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This is the thing about The Mom’s house, you really never know who might be there at any given point in time, which can give the place an added sense of drama.

It’s also the sort of thing that drives me crazy. I like to know what I’m getting into before I get into it. I need to have time to decide whether or not I ought to bother getting worked up about something, and then if I decide that’s the best course of action, it will take me a bit of time to work myself into a proper lather. The Mom, however and of course, needs little in the way of pre-warning, when it comes to canine visitors. With humans, she’s more apt to prefer a bit of time to prepare, sweep up the birdseed, find the reason for that horrible smell in the living room/kitchen/fridge, and refresh herself with a tipple to aid in her ‘pretending to be normal’ skit that doesn’t last very long.

And with the new across-the-street friends, who have taken nicely to our approach of don’t ring the bell we won’t answer as you will be a stranger so just let yourselves in, you really never do know who or what might appear in the house (or more likely kitchen) demanding to be fed or watered.

I generally try and stay out of these sorts of arrangements. The key problem for me is that people forget I don’t get an email every morning alerting me to the subtle changes in diet that take place. So if I see the neighbour’s dog lurking in the kitchen, and I was about to get something to eat, I will change my mind and wait until later. Or I’ll wander through the house, shouting for The Mom, asking her to feed either myself or the dog. I don’t really care which to be honest, because if the dog gets fed then it’s distracted and I can rummage through the cupboards on my own.

Anyhow, what’s slightly more disturbing than finding a random dog in the kitchen, is to have The Mom shriek with glee that said dog just turns up looking for someone to sleep with. Actually, that’s not the disturbing bit, that bit is the fact that any of these dogs are allowed into anyone’s bed at all. They’re lovely beasts, the lot of them, but their aroma is deeply unpleasant.

When L’il Sis first moved into The Mom’s, and decided she was going to take up residence in my old room, I tried to assert my rule of no dogs on the bed. I cited allergies, which everyone knew was a lie, but they pretend to humour me sometimes, more or less. L’il Sis said that The Pig didn’t sleep on the bed, and I had no choice but to take her at her word.

The Mom, of course, broke the news to me that The Pig was totally sleeping in my old bed. Now, this is only a problem because for my two annual visits, I am not keen on sleeping in a bed that smells like hound ass. Call me crazy. In fact, I don’t like sleeping in the bed with a dog at all. Their farts are worse than mine. And if Elvis was anything to go by, they can be pretty edgy if you take up too much space or try to steal the covers back from them.

In general, I’m not usually keen to share the bed with anyone else, even if he does happen to be the man I’m seeing at the time, but a dog is really pushing it. I expect any boyfriend type people to not bite me, or snarl or growl, but dogs, at least ours, have this idea that they’re not just equal, but above us in the pecking order. I say us, I just mean me. I’m at the very bottom of the alpha-pecking order and everybody – including Mrs Beeton – knows it.

So if ,when I’m at home in a few months, the neighbour’s dog turns up in my bed, I’m going to go to the neighbour’s house and sleep in the dog’s bed. We can trade, but no way I’m sharing.