This morning I was talking to one of the mums at school about our pets and the things – good or bad – that they love best. It turned out that one of her cats is addicted to catching pigeons and ripping them to pieces (not a nice picture, I know), whilst the other is addicted to having its fur brushed for hours on end. Her hamster is mad on tomatoes and their dog is always partial to a bit of chocolate (which is toxic to dogs, so I’m not encouraging that at all). We then went on talking about other people’s pets, as she remembered that her mother’s parrot has a passion for classical music and I remembered that one of my in-laws’ dogs would do anything for chips.
As for George, there are a number of things that he is addicted to. Stealing socks, chewing tissues, roasting in the sun and stealing Brianna’s teddies are some of them. But top of his addiction list must be drinking tea.
It’s no secret that the British love their cup of tea. Morning, lunch and evening, all day long, the kettle and tea-pot are under a lot of stress and get a lot of use. It’s a documented fact that the National Grid faces the peak of electricity consumption during the commercial breaks half-way through the nation’s most loved soaps or football finals. Apparently, that’s when everybody rushes to put the kettle on and mash a cuppa before the programme returns five minutes later.
We’re no exception from the normal British family. We like tea and drink a lot of it. Our visitors like tea and drink a lot of it. There are always mugs around the house, containing different quantities of tea at any one time. That’s how we found out that George is partial to a bit of tea himself.
As soon as he was big enough to reach the coffee table, our little whippet has tried to sneak his nose into our tea cups. And our visitors’ cups. Every day. Whenever he got the chance. He’s proved to be extremely good at this from an early age. One moment of distraction, and you could return to an empty cup and a very content-looking dog. He’s so keen on the taste, that he’d sit next to you and lick his lips – in the most off-putting fashion – whilst you’re trying to enjoy your drink.
Eventually, something had to be done about this, since it’s not always funny to find a whippet nose in your cup and I was starting to get worried about his sugar intake. So we called a family council and decided to give George a little bit of tea, rather than have him steal ours. Brianna offered to donate her plastic Princess cup to this noble cause, and George became a full rights member of the tea club.
Most days, especially on weekend mornings when we can have family chats in bed, I make 4 cups of tea: two big, full ones for the adults, half a medium cup for Brianna, and less-than-a-quarter-full cup for George, with no sugar in it. You should see the delight on his face. I don’t know what he enjoys the most, the tea itself, or being part of the morning ritual. If the tea is the right temperature, he’ll slurp it in one go, without even breathing in between gulps. Then he’ll lick the cup clean and lie down on my legs. If the tea’s too hot, he’ll lie down on my legs first, waiting for it to cool down. Then he’ll slurp it in one go.
I find George’s love for tea strange and sweet at the same time. And I’m just wondering how many of you are experiencing similar behaviours from their pets? Do your furries have any unusual preferences or addictions?