking up to work these favours off. This time, we run up and down the steps because the train is waiting.

We sit watching fields turn into weird stuff — Surbiton, she calls it — when suddenly she shouts, ‘Oh no! I didn’t buy a ticket.’ For heaven’s sake, what is wrong with her?

We have to get off that train, then on another, and go back the way we came. She buys a ticket at the start then we do it all again.

It’s two hours before we’re nearly home and she starts twittering: ‘Shall we get off at Streatham Hill or Balham?’ I want to shout at her to get a grip. The next thing I know I can see the common, and even our house. And then the train stops.

A man we can’t see says, ‘Sorry for the delay, ladies and gents, but there are trespassers on the line.’ The train goes quiet. She starts breathing faster and faster and then she shouts: ‘Oh god, I can’t take any more! Why didn’t we get off at Streatham Hill? Why! WHY?!’

And the man we can’t see says, ‘I’m afraid this section of the line has been closed.’

She starts crying. I sit on her lap and lick her face. Basic stuff. Usually does the trick. But I’m not getting through. She’s panting like it’s fireworks night. Then she puts her head between her legs and I’m thinking this isn’t good.

I look round for help but they’re all sitting there like nothing is happening. And then a lady comes and takes her hand. She says she’s Stephanie from Colorado and this is her daughter Kirsten. And Kirsten pats me and says, ‘Ah, is she a baby?’

The lady gives me a drink of water from a bottle. I’m not all that thirsty because I had a sneaky gulp of muddy puddle before we got on the train, but it’s interesting to drink from a bottle so I try it. Nah. Not as nice as muddy puddle.

Eventually, the train moves and when we finally get off, I have to pull her home.

You’ve heard of guide dogs for the blind? Well, I’m thinking of setting up guide dogs for the menopausal.


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