A couple of years ago, I ventured to a friend that I wanted a husky. One thing led to another and we ended up naming our hypothetical pets (plural) and were pretty close to going to look at them. We had an idea that they would live with me and that she would come over once a week to walk them.
I say that “we had an idea”… it wasn’t so much me because I had issues with the logistics of leaving Derek and Finley at home for long periods of time while I was at work or otherwise engaged. They’re active dogs and I didn’t feel it was fair on them or me (or her) if they were left alone for 9 or 10 hours a day and then needed to go for their second walk of the day as soon as I got in.
I’d also worked out that looking after the same friend’s cat while she was on holiday accounted for over 35% of my annual car mileage. (That was for the purpose of calculating how many miles I wanted to tell the car insurance company I did.) That cost me around roughly £600 in fuel, come to think of it. I didn’t mind, of course – it was nice going to talk to a cat who seemed to like seeing me for more than feeding them.
A few weeks ago The Office Of National Statistics reported that Briton’s are going on more holidays, but for shorter durations. The main reported reason is the rise in low cost airlines.
However, I wonder if it’s pets? Pet ownership has nearly doubled since the Sixties (from an estimated 4.7m dogs and 4.1m cats in 1965 to 9m dogs and 7.9m cats in 2014). Pets are commitments, after all, and there have been studies recently that suggest that pets care so much about their owners that they do, indeed, dream about them.
Despite his apparent apathy towards me, Moo did seem genuinely pleased to see me last time I got home from a week away and I did feel a little guilty having to explain to him that I’ve booked another holiday.
That guilt disappeared when he ran in to the kitchen to ask for tuna and I realised that that was his plan all along. Maybe I should have got the dogs.