Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


A dog's life

  • 30 September 2021
It’s been a year of dogs. Tilly and Chilli and Louis and George and Lulu and Chip. The handsome Groodles — one a forest of golden curls, the other a tumble of butterscotch tresses — jogging with their athletic owners; they sprint across the road at precisely the same time each day, pausing just long enough to sniff cursorily in our direction (is that a gesture of friendly acknowledgement or chilly superiority?) before disappearing up the road.

The twin Labradors swishing up and down the footpath and flopping periodically in a flaxen heap along the pathway or beneath the grevillea. The French bulldog racing up and down the fence-line as we pass by, his face crumpled with confected ferocity, his snort and squeal communicating unbridled delight at our appearance. The dainty old Moodle sitting in the back seat of her mistress’ car as she’s driven to the dog park.

And then there are my own dogs, Loepies and Pie — Shih Tzu-poodle and Moodle respectively, lapdogs who’ve provided additional companionship and solace during lockdown. I’d assumed, too, that lockdown would have afforded them consolation in return, for not a day has passed for them in the loneliness and somnolence which is often the feature of a dog’s life. Though well cared for (excessively, some might say), these fur-babies had existed pre-pandemic as anchors to our family’s ceaseless movement; while they stayed home (for the most part) the members of our household came and went with the business of life: work, school, university, social engagements, travel.

I frequently undertook assignments abroad; the dogs’ eyes and ears would droop perceptibly each time I brought my suitcase down from the cupboard and started to pack. Upon my return they would launch themselves at me in a state of exquisite jubilation, as though I were some prodigal apparition; these reunions were particularly consoling for Loepies, who would nuzzle my neck for long minutes, her little body emitting shudders that felt for all the world like sobs.

But for almost two years our pets (including a less-invested though equally-loved cat) have had us all to themselves. Everywhere I go now, the dogs follow: to the study, to the television, to the bathroom, to bed. I’m the recipient of that same loyal companionship sought out by so many during the pandemic: across the world, demand to adopt or foster animals — and dogs, in particular — has surged. The positive