Doesn’t every dog own a lipstick?

When Toffee goes to stay with the Other Family (see my last post) she has baggage. We aren’t just talking a plastic bag with some food and poo bags in it. We’re talking the dog equivalent of a 3-part set of luggage and a vanity case. That dog needs a lot of stuff over the course of a weekend, let me tell you. If she were flying there would certainly be an excess baggage fee to pay. Thinking about it, last weekend she had more luggage than I did which is strange considering she doesn’t wear clothes or need several hardback books and a range of cold and flu remedies to lull her to sleep at night.

This is her overnight list (yes it’s sad but I do have a Word document):

  • Poo pen – for those who have never heard of a such a thing, a poo pen is a portable fence that links up so that you can contain your pooch whilst she poos and has a wee. This is very important if your dog’s hosts have a beautiful garden like ours do. I am sure that they would be less keen to dog-sit Toffee after she had scorched their beautiful lawn with her number ones and had ‘evacuated’ on their veg patch. ‘Evacuated’ is a medical term that I rather like: ‘I’m just off for a quick evacuation.’
  • Bed – of course, complete with pillow and blankets.
  • Food – including: bowl, tupperware with dog food including measuring scoop, dog snacks, and treats for bribery purposes (they say that dogs can’t understand you but Toffee knows what ‘go for a poo poo and then you can have a treat’ means and man, she ain’t the cleverest canine in the compound)
  • Water bowl – including ‘dog rocks’ to prevent aforementioned scorch marks on the bowling green (at a cost of about a tenner – Pets At Home didn’t see me coming!)
  • Leads – including an everyday lead for street walks and a stretchy lead for field-type walks as well as a harness to stop her choking herself when she sees a leaf that must be captured at all costs
  • Toys – I try to limit this to about 3 of the most hygienic for holidaying purposes
  • Towels – for mopping down dog, spillages and any unfortunate accidents
  • Poo bags – loads of them
  • Spray – in case of accidents (I often say a silent prayer when I am dropping the dog off with the Other Family: ‘Please God, do not let there be any accidents.’)
  • Hair equipment – dry shampoo and comb (I don’t expect Toffee to have received a canine coiffure when I pick her up, but one can be optimistic)
  • Seat belt – there has been talk of the Other Family putting Toffee in the back of their truck for a quick blow dry on the way back from the beach, but I am sure that this is just a joke
  • Vet contact details – best to be safe
  • Lipstick – Toffee prefers No.17 in a bubblegum pink

The lipstick is a new thing and replaces the dog crate that Toffee used to have. I think this is a good swap and certainly cuts down on the weight. Needless to say I no longer have to put the back seats down to get everything in the car.

To be honest I think the lipstick threw them when Toffee last visited the Other Family. The text from the eldest daughter read: ‘Hey mum found a no17 lipstick in Toffee basket but we forgot to put it back in’. I think the sub text was: ‘why does your dog have a lipstick, crazy woman?’. I certainly hope that they didn’t use it themselves!

I did think about explaining Toffee’s need for Boots cosmetics by text, but teenagers have a skill that I don’t possess – the ability to compress a paragraph of information into a stunted sentence without grammar or even real words (which I don’t always understand). I just can’t do this. Let’s face it this post is about why my dog has a lipstick and I haven’t even started to explain and I am already 614 words in . . . .

Toffee’s need for a lipstick surfaced about a month ago. The Boss is besotted by Toffee. Sometimes I watch him stroking and cossetting her, cooing and cuddling her and I think: ‘Perhaps he needs reminding that she is just a dog and he does in fact have a wife and daughter’. But then again I think: ‘Oh well, at least I have some peace and quiet with which to concentrate on my Sudoku and the Daughter is otherwise engaged with producing membership cards for her latest club.’

It was whilst the Boss was giving Toffee a full body Indian Massage that he discovered a minute lump. He was concerned – very concerned. So concerned that I was ordered to take the dog to the vet the following day (yes, ordered). For the sake of marital harmony I obliged. I got an early appointment and was quickly ushered in to see the vet. I explained that my husband had dog obsession issues and that it was probably nothing. The vet looked sympathetic and then she asked me to show her the offending nodule of doom. Let me explain that Cockapoos have a lot of fur and it is very curly. Trying to find a tic tac under a deep shag pile carpet would be easier. After what seemed like a couple of minutes I started to panic. The vet, sensing my impending anxiety attack, told me that this was common and sometimes people had to go away and come back another time. ‘Not on your Nelly,’ thought I: ‘I’m not paying two consultancy fees just because my husband is a pooch fixated hypochondriac.’ And then I found it and saved myself the best part of 25 quid for a return appointment. Phew!

It turned out that it was probably a seed or something that had got caught underneath her skin and had become infected. Not life threatening but costly. However, I did get my money’s worth because the vet also weighed Toffee, informed me she was verging on obese (what!) and told me of a trick to avoid future anxiety in the veterinary surgery.

So that is why Toffee has her own lipstick – it is to pinpoint pussy pustules that potentially require pricey prescriptions. Try saying that after you’ve written a cheque for £45 for a few dog antibiotics. So next time you see a dog sporting a pink splodge on one side, you’ll know why.

Now I defy anyone (teenager or not) to be able to explain that in one text!

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