COLUMN: Mrs Grumpy, of Diss - ‘Mother’s dog is not a good boy’

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“He needs to go to the vet. Can you take us?” When the telephone rings before 8am in our house, I am suspicious. No­-one calls before 8am, except for my mother and the unknown elderly gentleman who can’t understand why I am not his son.

Mother’s dog is a thief. His previous convictions are many and varied.

Sometimes the behaviour is covert, leaving no evidence of his crime other than there are missing objects and a guilty look in his eye, however, he prefers to let you know what he is up to because he likes to be chased around the house.

Laundry day isn’t something most of us look forward to, but mother’s little canine kleptomaniac really likes it, thinks he’s being helpful when he removes an item from the neatly stacked pile of freshly laundered clothes.

Mother’s dog looks up at her with knowing eyes and a tilted head.

Gently held between his teeth are a pair pants.

He holds them thus because there is spaniel in his breeding and it is his nature to retrieve birds. Not that he’s ever retrieved any birds.

Before she can remove them from his clamped shut mouth, he swallows them without chewing properly.

Unlike Superman, mother’s dog is now wearing pants on the inside.

Over the next few days, there is a ritual of checking to see if the pants have safely passed through his system.

They have not. He is still wearing them on the inside and isn’t feeling quite himself.

We take him to see the vet, who tells us not to worry too much unless he continues to be sick after food.

He is given an injection for the sickness, which he does not like.

I am glad I had the forethought to have the vet place the muzzle over his mouth just before, as mother’s dog lets me know he is not happy about the injection.

“If you’re at all worried then give us a call.”

It is before 8am and the telephone rings. It is not the elderly gentleman.

“I’m worried about the dog. He’s off his food and not himself at all.”

I call the vet. It is Sunday but he is on duty at Stowmarket. We take the dog there.

He jumps out of my car and is a very excited, happy dog!

Despite the vet’s reassurances, my mother is worried as it is now four days since the pants were devoured and they haven’t appeared.

We leave the dog with the vet and return to mother’s house, where I wait with her all day before making the 20 mile round trip to collect him.

He is still excited and happy. We are tired and worried. We are given special dog food and instructions.

It is before 8am on Monday. The telephone rings....

“He’s having awful diarrhoea.”

I call the vet who tells me not to worry as he would expect this and to keep him on the special food, but if he is sick after eating, we should bring him in. Luckily, the dog does not vomit.

It is before 8am on Tuesday and the telephone rings....

“Diarrhoea everywhere! But my pants are no longer inside the dog and I managed to hook them out just before they went back inside.”

Should I buy my mother some paper pants or just do her laundry?