Clare Teal: A dog is for a ferry crossing and not just for Christmas

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You may remember a couple of months ago I mentioned the imminent arrival of a new family member – well our little white fluff-bum puppy Alan has been with us for just over a fortnight and we now can’t imagine a time when he wasn’t here. Immediately on finishing work about 11pm we drove straight to a hotel in Eastleigh in order to be on the early ferry – whose idea was it to get a dog from the Isle of Wight anyway?

No time for another visit to the garlic farm, but I’m not bothered as we excitedly pull into Alan’s driveway we see another car pulling out containing a beaming family with an additional tiny furry passenger just visible.

After a quick lesson on all things puppy we depart with Alan under one arm and a bumper puppy pack under the other, luckily we caught an earlier ferry so only spent 35 minutes on the Island. Alan’s behaviour on the Red Funnel was exemplary, in fact, he was amazingly good throughout the three-hour journey home, spending most of it fast asleep in a most relaxed and spread-eagled manner and like a true gentlemen he waited till he was in his own back yard to spend his well-earned penny.

For the next two days he was the model pup, almost boringly perfect, however by that first Monday, safe in the knowledge that his four furry little feet were well and truly under the table, the real Alan began to emerge and what an exuberant, cheeky, lick-y, loving little bundle he is. As I write our usually tidy house is significantly less so. Alan meanwhile is fast asleep in his basket seemingly unaware of the carnage he causes whenever he’s awake.

A seasoned pro, having already been to work with us a few times, he’s met all the band and been to rehearsals. Last Tuesday I was performing at The Royal Albert Hall unfortunately they have a zero tolerance dog policy, despite the fact that we had one of the mystical car parking spaces underneath the hall. Not only was Alan refused entry to the building, he was also refused entry to the car park, he wasn’t even allowed to sit in the car on Muddy’s knee. Boo hiss.

We’re preparing for an eventful Alan-shaped Christmas – but whatever you’re doing have a wonderful peaceful time with much love and laughter...