Home away from home

The view from my place

The view from my place

Did you know that despite having the perfect platform in this blog, I hardly ever make any strong points about anything important to anyone but me? I don’t even do that very often. Part of the reason is that my blog is intended primarily to entertain, inform, educate, amuse, or maybe even inspire. Yeah, I know, but that’s what it’s intended to do.

The other reason may well be that I don’t feel particularly strongly about many of the things the rest of the world gets very ventilated about. I’m not very ‘green’ but I don’t like littering. I get a bit cross with people who don’t use their chance to vote in a democracy when many people across the world die from the direct consequences of a lack of a right to vote. I don’t like people who are cruel to people or animals and I’m big on being straight and honest with people. Other than that I’m fairly relaxed about most things I guess. Well I’m not, but I’m on a bit of a word limit here.

However…

I do feel very strongly and have written about the ‘oarsumness’ of New Zealand, the consequences of not backing yourself, poor decision making, disengaged educators, inconsiderate drivers, poor parenting (despite having no children myself) and I also don’t think you should put your dog in prison when you go on holiday. I’ll come back to that.

On a related topic, no really, it is! I was asked recently where I considered my home from home to be. I had to pause for reflection. It was a bit uncomfortable, as I don’t actually have a home anymore unless you consider a whole country a home. I made a choice to move from what was my home in England to New Zealand. I now live in a rented place. But I think of it as my place rather than my home. It’s a nice place. I have a beautiful view and surroundings, but it’s not ‘home’. So I was at a loss to think where a home from home might be.

I made the choice to move, I bought the lack of homeliness upon myself. It was a conscious decision I was able to make but it still feels a bit odd not to have a place to call home. A bit sad for some reason. I guess we would all like to have a home, but some of us just have a place instead. I do have a point…

What is it that makes a place, or a house a home? I think it’s a dog. Not a fetching hat rack.

Think about it. If you find yourself in a place that you had yet to call home and you’ve got a dog, your faithful hound, greeting you enthusiastically when you get back from wherever you’ve been without him, you would feel like you’ve been welcomed home wouldn’t you?

If you are in a place where you can make the conscious decision to take on the responsibility of having a dog around, that’s a home surely? Your dog makes it become a home I think. The dog will certainly look at home when he lays legs akimbo in his basket, without a care in the world because he knows you are looking out for him while he takes a break from looking out for you.

You’ll be out walking your dog and at some stage you will think it to yourself or say it to your dog, ‘come on boy, that’s enough, let’s go home’.

So how does one have a home from home if you don’t have a home as such? I guess my home from home is a really nice hotel that I like very much. I know the one I liked most that I would like to call a home from home. It was the best hotel I ever stayed in. I’ll tell you where it is at the end of this post. That would be my home from home. A lovely hotel somewhere fabulous. Luckily for me I know just the place.

I was talking about how a dog makes a home. When I was in England I had the world’s most friendly and handsome hound. His name was Bruno. He was one of the best examples of his particular breed in all the world but I couldn’t care less about that. His dad won the Hound group at Crufts in 1997 and got to the grand final. I didn’t know that when I met Bruno, or Houndy as he was mostly referred to as time went by.

As an aside. Without wishing to pass any judgement on the people who show dogs, I could never be one of them. I have no idea why you would take your dog, who you already know to be the best dog in the whole world to a place where a stranger will most likely tell you otherwise. This stranger will manhandle your best friend and then judge it against other dogs before probably telling you that yours isn’t as good as the others. Why would you do that? I’m sure you have splendid reasons, but it’s not for me.

Come on though, even if you win, why do you need a person you don’t know to tell you if your dog is any good or not? Your dog won’t know the difference, just that it had to walk funny on a short lead all day and have a person touching it’s bits all the time. NO dog thinks that’s fun. Well I haven’t asked them but I’m sure they don’t. Maybe you have. No judgement being passed here, save that for the show ring.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Bruno was from such a pedigree that he could have won dog shows if I was inclined to take him. But I just loved my hound. I didn’t need anyone to tell me how special he was. You could see it in his eyes and demeanour. Everyone who met him loved him. Bruno was a gentleman among hounds. Bruno’s favourite place in the world was by my side. Anyone would feel at home with my hound relaxing extravagantly beside them. See?

Houndy relaxing

Houndy relaxing

I’m not going to tell a big story about my hound but I had to leave him at his home in England when I came back to New Zealand, as he would not have survived the journey. It was heartbreaking. I found out a couple of weeks ago that my special boy had died. He was 13, which is pretty good for a hound. I can’t talk too much more about that, as it’s too sad. Bruno was a Petit Bassett Griffon Vendeen.

 

Bruno, 'Houndy'

Bruno, ‘Houndy’

RIP Houndy, my special boy.

So as Bruno, or Houndy was so special to me, I’m going to use my blog to pass on something I feel strongly about to you. Because I can.

As much as we love our pets or our hairy children, sometimes we have to go places they can’t. So that’s what a home from home has got to do with this. I mentioned I think a nice hotel is my home from home. A dog’s home is with you when you think about it. Wherever you are, your faithful hound will just be happy to be with you, but can’t always be if you have to be somewhere your hound or dog can’t go. Like when you go on holiday overseas or just somewhere your dog can’t follow. Do you know where I’m going with this yet?

When you go to your home from home, where your dog can’t go, what do you do with them? You make a decision that they can’t make; yet too many people make a decision their pets wouldn’t make, why?

Don’t send your pet, your friend, your faithful hound to what is effectively a prison when you go on holiday!

Find a nice person you trust to look after them in their home, or employ a reputable, reliable company to do it or get someone to dog sit in your house when you are away from home. Don’t put them in a place full of other dogs in cages with hard cold floors, hard beds and rationed attention. I’m sure there is a good reason people use them but I have no idea what that might be.

When you have to be away from your loyal dog, your faithful hound or even your haughty cat, get them looked after properly by people who will take care of them as you would while you are away, where they can sleep in their own bedding, have their own safe space, their own other place. Their home away from home because to your dog, who made your place a home? You are their home.

They’ll demonstrate that to you when you get back, which is the best bit of going away sometimes.

I’m done now, made my point. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Oh and that home away from home hotel? The best hotel I ever stayed in? The Minerva, on Capri.

8 thoughts on “Home away from home

  1. Helen Devries

    I’m sorry your dog died… worse for you that you could not be with him.
    As to home…my home is where my husband is, but our dogs make it a real home for both of us.
    Normally only one of is away at a time, but on the rare occasions we are both away the man who works our finca comes to stay at the house.
    The dogs know and love him and we know they are being cared for and played with.
    That’s the least that they deserve.

  2. Liz Abbot

    Oh Sand, why didn’t you tell me? Maybe you couldn’t. you must feel very, very sad. What a yuk time you are having. I remember how upset I was when Tub, Angus and Jody died and watching Sammy going off with Avril Was great to see you today You look well in spite of everything. Take care. Love xxx

    _____

  3. Hugh Pollard

    Could someone with more brains than me please explain. Why, when animals take up such a small physical space when they’re living, they leave such a huge chasm when they go?.

  4. Hilary Diack

    My two rescue dogs second your musings. So do my two cats. I have forgone holidays and weekends away without regrets, and when I do travel I pay handsomely for someone to come to babysit at home for them. Couldn’t imagine putting them in a boarding kennel.

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