Saturday, 1 September 2012

Happiness is not a warm puppy

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , , , 4 comments

 by Ashley Lister

 Charles M Schulz* said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I beg to differ on this point. I can illustrate my argument with the following experience.

As some of you may know, I regularly sit in front of my computer and write. I have an ergonomic keyboard. I have a swan-necked monitor stand. I also have an extra large office chair.

The reason for the extra large office chair is because I’m a dog owner. We have four dogs, named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Drusilla, Spike, Anya and Mr Giles. Some of the dogs regularly demand to share my chair whilst I’m writing.

They have a routine.

Dru shares the chair with me first thing on a morning, taking the 5:00am until 7:30am shift. On a weekend Spike and Giles compete for chair-sharing privileges from 8:00am until 10:00am. None of them are bothered about sharing a chair from 10:00am until noon. After noon it’s usually Dru who sits at the back of the chair whilst I sit at the front.

This is not a convenient arrangement.

Dru has some mobility issues. She can’t jump into the chair. She demands help. But I’m a responsible dog lover and I’m helpful so I lift her into the chair and she sits behind me. She’s fat, so she takes up most of the chair’s seat. And she snores whilst she’s asleep back there but I have to admit it’s a comforting sound.

She was sitting behind me the other day. I was busy writing. And that was when I made the discovery that happiness is not a warm puppy.

At that moment I did feel warm. I felt warm around my backside – where the dog was asleep.

“Wow!” I thought. “This dog generates so much heat my arse is sweating.”

It was a whimsical thought. I placed a hand between the dog at my rear and the seat of my jeans. I was curious to know what my hand would make of the heat being generated from the super-warm dog behind me.

My hand came away wet. Yellow liquid dripped from my fingers. The yellow liquid stank of dog pee. The dog had peed on my backside whilst I was writing.

I cursed.

I was outraged.

“Your dog’s just peed on my arse!” I told my wife.

She brayed sympathetic laughter. I’m exaggerating about the sympathy. I’m fortunate she didn’t try and camcord the event and send it in to Harry Hill.

So I had a warm dog – probably a decade older than most puppies – but not a lot of the happiness that Charles M Schulz predicted.

And what lesson have I learnt from this experience?

Actually, I’ve learnt a very important lesson. For all those writers who’ve ever wanted to be showered with gold by their adoring fans: be careful what you wish for, it might come from a warm puppy.

* Charles M Schulz’s real name is Charlie Brown and he is the father of Snoop Doggy Bag.


vicky ellis said...

Sharing a bed with a small child with diarrhoea is also not to be recommended :/

(I told you I'd let you know how to spell that didn't I?)

Fab post Ash - puppies and pee in perfect harmony (also a Buffy character).

Ashley R Lister said...

You'd think I'd learn but, even as I'm typing this response, the same small dog is sitting behind me.


Janine Ashbless said...

Oh oh oh!!
Well at least you made us laugh, Ashley! That's brilliant!

I'm up to 3 dogs right now...

Ashley R Lister said...


3 dogs? It sounds like a gateway drug to owning a kennel, doesn't it?

I don't think it's a writer's home without animals of some description.