The ‘lockdown’ thoughts of an ancient Border Collie aged 15 and a half

Hello, not many of you know me, but I’m Bounce, and I live with the Bloke and the Girl not far from Arch Hill roundabout, here in Truro. I’ve lived with them ever since they brought me home in a cardboard box from a cattle farm in Ivybridge, sometime in November 2004. Anyway, the Bloke thought it might be good for me to give you a bit of a dog’s eye view on what this thing called ‘lockdown’ has meant for me, so, here we go.

It’s been strange – the strangest thing is that the Bloke is not normally here. Well that’s not quite true, he’s sometimes here in the evening, and then one day a week, he is here all day. On that day we often all go for a walk together – not a normal one but one of our ‘specials’ – maybe to Lerryn or along the river at St Erth, or to Tehidy Woods or Polly Joke. I like that day because I like the ‘special’ walks. Right now, though he is here all the time – I’m not sure I have ever seen this much of him. That goes for the Girl too – she has never seen this much of him either - and that has taken a bit of getting used to. He is here so little he does not even know where everything goes – or he does not seem to – because he is always putting things back where they don’t go or even just leaving things out. The Girl has barked at him a few times and I thought barking was my job, I heard her telling him that something needed to be done to ‘get him out from under her feet’.

Things seem to be better though since he started shutting himself in the spare bedroom for most of the day. But there is a mystery there. I know my house; it has two doors one at the front and one at the back and nobody, but nobody, gets through those doors without me having something to say about it. The thing is I keep hearing lots of other people with him in the spare bedroom – and not one of them has come through either of the doors. It’s spooky.

I still get a walk every two or three days. I used to have a walk every day but I’m old now. I don’t see very well and I’m not good at steps. Sometimes I just don’t like the steps - and the Bloke and the Girl say - that sometimes I imagine that there are steps, when there are not any there. Anyway, to get out of the garden for a walk means going up one step and down two – and sometimes just to get myself ready for the challenge of going down the two steps I have to lap the greenhouse five times. The bloke says, you need the ‘patience of Job’ to deal with me these days, though I’ve also heard him say, that Job really was not that patient. I used to jump in the car all on my own, but it is a bit of a team effort now. Eventually I get my front paws in, which like everything else takes a while - and then the Girl or the Bloke do the rest.    

Even where I walk now, I can just still smell the sea, and it takes me back to the good old days. Those were the days when I would go to Perranporth Beach and all the way along it, the Girl and the Bloke would throw a ball - and I would run and run and run and bring it back - and then they would throw it again - and I would run and run and run and bring it back again. It is 3 miles one way and 3 miles back and there was a time when I could do this all the way there and all the way back again. This all stopped a few years ago because of another bloke – a bloke called Arthur. I think his full name is Arthur Itis but I’m not sure that I’ve ever really met him. I’m glad because I hear he is not good for me and that he is also the reason why I only walk every two or three days now. The Girl and the Bloke put white things in my food in the morning to keep him away from me. They are not very nice tasting though, so sometimes I spit them out – unless they have put some of that nice peanut butter on them – I like peanut butter. Apparently, this Arthur bloke - and other things – cost the Bloke money. I heard him say the other day that these days I am more expensive than the car.  Good job I’m still worth it.

There are two other people who sometimes look after me, but I have not seen them for a while.  They call themselves ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’. They normally come when the Bloke and the Girl put lots of stuff in the car and disappear for a few days. I like it when they are here – I get toast corners – and half a rich tea biscuit before I go to bed – and they even play with me ‘in the house’. All these things are not allowed when the Girl and the Bloke are around, and I’ve heard them say that ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’ spoil me - and that it takes two weeks to retrain me again when they have gone. Anyway, in this ‘lockdown’ I’ve not seen them, and I miss them. I guess some other people might be missing being ‘spoilt’ or doing a bit of ‘spoiling’ right now. 

In the afternoons a few times the Bloke and the Girl have sat in the garden – they don’t do that very often – but I’ve heard them say that they are lucky to have one - even if it is not as big as the Girl would like, and is a bit noisy for her. They have also played cards out there, which is a bit of an adventure if its windy. Cribbage and Canasta have been the games. At Cribbage the Bloke holds his own - but when it comes to Canasta he comes second.  Because of steps in the way I can’t get to where they sit, so sometimes, I bark and whine to remind them that I am about - and I do need attention. I’m good at doing that in an evening too when they are trying to watch the box on the wall. They have been watching something called ‘Madame Secretary’ but sometimes I get bored - so yes, I bark and whine – and the Bloke needs that, not Job like, patience once again.

There are a couple of other things that have been happening that are a bit odd and a bit of a break from what is normal. I’m used to ‘alarms’ – the Bloke has one that gets him up early in the morning to go for a walk - and I’m used to it, because when I hear it I know that he will soon be downstairs making me go out into the garden for a few minutes. This new one though goes off after I’ve had my evening food and even after they have had theirs. What happens next is a bit strange too, because after the alarm the Bloke and the Girl go out into the back garden and start clapping and cheering nobody. When they first did it, it seemed to be only them, but now lots of people around us seem to be doing the same. I haven’t got it fathomed yet, and you humans can be a bit odd, but I’m left wondering why it sometimes looks like they are clapping and cheering with tears in their eyes.

The other thing is the day, each week, when they have a ‘second breakfast’. If I’m honest it doesn’t look very nourishing to me – a bit of an untoasted, toast corner - and a sip of the red stuff I see them drinking sometimes when they are watching the box on the wall in an evening. They talk quite a lot about people who need looking after and those who are looking after them – and I even join in a bit with the odd bark and whine. The Bloke says that some people have managed to put these ‘second breakfasts’ on something like the interweb. He also said though, that whatever the thing called broadband is – is powered at our house by two hamsters on a wheel – though I have to say I’ve never seen them. Apparently, because of this, the Bloke who invented the whole notion of ‘second breakfasts’ is more likely to have returned before the Bloke here, could get his ‘breakfast’ service ‘uploaded’ - whatever that means.

In any event it all seems to be about what a Bloke did on their behalf  - and even though that ‘uploading’ can’t happen - once a week my Bloke and Girl remember him in this way, on behalf of the many others who are not able to have this kind of ‘second breakfast’ right now. 

I guess for now that is enough of my ‘lockdown’ thoughts and it must be time for me to have a sleep – I do like sleeping and these days I do a lot of it. I hope though, that you and yours and especially your pets, are staying well and that you are bringing each other comfort right now.

So, blessings to all dogs (even Boxers, and I’ve never much liked Boxers) all cats (as long as they know they are not allowed in my garden) and all of your other creaturely companions - even the humans who care for us, while receiving a good deal of care themselves from us in return.

Maybe we will talk again before this is all over.