Sitting on Dogs by Colin Cotterill

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If we make it through the floods to Surat airport, and if we survive a night in riot torn Bangkok, and if we’re allowed to land through the cloud of volcanic ash, Jess and I should be in Germany by the time you read this. Remember the days when flying was convenient and fun? No, me neither. We’ll be gone for a month. A week in Berlin, (Yes, Dom, I’ll bring you back a piece of wall). A week in Paris where Jess will celebrate her …17th …birthday. And two weeks in England with mum and dad and the London Pride truck driver who looks forward to my visits. I shall be sending you weekly reports from all these places and none of them will contain references to politics. I may however be forced to mention football. I’ll be in England during the World Cup and until England are unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by the Mauritian national team in the first round, there won’t be any other topics of conversation at our house.

But the issue of the week is dog sitting. Jess’s dad is a monk. As such he isn’t allowed to wander far from the temple. He certainly isn’t allowed to come to our house, sleep in a nice bed, watch TV and play with the dogs for a month. But he’s my wife’s dad and we couldn’t find anyone to look after them while we were away. And Jess can be very forceful. Some of you who have followed my life through my personal website will know our dogs very well. They are the type of dogs who would drive the Dog Whisperer to an early grave. Describing them as loveable would be like calling James Bundy and Charles Manson cuddly. They are weird. They do not follow the normal patterns of animal behaviour. Three of them escaped death by the skin of their very dangerous teeth and the other one has a contract out on him. Nobody dares come to our house. Half our place is unpainted because the dogs chased the painter away. The postman throws our mail over the wall. We haven’t had a houseguest since they ate poor Andrew last January. They’re all rescue dogs. You’d think a rescued dog would be so grateful he’d follow your every instruction. But our dogs saw it as a sign that we are godlike creatures and they’ve dedicated their lives to not letting anyone near us. If you want a beach cleared in a hurry, just give me a call and I’ll bring over the mutts.

We’ve done two other big trips. For the first, my friend Lizzie came down to look after the pack. When she got out of rehab she gave me an ultimatum, ‘Me or them’. I’m still thinking about it. For our second trip we were very lucky to find the sweet-natured Janet Brown in a hurry. We followed her web diary; My month in Hell’. We haven’t seen her since. Hence the monk. Our dogs like Jess’s dad. I imagine, even when he’s deep in the throes of panic he’s still able to emanate good karma and the dogs lap it up. He’s brought his temple helper along to feed and exercise them. He’s never been alone with them so we’ll see how they like him without us around. But, here’s the point. Next year, Jess and I have two big trips planned; one in April/May the other in September. And we’re looking for someone to come look after our house. Of course all the above is just a joke. I’m a funny guy. Our dogs are fantastic. (“Put that cow down, Psycho.”) You’d have a little house on the coast with all the squid and seafood you could eat, use of a truck, bicycle, computer, kayak, and the love of four, sweet sweet animals.

You know I’m going to be inundated with offers so I suggest you get back to me really quickly. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. (I’ll throw in fifty bucks a week and an airport pick up)

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