Louise Candlish: Give the Dog a Bone

Novelist and SW Resident columnist Louise Candlish on why you should give the dog a bone, and where to find one in south west London… 

God, January can be the pits, can’t it – literally, if you are the parent of a sporty child. For sooner or later such sickening wholesomeness on his or her part will require you to spend your wintry weekends standing courtside/pitchside in the mud having forgotten to bring your wellies.

Dog-owning parents will know the added complication of a venue that does not allow dogs. First, you have to do the dog walk at the crack of dawn before setting off and leaving the poor thing alone for six-plus hours. Then returning, shattered, you have to do the second walk amid a mood of tense canine indignation.

Louise Candlish

I used to leave Maggie the Labradoodle to chew on an old shoe, until the inevitable happened: she failed to differentiate between a shoe given and a shoe taken.

Next, an indestructible-or-your-money-back toy: destroyed before we were even out the door (and as for getting your money back, who wants to pick up a thousand bits of saliva-glazed plastic, pack them in a jiffy bag and fork out the postage to China?)

‘Don’t dogs get bones any more?’ a friend asked me. ‘That would occupy her for a whole day.’

Of course! How could I have forgotten the classic dog’s best friend? And so the next time sport threatened to claim my Saturday, I trotted to the nearest butcher.

‘Sorry, love, we don’t do bones.’

Just a one-off freak boneless butchers, I thought, but getting in my car to try meat-themed stores further afield, I was met with further disappointment. Sainsbury’s butcher counter: ‘We don’t keep any bones in store’; Dugard & Daughter in Herne Hill: ‘Sorry, no bones today’; Jones the Butcher, Brixton: simply closed.

‘I’ll ring around and find you one,’ Andrew offered. Just as I had forgotten about bones, I’d also forgotten you could get on the dog and bone (sorry) and glean useful information in a matter of seconds.

So, herewith the results of his mini ring-around:

Robert & Edwards of Wimbledon: bones in stock at £2.50 a kilo Parsons Nose, Putney: bones in stock at £4 each (posh ones, these) Moen & Sons, Clapham: bones in stock at £1.50 a kilo

I procured one in good time, presenting it to the hound at Saturday morning departure, and though we froze our asses off that day, we glowed in the knowledge that Maggie was at home gnawing her heart out (in a manner of speaking).

Until we got back. There she was, fast asleep and snoring, the bone untouched on a heap of torn black rubber beside her. ‘Why hasn’t she eaten the bone?’ I cried. ‘Is that one of my wellies?’ Andrew said, frowning.

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