Memories: The Dog and The Vacuum Cleaner

(It is near to the anniversary of the death of our second family dog. I wanted to remember her with this.)

The dog doesn’t like our vacuum cleaner. By ‘don’t like,’ I mean, she barks whenever it is in use and tries to bite it when it gets too much for her. She hates it more when it is in traditional floor cleaning mode, only getting annoyed with the hose mode when it is pointed in her direction (which is sometimes hard not to do). She yelps and screams and yaps and shouts at the thing, as if this alone will cause it to stop.

This is rather ironic in many ways. Firstly, I’m not going to stop cleaning the house because the dog barks. Simple as that.

Secondly, she seems to almost enjoy the barking, as she enjoys barking at other things (like her food, for example: she loves to bark at it for about a minute before devouring of it. She also likes to bark at the postman, the dustmen, passersby and even when she is about to be taken for a walk. I sometimes wonder if she is not a little mad. So we might as well let her bark. In fact, I let her bark at the vacuum cleaner in the vain hope that she will go hoarse (a nice visual pun, if I don’t mind me saying) but, alas, that has yet to happen.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the main reason for vacuuming the house is because of the bloody dog in the first place. She must be the most predigious moulter, and therefore producer, of dog hair I’ve ever seen. I’m half tempted to get the Guinness book of records round. I have to empty the cylinder about 8 times in the course of cleaning a 3-bedroomed semi-detached house. (Note my lack of branding the vacuum cleaner and using the term ‘vacuuming’ – I don’t like to advertise.) Although it gets annoying, hearing her bark at every turn, it is hard not to resist doing it deliberately at her, which makes her more annoyed and bark more frequently and with greater vigour, if only to piss her off even more.

She now recognises the machine as it is brought into the house. She stands in front of it, eyeing it suspiciously, waiting for the moment to bark. I assume it is the noise that drives her wild, the high-pitched sound of the whirring, for as soon as it is switched on, she begins her barking, and her strange dancing around it. She is encouraged to bark if you bark along with her, but the amusement value soon withers.

The most fun is found in the kitchen and its tiled floor. It is here that the dog hides under the kitchen table, like an impromptu kennel, and calls home, so perhaps feels particularly territorial when it comes to the area. However, the tiled floor provides no grip for her padded feet or claws, and she skids around at the best of times. Even more when a vacuum cleaner is being aimed at her and she desperately wants to get out of the way. Seeing her skid and slide and frantically escape the evil machinations of the vacuum, it almost makes the barking bearable.

Almost.

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