I was travelling on a crowded bank holiday train last Friday with my dog and a small amount of luggage. It was not easy to walk through the train, and all of the nearby table seats had been colonised by people with huge buggies, all of whom refused to fold them to prevent them from blocking other seats.
I ended up sitting on a dickie seat in the corridor opposite the (broken) loo. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the constant too-ing and fro-ing of restkess passengers meant that relaxation was all nigh impossible. I had hoped that the train would empty a little at the first stop when the local passengers disembarked, but no. Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any worse, a large family with copious amounts of luggage boarded. In addition to their hyper-active, noisy offspirings, they were towing a small terrier-type dog on an extendable lead. For some inexplicable reason, the poor creature had a large teddy bear strapped to its back which the owner kept adjusting. Needless to say, they let it rush straight into my dog’s face. Mr Implacable, bless him, remained lying at my feet and ignored all provocation until he was stepped on by one of the sprogs. Even then, he simply shuffled politely sideways without a sound and, to his credit, the father told the child off.
That didn’t stop him letting his dog make rushes at mine until I suggested through gritted teeth that it wasn’t a good idea to let his dog play in a confined space when both were on lead and surrounded by luggage and passing passengers. Alas, he saw this as an opportunity to attemopt to engage me in conversation and, although it failed miserably, he kept up a monologue about his dog for a while nonetheless. At that point, I gave up all attempts at doing the crossword and dug out a book. Thus, ostentatiously waving my copy of Dog on Dog Aggression, I tried to blot out the racket.
He finally gave up attempts to quiz me about my dog as the monsyllabic, non-eye contact replies sank in so looked around for something else to do. His solution to boredom? He picked up his little dog and stuck its head out of the window, regaling it with a childish monologue about passing cattle, sheep, trees and fields. By some miracle, there was no passing traffic but the dog eventually wrestled itself from his grasp and jumped from his full height to land splat on the floor. Unpeturbed, he adjusted the dratted teddy bear.
Relief came about an hour later when, in spite of nearly letting the dog fall between the gap as he alighted with the lead on full extension, they finally got off.
Where to begin?