I discovered some time ago that George can tell the time. He is a dog of routines who likes to do the same thing, at the same time, every single day. Any attempt to entertain him by adding a bit of variation to his life is likely to cause him distress, rather than make him eternally grateful. So we’re stuck into a very monotonous daily routine. Anything to keep the dog happy, right?
The best thing about what we call George’s ‘mild autism’ is that we will never be late for school, will never miss a meal and can always tell what George is thinking. Well, almost always. Here’s what my day looks like based on my whippet’s body clock:
7.00 A 16-kg cannonball jumps on my tummy and licks my face, waking me up and making the alarm clock that I carefully set up the night before redundant. It’s time to wake up.
7.30 George is waiting by the kitchen door in a perfect “sit” position that could win me a “Dog Trainer of the Year” award. It’s time for breakfast and chicken wings.
8.15 George starts running around the house causing havoc, stealing socks, tackling cushions and shredding tissues. We’ve got 15 minutes to get ready to go out, and we’d better hurry because George really needs to go to the toilet (the back garden just won’t do; at this time of the day he prefers to use the hawthorn bush in the corner of our field).
8.30 George is standing by the back door looking moody and restless. He’s really lost his patience, it’s time to go. We split up: one adult takes George for his walk, the other takes his human sister to school.
9.15 George returns from his morning walkies and plonks himself in his dad’s armchair for a snooze. Alternatively, when the weather is nice and sunny, he goes and lies on his blanket in the garden, soaking in some sunshine vitamin. Either way, he doesn’t like to be disturbed, so the adults would better crack on with their work for the next few hours.
11.30 George has now recharged his batteries and is ready to take on the world again. He’s feeling bouncy and has no one to play with, so he turns to the humans for assistance on this matter. He doesn’t normally get any attention straight away, so he makes himself more visible and a real nuisance by placing his head on my lap and looking up with irresistible puppy eyes. Occasionally, he lets out a little whimper, too, but this tactic never works, so he has to play by himself for a bit.
12.00 George is trying his best to kill his rubber chicken, which means he is really starving. It’s time to stop and have lunch, preferably in the garden if the weather permits it. But lunch is not that easy with a fussy whippet, he has to have a little tug-war game with his dad whilst I prepare his food.
13.00 George is queueing up at the back door again. He’s let his food go down and is now ready to go out again. He especially loves this second walk, since it’s when he normally meets up with some of his friends for a run around. However, we’d better not forget to take his beloved frisbee with us, just in case we’ve got the whole field for ourselves. A good run makes him happy and settles him for the afternoon, so we make sure he gets it every day.
14.00 Back home and back to snoozing in dad’s armchair or in the garden for the next couple of hours. The adults get the chance to catch up with more of their daily tasks.
As this is turning into a rather lengthy post, I will end it here, before I bore everyone. I will return with an hour-by-hour recount of George’s afternoon routine next week, in Part 2. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from all of you who have pets (or had pets in the past). Do your fur babies display similar behaviours? Are they stuck in the same daily routine?