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The fly in the ointment

In my first post about escaping the worst part of the year in the UK, Winter Blues I told you a little fly had fallen into the ointment. Well actually it wasn’t a fly, it turned out to be a dog…

I had reached my 60s and had never owned a mutt! I’d always put it off. I thought it would be unfair to leave a dog at home all day while I was out at work. Then I thought about the damage a dog could do if left alone all day. Although inwardly I craved the company of my own dog I’d convinced myself it was the wrong thing to do.

A chihuahua is what I will have

My wife suggested that as I’m over 6 feet tall, perhaps a bigger dog might be more suitable. A Newfoundland maybe? A Great Dane perhaps? I replied What,in our house?

No. I was adamant – a chihuahua was what I wanted. A chihuahua is what I would have. I had set my heart on a small breed as we only have a small home, and the breed would be a chihuahua.

The yearning for a dog meant that my searches on Gumtree yielded what looked like the perfect hound. He looked very attractive in photos and behaved very feistily when playing with his little brothers and sisters in videos the owners sent me on request.

Piper to the end

My wife suggested the name Piper and it seemed very suitable, although Pedro and Pablo were my early favourite names. He came to us in July and fitted in with our two cats, admittedly after a bit of bedding in! If Piper had been a Doberman Pinscher they might have been more cowed by him, but as he was a chihuahua they just about tolerated him. He thought he was the boss anyway! Small Dog Syndrome!

Now I’d got my own dog there was no way I could leave him behind even if I wanted to go abroad for the winter.

Fly? With a dog?!

I checked all the UK budget airlines I might have used, and none of them allow you to take a small dog in the passenger cabin of a plane.

If you need to take a service animal, such as a hearing dog, or a guide dog for a blind person, these can be carried in the hold. But who really wants to have their hund transported in a plane’s cargo hold? Firstly there’s the temperature in the hold, which has to be pretty low, if it’s not freezing. Then you wonder exactly how much care would be taken with the loading and unloading of the carrier your pet is staying in. If you travel within Europe, (but not from the UK to Europe), the dog can be transported in a carrier if it will fit under your aircraft seat.

So flying was out. Drive? What 2000 miles? For an unknown reason after sitting in a car as the driver or a passenger for an hour or so, the top of my right thigh starts to ache with uncomfortable pins and needles. It gets progressively more uncomfortable until I stop the car and walk about to recover. Drive? 2000 miles? No. Impossible!

Magic bus? MegaBus? No. Not with a canine!

The only option is the train. With a four-legged friend? Well it’s possible. I’ll tell you more about how we did it in my next post.