I have a little Shih Tzu, who is named ‘Dog’, ‘Terror’, or ‘Stinky’, depending upon the level of trouble he’s caused or what he’s consumed throughout the day (either with or without my consent).
He’s perfectly happy and comes almost everywhere with me (I also took him to work once). He’s been to Edinburgh but really wanted to see London, so I obliged this weekend just gone.
‘Dog’ was in his element in London and being the cute little ball of fluff which he is, many people wanted to take photos of him, stroke him or generally coo over him. He was especially popular on the Jubilee Line of the London Underground, sitting quietly to himself and doing his own bit of people spotting.
‘Dog’ did a great job of keeping up all day and happily sniffed all of the strange, city smells embedded in every surface within reach of his stubby snout. Shih Tzus get tired very easily so ‘Dog’ usually breaks up his day with several naps. In the past, whilst visiting the seaside, I’ve had to carry ‘Dog’ for part of the day after he went on strike and just laid down on the pavement for one his regular naps. I was expecting the same thing whilst in the capital and became more and more surprised as the day progressed that ‘Stinky’ was still on his feet at all, let along trotting along in his simple, happy way. Overall, ‘Dog’ enjoyed his day very much.
When we first arrived at the underground station, we obviously had to descend into the murky depths of the London underworld via the infinite, metal beast known as the escalator.
‘Dog’ was apprehensive to start with and I’m guessing this is because he could see the ‘floor’ moving away and disappearing into an abyss of B.O and pickpockets. He initially resisted but realised that he was going whether he liked it or not, so hopped onto the top of the escalator with me. There was a split second where his glance up at me said “this is alright, this” before he realised with terror that the ground was splitting and separating beneath his paws, like shifting, tectonic plates, but without the earthquakes or volcanoes. He hunkered down suddenly, scanning left and right for an escape exit, only to find that given his stature, he’d never get up the steps so down into the gaping chasm was the only option. ‘Dog’ resigned himself to this unavoidable fate and it was at this point which I scooped him up into my arms, which he was clearly grateful for.
For the record, ‘Dog’ would always have been picked up before the bottom of the escalator so that his fur or other body parts didn’t get him dragged to an oily death. He was also in the middle of the escalator so that he didn’t get caught up anywhere along the edges.
A friend has since told me that dogs should always be carried on escalators anyway because their claws can get stuck in the grooves. I hadn’t considered this but ‘Dog’ didn’t get stuck to the steps and next time, he’ll be carried down just to be on the safe side.
The second thing that ‘Dog’ didn’t enjoy was travelling on buses.
To be fair, the issue was with moving buses as opposed to stationary buses.
As I’ve already said, ‘Dog’ was perfectly happy sat there watching all the weirdos on the underground trains, both when the train was hurtling through tunnels and when the train rested at the platform of various stations.
I don’t know why buses were so different, but we’d get up the stairs without issue, start to make our way along the upper deck when the bus would pull away from the bus stop. The moment this happened, ‘Dog’ would suddenly spread all of his limbs out and hunker down on the floor. No amount of coaxing would persuade him that the bus was safe and he’d even try to wriggle out of being picked up. Fortunately, his sheer terror over-rode his stubborness so I could pick him up and sit him on my lap. This seemed to be acceptable and the passing scenery would distract him enough so that he didn’t want to get up close and personal with the filthy floor again.
After viewing Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Tower Bridge (the latter three of which were gradually being enveloped in fog), ‘Dog’ and I decided that it was time to head home. We got the underground back to Canada Water and then drove home; me concentrating on driving in the great fog which had descended and ‘Stinky’ laying across the back seat, snoring loudly and farting occasionally.