Monday, 1 August 2011

The only way is up.

I own an old Volvo estate. I often refer to this car as the Hound Mobile. Lewis and Monty have a soft bed and a few dog blankets folded neatly into the space at the rear. If I could, I would get in it curl up and go to sleep it looks that comfortable. The hounds usually fall asleep 27 seconds into any journey once they are on board. Therein however lies the problem. The level of the car is about two feet from  the road. It may as well be 252 feet. There is absolutely NO way Monty or Lewis will jump, climb or in any other way assist me in getting them into the hatch. They will stand near the hatch and look at me clearly saying, “ If you want me in there, you lift me in.” They have also mastered the art of making their bodies go completely limp just to make life a little bit more difficult. Given that they are both thirty kilos (plus) and are also 19 feet long, it is no easy task lifting the buffoons in and out of the car.

I watch in envy one of my neighbours who has a Collie. He whistles loudly (you know that sort of high pitched whistle between his teeth that only 12 people in the world can do), Collie dog bleeps the central locking on the key fob opens the boot and leaps in. He sets the Satnav for the journey and clicks his master’s seat belt in place. Okay, maybe I gilded the lily a bit, but suffice to say he certainly does no lifting. My hounds simply shrug their shoulders at this and wait at the back of the car for the usual hoist up.

Not to be outdone I recently purchased a ramp “designed specifically to help make your life easier for you and your dogs.” Apparently. The ramp folds neatly in half and has ‘grippy’ matting glued to the surface so that your mutt won’t slide off it into the road. I ripped it from the packaging desperate to try it out with the hounds. They followed me to the car I am sure out of curiosity rather than any desire to assist.

Monty ~ “What has he got?”

Lewis ~ “Dunno looks like some ladders or summat.”

Monty ~ “Shall we go and watch him?”

Lewis ~ “Yeah, why not, but if we get the chance lets just mooch off so he has to leave what he is doing and bring us back to the house.”

The ramp has a lip at one end that enables you to hook it safely into the boot of the car. It then lies at a very slight angle, onto the road surface. I had at this point, already begun to attract the attention of several of my friendly neighbours who are always keen to assist.

I turned to the Hounds:

“Waddaya think Boys? Cool eh? Should be easier for all of us.”

Lewis mooched off to chat to one of my neighbours; Monty fell asleep on the grass. Undeterred I knew that they are both motivated by food and this would be a key part of my cunning plan. I ran back to the house emerging with a bag of small snack sized dog biscuits that I knew Lewis & Monty would do almost anything for. Their ears pricked up as I held aloft the bag of munchies. I decided that I would hold these for the time being and I gently led Monty toward the ramp.

Gently pushing him toward the ramp I repeatedly said, “Good boy, get in the car, good boy.” I may as well have said “ Cheese shop lettuce leaf cardboard.” He looked at me like I was speaking a new language designed specifically to baffle Bassets. He placed one paw on the ramp, looked into the back of the car turned around and mooched off back onto the front lawn.

Lewis reacted in a similar fashion, although he cowered like I was placing him on some medieval torture machine. Net result? One ramp, one Volvo, NO Bassets inside it.

It was time for plan B. I laid a neat line of dog biscuits starting on the roadway behind the car, up the ramp and finally to the pot of gold inside the back of the car. The pot of gold consisting of three, yes three small doggie nuggets. I started with Monty. He devoured the biscuits on the road, climbed the ramp eating the two on that. He stopped at the top, looked at the pot of gold inside the car, turned around on the ramp and mooched back to the lawn. Part success at least, but definitely no cigar.

Time for Lewis, Lewis has always been the greediest hound. He will literally climb over Monty if he thinks there is a morsel in it for him. Laying the trail of biscuits on the road, ramp and into the car I decided to strengthen my plan. I climbed into the boot myself clutching the bag of biscuits and call Lewis. He munched the biscuits on the road, hovered the ones on the ramp and then stopped at the top of the ramp where he stared intently at me. 

Lewis was clearly thinking; “Dad what are you doing in our bit of the car and on our bed?”

Me ~ “ Yes I know just get in and have a biscuit.”

Lewis gingerly stepped into the back where I rewarded him with the pot of gold. I was then awarded a rapturous round of applause from my entire street. I had not realised that the ramp training had attracted considerable support from my neighbours keen to see my ‘obedience hounds’ at work. I am hoping NOT to appear on You Tube.

And the ramp? You guessed it, consigned to the garage.  

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